Unishippers Franchise Opportunity Meets with Franchise Interviews
Werner - Franchisee - Unishippers
We are meeting with Rick Werner of Unishippers. Rick
Werner owns a Unishippers franchise, a third party shipping adviser for small to mid-sized businesses.
He has been in business since January and works from home, building his business while serving as the primary caretaker for
his 18 month-old daughter. He and his wife live in Auburn, AL.
You describe yourself as a stay-at-home dad. What does that mean, and how does the Unishippers model work into that picture?
Rick Werner: I decided to become the primary care giver for our daughter when considering the cost / benefit
of child care. We have one daughter - going on 18 months. And I did partly invest in Unishippers for the work from home aspect
as well as several other unique characteristics Unishippers brings to the table. We will be putting our daughter into day
care for about three months while we remodel the lower level of our home turning it into a play / recreational area, after
which we will bring her care in house hiring a full time nanny to take care of her while I work during the day from our home
Franchise Interviews: For our listeners who don't know, tell us about
Unishippers. Explain what Unishippers does and what services it provides.
Rick Werner: Unishippers is a third-party shipping adviser for small to mid-sized businesses. They have been
in business since 1987 - 25 years of experience. The Unishippers concept is simple - we work with major carriers including
UPS®, YRC Freight ® Saia®, Estes and UPS Freight® to handle the pickup, transport and delivery of customers'
shipments. Unishippers is 1 of 2 authentic partners with UPS. We provide shipping solutions for small to mid-sized businesses
- NOT for consumers, not like open UPS stores. Local Unishippers franchisees work to provide customers with service and support.
By leveraging the combined shipping volume of all its customers, Unishippers gets deeply discounted rates from its carriers,
resulting in lower shipping costs.
Unishippers beat rates by 20% on average for shipping
costs by leveraging the buying power of over 300 franchisees. Unishippers provides customized software program to evaluate
shipping cost from more than 30 carriers to find the best deals - similar to Expedia (use to find best deals for travel).
Unishippers provides some of the benefits, service and pricing that the large businesses get that the small to mid-sized businesses
generally can't. We serve more than 50,000 small to mid-sized businesses annually and 6 million shipments per year. Unishippers
is based in Auburn, AL but "national" so can sell everywhere.
Interviews: Tell us a little bit about your background and what you were doing before you decided to launch a Unishippers
Rick Werner: I
am from St. Louis, Missouri. I went to Huntington College. I was a Restaurant manager so I worked long hours, holidays, etc.
I am also from the insurance world and worked for major carriers. I went out on own, became broker - middle man for small
business owners, and brought benefits to them. I got a lot of experience with life of business owner, grew comfortable talking
about sensitive subjects (health insurance). I gained inner-personal skills, learned how to read personalities. I worked for
10 years, and my wife got her dream job in AL as professor so we moved to Auburn. I networked a bit, didn't find opportunity
as insurance broker in area so I had to reinvent self. My fraternity brother introduced me to the Unishippers franchise concept
in 2012. By end of 2012, I bought a Unishippers franchise. While I didn't have direct industry experience, my sales experience
was a transferrable skill.
|Franchise Interviews meets with dadpreneur Rick Werner of Unishippers
Franchise Interviews - What
attracted you to the Unishippers franchise opportunity?
Rick Werner: I did research
prior to purchasing a Unishippers franchise. I liked the residual income and a stable industry that is not going anywhere.
Everyone ships all the time, all over the country. Shipping is necessary to make businesses run. I liked the Low initial investment
compared to other franchise opportunities. B2B sales can be done over the phone or face-to-face. As I mentioned, I have sales
experience so Unishippers was good fit.
Franchise Interviews: Has technology played
a role in your business?
Rick Werner: One of Unishipper's selling points is technology.
The website is user-friendly, simply log in and you are ready to ship! From there you tell the system where shipping from,
to, what you are shipping, and what service you want....for example drop box, UPS store, or pick-up. At the end of month,
we produce invoices for clients with one bill, no matter how many carriers. In addition to internet, we can do face-to-face
as well as cold-calls and sales over phone - b/c national franchise, can sell anywhere in country. There is less risk building
from ground up because not exclusive territory.
Franchise Interviews: What is the
training like for new franchisees?
Rick Werner: Unishipper's provides corporate training. There is 3 week training course - week 1 for new owner, week 2-3 is
sales training where learn products and learn how to present to others. We did recorded cold calls, reviewed each day - helps
walk through day-to-day sales while at corporate at Salt Lake City, UT. In addition, they provide a franchisee network,
franchise association, a daily call-to-action with regional sales manager which is very motivational. There is also a Preview
Review call with corporate where we discuss the next week and reviews the past week. Unishippers give franchisees tons of
support (technology, customer service, have dedicated person assigned because new.
Interviews : What is a typical day like for you as a Unishippers franchisee?
Rick Werner: The day consists of answering emails, prospecting, and making cold calls in between appointments.
We just call on businesses and not homes so franchisees can work set hours, for example 8-5pm. I still do lots of administrative
work after hours since I am new. Being a sales rep in past, I am used to flexibility which is a great benefit
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