Since joining Signal in late 2019, Jesse Acree, owner of Franchise #257, Portland, OR, has seen exponential growth. He grew from one market to six and saw triple-digit growth in several of those markets.
Acree is a tremendous ambassador of the Signal brand and passionate about the growth of both his franchise and his team members. For these reasons, Signal of Portland, was our November 2022 Franchise of the Month.
Acree came to Signal in 2019 after hearing about a franchise for sale online.
“I reached out to the franchise owner who was ready to move on,” Acree said, “I did not go through the normal channels on how they typically bring someone on. I reached out to the Chief Development Officer (CDO) directly. He was surprised, he didn’t know how I got his number.”
The day he spoke with the CDO he also spoke with Reed Nyffeler, CEO of Signal. Acree said he saw similarities between his own values and those of Signal.
“It was immediately obvious that we’re similar,” he said, “I asked to come out the next weekend. When I flew to Omaha, I met some of the leadership team and had about four to five hours of rapid-fire meetings. At the end of the day, I looked at them and basically said, ‘I’m in.’ That was September and 45 days later I was running the franchise.”
The quick transition into franchise ownership came with challenges, Acree shared.
“I had an idea of what I was stepping into,” Acree said, “When someone’s selling there’s usually a reason. The franchise was a mess. There was a windshield shattered and a full set of route keys were stolen from a vehicle on day one, minute one.”
Acree and his team hit the ground running and made changes that have allowed him to grow tremendously in Portland and purchase several other markets on the West Coast. Acree reorganized the franchise right away and focused on developing the staff. He gave significant pay increases in the first 30 days he was in charge.
“These changes were big,” he said, "We made a significant profit in the first 90 days. And I’d made a pretty big investment, but I saw an ROI in the first 6 months.”
But changes didn’t stop at staffing. Acree changed the criteria for his clients too.
“We don’t take every client,” Acree said, “And over 75% of people turn us down because we’re too expensive. If you want the value leader, we’re not it. If you want someone who’s buttoned up and will do the patrols and dedicated shifts the right way, we can do that. The only time we have an issue with a client is when we don’t have good communication. If my client doesn’t work well with me, I’ll fire you, you won’t be in my portfolio.”
Along with his high expectations for clients, Acree also holds his staff to a high standard. He said he couldn’t be as successful as he is without them.
“It’s 100% the team,” he said, “I don’t care about winning Franchise of the Month or the Year personally. On the flip side, I care about winning those for my team, they deserve it. They work hard. They’re growing and doing everything in their power to make Signal better and make the community safe and secure and make their lives better. Dan Reynolds, the Director of Sales, is indispensable, his maturity, especially for a young man, and his eagerness to take on challenges and learn is above anyone else.”
Acree didn’t have any security experience prior to getting started with Signal. His advice for other owners is to remember the importance of customer service.
“Security isn’t just security,” he said, “It’s about service. If you don’t get that you shouldn’t be in with us. It’s following post orders and ensuring your client is being served correctly.”