Young entrepreneur wins franchise national award

Dylan Conner of the Mr. Appliance franchise in HanfordDylan Conner of the Mr. Appliance franchise in HanfordWhen a company takes on a franchise, it’s expected that the first few years will be a slow start as the groundwork is laid and the brand gains recognition.

 

For Mr. Appliance, it wasn’t long before the Central Valley franchise based out of Hanford grew to be one of the largest in the country, recently accepting the company’s most coveted award.

Only three short years after converting his small appliance repair business into a Mr. Appliance hub, owner Dylan Conner gained the attention of more than 160 franchises nationwide recently when he took the company’s Franchise of the Year award at its annual reunion in Gaylord, Tex.

As far as revenues go, the franchise has shot up behind only three others in Austin, Tex., Houston, Tex., and Vero Beach, Fla.

Conner, 32, was well primed for the business, starting out a young age helping in his dad’s own small appliance repair operation. In fact, three generations of Conners have been repairing home appliances since 1953.

“Growing up I rode on the truck in the summers and as a teenager I learned how to do service calls,” said Conner.

Taking over the business in 2003, Conner gradually added customers and technicians over the next several years, but nowhere near the levels he would after being approached by Mr. Appliance in 2008.

Now, the franchise is up to eight trucks and seven technicians performing up to 40 repair jobs a day throughout Kings, Tulare and Fresno counties, fixing everything from refrigerators, ovens and dryers to dishwashers, microwaves and trash compacters. Even his dad still helps in the business from time to time.

Monterey and Santa Cruz, where two technicians are located, were added to the service territory last month.

Word of mouth and customer appreciation has fueled his success more than anything. Conner said 60 percent of service calls last year were for repeat customers, many referring to magnets and other promotional materials left behind when a job is finished. 

Judging by a four-question survey given to all Mr. Appliance customers rating the courtesy and professionalism of service, Conner said his technicians consistently have the highest scores in the nation, averaging 9.5 on a scale of one to ten.

“We’ve grown by keeping our existing customers and steadily adding a few every year and you start getting a compound interest effect,” he said.

He added that customers also enjoy the company’s Advantage Plan, which extends a 15 percent discount when they call Glass Doctor, Mr. Rooter plumbing and other sister services owned by Mr. Appliance’s parent company, The Dwyer Group.

Mr. Appliance’s one-year warranties on all in-home work and parts have been a plus as well.

While not constituting a huge chunk of his calls, Conner said warranty jobs when manufacturers’ products fail is still a mainstay in the appliance repair business while keeping up to speed on the increasingly complex mechanisms of modern appliances has also made Mr. Appliance a trusted go-to in the community.

“We’re constantly training and trying to update our guys on the stuff out there,” he said. “We get updates from manufacturers if there’s something new.”

In addition to the most recent award, Conner’s tenacity starting out also earned the franchise Mr. Appliance’s Rookie of the Year award in 2009 and his personal Excellence in Leadership award in 2010.

Conner is also a Mr. Appliance representative for Ronald McDonald House Charities and frequently donates appliance parts and labor to the Ronald McDonald House in Madera.

According to Mr. Appliance President Doug Rogers, it is business owners like Dylan Conner that have made the company a household name in appliance repair, growing to 165 franchises since its founding in 1996.

“Our goal is to acquire customers for life and by creating these great experiences and it’s worked out well for us,” said Rogers. “With the explosion of social media, the way we do business is faster than we could have imagined.”

Mostly, he said, the company focuses on newer appliances where repairs are more cost effective and there’s a 10 percent chance that something will malfunction within the first year of purchase.

Mr. Appliance of the Central Valley can be found online at mrappliance.com/fresno or on Facebook at facebook.com/MrApplianceCentralValley.