This CEO Is Beginning a Motion Whereas Rising His Enterprise


Aaron Harper of energy washing agency Rolling Suds is not your typical CEO. A plain-spoken, no-nonsense chief, Harper is constructing the muse of the quickly increasing model whereas concurrently embarking on a campaign for franchise {industry} self-regulation primarily based on firm accountability.

“I am speaking about we, as an {industry}, deciding learn how to be accountable,” Harper says. “We are saying these are the issues as we see it presently, how will we repair these issues transferring ahead? After which how will we standardize the answer and who must get entangled to implement these?”

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Chem-Dry and The Patch Boys

Harper’s expertise within the franchise sector started in 2017, when he began as a senior franchise growth director at Belfor Manufacturers — the place he labored on the Chem-Dry and The Patch Boys manufacturers — following stints at main firms similar to AT&T. Harper shortly confirmed a knack for steering manufacturers towards unprecedented development, taking part in a pivotal function in increasing Chem-Dry to 900 franchises. Equally, his involvement with The Patch Boys noticed it develop from humble beginnings to a powerhouse with 100 places nationwide. (It has since grown to greater than 300.)

Below Harper’s steering, each manufacturers grew to become case research in scaling successfully whereas sustaining a supportive community for franchisees. His technique concerned instantly partaking with franchise house owners and constructing sturdy methods to help their development. This hands-on strategy not solely led to the manufacturers’ expansions but in addition cemented Harper’s fame within the franchise {industry}.

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Rolling Suds

In 2023, Harper joined Rolling Suds, a family-owned power-washing enterprise, as CEO. Below his management, Rolling Suds has lately handed 100 places, with extra within the planning phases. This scaled enlargement, coupled with Harper’s dedication to accountable franchising, underscores the potential of moral enterprise practices in driving sustainable development.

“I personally deal with all of the franchise growth,” Harper says. “I’ve turned away 51 individuals who needed to turn into franchisees and weren’t proper for our system. It would not matter that they need to write me a $200,000 examine. In the event that they’re in my system and so they mess up, not solely am I going to need to spend more cash getting them out, however the quantity of injury they’ll do culturally is not even price it.”

Harper’s philosophy permeates Rolling Suds. “We do not permit franchisees to scale too shortly,” says Prue Lotharius, VP of promoting. “That is not what we would like them to concentrate on.” Lotharuis ought to know. She began out as a franchisee with Rolling Suds and believed a lot in Harper’s imaginative and prescient that she made a drastic transfer in 2023, promoting her franchise to hitch the Rolling Suds company group.

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Accountable franchising

In his years of expertise, Harper has seen the perfect and the worst the franchise enterprise mannequin has to supply. However as a substitute of shrugging off the dangerous and capitalizing on the great, he determined he wanted to talk out. “Accountable franchising begins within the franchise growth course of, after which it continues within the operation aspect of issues,” he says. “Irresponsible franchising is telling folks that is going to be straightforward, they don’t seem to be going to need to work, that they’ll rent somebody to run their enterprise for them, and so they could make a ton of cash. Actually, Ponzi scheme-level stuff.”

This dishonesty, Harper says, creates a state of affairs the place franchise manufacturers develop too quick and are constructed on shaky foundations. He makes use of a hypothetical instance of a franchisor and FSO pushing to develop to 150 models in a yr. “The franchisor ought to have by no means been a franchisor within the first place,” he explains, “however now they’ve 150 models offered, and the individuals who purchased the models assume that they’ll run the enterprise part-time and by no means left their jobs. The franchisor cannot help the franchisees, and the franchisees aren’t even engaged. Then a non-public fairness agency swoops in and pays pennies on the greenback for the model.”

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Rising motion

Harper is pushed by a imaginative and prescient to right these systemic flaws and make accountable franchising an industry-wide actuality. Central to his technique is schooling — there’s a data hole that perpetuates unethical franchising, and Harper dedicates himself to sharing insights and greatest practices via social media and varied talking engagements. “I submit content material every day,” Harper says. “Franchisors attain out to me [every] week, so I’ve already constructed an viewers within the franchise group.”

Harper says his X following elevated seven-fold since he started posting every day about accountable franchising in 2023.

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The longer term

Rolling Suds’ enlargement displays a dedication not simply to development however to development performed proper. Harper’s management emphasizes the need of a accountable enlargement technique, guaranteeing that every new location aligns with the core values of group, integrity and high quality.

Harper’s journey has been a blueprint for fulfillment that balances regular development with moral practices. Because the franchise {industry} continues to evolve, his push for accountable franchising turns into extra important in guiding future entrepreneurs towards sustainable and moral enterprise fashions. “This must be a subject of debate of sufficient thought leaders to give you options that we suggest to the entire {industry},” he says. “Nobody desires this to proceed for many years to come back.”

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