smallbusinessbc.ca blog – Clean air is something we all take for granted. Between home and work, we spend 90 percent of our time indoors and the quality of the air we breathe depends heavily on the state of our ventilation systems.
In 1969, Don Martin noticed this trend and when large commercial businesses started to ask who could clean out their ductwork and vents. With that, he decided to build a business promoting clean indoor air. Some 40 years later, and now in partnership with this son Lane Martin, Modern PURAIR® has grown into a successful franchise business with 15 locations across British Columbia and Alberta.
Making the Invisible, Visible
This father-son co-owner duo have established a full-service furnace and duct cleaning company that promises to provide clean indoor air quality to all customers. From homes and businesses, to schools and hospitals, they can customize their service to any indoor environment. With decades of experience and exclusive patented technology, Modern PURAIR® is an industry leader that prides itself on excellent customer service. They even offer all clients a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.
“With the newer, air-tight buildings people aren’t breathing like they used to when you could open an office window, so we’re finding contaminants that are making people sick,” says Lane. “We use exclusive, environmentally friendly products and we actually show people what comes out of their duct work.”
Like Father, Like Son
Lane joined Don in the HVAC business in 2001. After a period spent working for someone else, Lane wanted a change: “I grew up in an entrepreneurial home. I’m a self-starter and I work more efficiently as an entrepreneur.” Over several years, Lane and his father grew their business into a successful, multi-truck operation. However, they had higher aspirations for the future.
After reading a franchising article in 2005, Lane was inspired. Confident that franchising was the best way forward, the they spent the next two years developing their franchise model. They invested in more trucks, hired more people and built a head office facility in Kelowna. In 2007, and after thousands of hours in development, the brand Modern PURAIR® was born.
The road to franchising was a long and hard, but Lane says they learned many valuable lessons along the way: “When we first started franchising, I learned the importance of people and systems. If you’re not tracking your sales or how you’re trending, you won’t know whether your business is successful or not until it’s too late.” Being a service provider, his employees also play a huge part in the success of the company and Lane places particular importance on the health and well being of his team. “By making sure there’s a positive culture, employees stay motivated and productivity soars. It’s pretty logical, but many small business owners don’t factor in its importance,” says Lane.
Reaping the Rewards of Hard Work
As they transitioned their business into the successful franchise model that it is today, Lane says they sought resources and support from various organizations, including Small Business BC and Dragons’ Den. In 2008, one year after launching their franchise, Modern PURAIR® won a Chamber of Commerce Small Business Award – perhaps the best indication that they were on the right track. “That was quite an honour!” says Lane.
The Long Road to Success
According to Lane, the success of Modern PURAIR® doesn’t stop there: “Seeing all our franchise partners achieve profitability was a huge success. Our next goal is to hit 25 franchise partners in Western Canada by 2015.” With the ambition, planning and right building blocks, Lane intends to make his small BC-based business the franchise leader in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. “We are seriously going to create a national brand presence.”
His advice to the next generation of entrepreneurs? Lane says, “Find something that you’re passionate about, persevere and be objective when it comes to the numbers.” He adds that his greatest strengths as an entrepreneur are thinking outside of the box and learning (after much time) how to effectively work on his business, and not in it.