Since revealing our franchise model in July 2020, we’ve continued on a wild ride, from announcing our first five franchise partners to opening our first franchise location in Wilmington, Delaware. Now, we’re watching our first ownership group open for business in South Carolina: starting in Greenville, expanding into Columbia, and setting their sights on Charleston later this year.
This group, led by Paul Clark, Dan Haight, and Connie and Steve Lanzl, came together with a unified passion for entrepreneurship in the Palmetto State. After initially coming across Spiffy through VentureSouth, which invested in Spiffy back in 2018, the group was excited by our franchising opportunity and signed on in January 2021. They opened their Greenville location on June 1st, with Columbia following on June 10th.
We spoke with Paul and Connie about their respective careers, what brought their group together, and their experience franchising with Spiffy. This interview was conducted before the launch of Greenville on June 1st and has been condensed for length. You can download the full version here or via the “Download the Full Interview” button below.
Let’s start with your individual career stories and what led you to the point of converging into this ownership group.
Paul: I’m from the UK originally, but I moved to the States about 12 years ago. I was an investment banker, worked in a private equity fund, and most recently, for the last eight years, I’ve run an investment firm called VentureSouth. We are an early-stage investment fund that invests in early-stage companies in the Southeast.
Five years ago, VentureSouth first met the Spiffy corporate team when they were an early startup seeking some additional funding to grow. Scot [Wingo, CEO] is from Aiken, South Carolina, where we happen to have an investment group, and we do a lot of investing in the Triangle, where the Spiffy headquarters is based. We were very intrigued by Scot’s track record, Karl’s [Murphy, President & Co-founder] operational efficiency, the whole team, the idea, and everything that came together to appeal to our members to invest in the company. So we did that and got to know the team over a decently long period after that, as we saw how things evolved. New services and new cities, and new experimentation all rolled out at Spiffy, and we were consistently impressed with what the team was doing.
When we heard that Spiffy was looking to franchise in secondary cities, it was an obvious call for us to say that sounds pretty interesting. We didn’t jump on it as fast as we probably ought to have done, but it was at the beginning of COVID. As soon as we found the bandwidth to focus on it and figure out who on the team wanted to roll up their sleeves and get involved. I, Connie and Steve, and another colleague Dan Haight, all knew each other from VentureSouth. They were members of our group and from other things in town. So we all put our hands up to volunteer to be the franchisee in South Carolina after realizing that we could open more than one city.
"In my opinion, you wouldn’t find a franchisor in any other context as committed to helping the franchisees be successful and providing any advantages to be successful in a franchised market."
How was the experience of getting from signing on as a franchise group to going through training at Spiffy HQ?
Connie: Just from my perspective, they made it pretty clear what that training would entail. So there was nothing about it that surprised me. But I was even more impressed and glad that we had gotten into this whole business when I finished that week than even when I started. I was enthusiastic from the beginning, but the incredible attention to detail, right down to the many videos we watched during training, really drove home this well-researched and well-executed business. What stood out the most was the pride and passion; all of the people we met at Spiffy executed and believed in the company.
The accessibility of the support from the corporate staff has been instrumental in our decision as well. If we had to develop the technology or do anything connected with that, this would have been much more difficult. So the things that they do to support their franchises are enormous and still evolving and improving as more locations open. The people we interact with are prepared to answer questions at any time. So that was very helpful to have that support back there and have a fair amount of leeway to go in whatever direction was appropriate for our particular market.
What about launching your business excites you the most?
Connie: Greenville has evolved into something that people write about and are deliberately moving to for all sorts of terrific reasons. It’s become a place with a growing entrepreneurial community. I think that introducing something new to Greenville is something that excites me from the initial part of this. It’s something new to South Carolina, which is also trying to develop and attract more small businesses and major corporations. So I think that’s exciting: something that is brand new, that can have a niche here, and that is just different. That’s one of the things that’s very appealing to me.
Is there anything else that either of you would like to share about this?
Paul: To somebody that isn’t a franchisee yet and is considering signing up might read this interview; I would give my wholehearted endorsement for them to give it a whirl. There’s much work involved, and I’m glad that it’s not just me as a solo franchisee. I have Connie and Steve to divide and conquer all this stuff with, even though we will have you know other things outside of Spiffy that we’re working on too. Having a few hands with some experts in different things is good. But I encourage people to make the leap if they can and give it a whirl. In my opinion, you wouldn’t find a franchisor in any other context as committed to helping the franchisees be successful and providing any advantages to be successful in a franchised market.
Thank you so much to Paul and Connie for chatting with us about starting your franchise ownership group. Our team at Spiffy can’t wait to see how you bring mobile car care services to fleets and individuals throughout South Carolina!
If you’re interested in booking a car wash or detail with this crew, click here to get started with $20 off your first service.
If you’re looking to learn more about starting your own Spiffy Franchise, contact us today!
Posted in Franchising