From Texas to California: The Journey of Signal of Banning

Written by:

Abigail Korinek

Over the course of eight years, Loreal and Desmond Jiles, owners of Signal of Banning, have faced many changes, challenges and successes during their time with Signal. Despite their early challenges, the pair have turned Signal of Banning into one of the top-performing Signal Franchises and are now Franchise of the Month for July 2023.

The Jiles first purchased a Signal Franchise in 2015 in Katy, Texas. They both knew they wanted to own their own business and, after researching different franchise options, found Signal to be the perfect fit for their backgrounds. Like many Franchise Partners, they both said the initial launch was a challenge.

“She was our admin, and I was our lead officer/director/guard,” Desmond said. “It was a lot of lonely nights in the beginning when you’re just starting up and doing a patrol route. Thankfully, our properties were close to our home. So, I would do a patrol, go home, get a nap and go back out there. It became hard though when we got another contract, and it was seven days a week. I was doing patrols by myself several times a day and thinking, ‘I can’t sustain this.’”

On Loreal’s side, she was balancing a full-time job while still trying to sell contracts around Katy.

“It was all during my lunch breaks,” she said. “I would go to work in the office each day and I would take lunch and go sell. I would leave work early and go try to sell. Have lunch with a property manager trying to get their business. I would go to work a little bit later and I would do breakfast meetings with property managers.”

At the time of their launch, Loreal was also five months pregnant with their second child, adding an additional layer of chaos to what was already an incredibly stressful time. The pair leaned on each other to stay motivated and work towards success.

“In the beginning it was rough, but we motivated each other,” Desmond said. “We just kept telling each other, ‘OK, let’s keep going. Let’s not quit.’”

After operating the franchise for a few years, building a team and selling almost constantly, the Jiles said they realized the market in Katy had limitations.

“There came a point in Katy when we realized the market was not going to see wild growth,” Loreal said. “We didn’t know that initially, but once we’d been there for a few years and learned the market, it was very suburban, people didn’t see a need for security. It just wasn’t conducive to the model. So, I think a few years in, we realized that there were only so many apartment complexes in the zip codes we had. I’ve been there to each one at least a couple of times and there was only so much we could do.”

At this point in their journey with Signal, the Jiles said they stopped trying to grow their business and just started maintaining what they had. Shortly thereafter, the couple moved to California, where they realized growth was possible. There, they made the decision to transition their business from Katy and purchased an existing franchise in Riverside, California.

“We were intentional in that respect,” Loreal said. “We said if we’re going to grow, we’re going to grow here. We just shifted all of our focus and our energy on what growing here looks like. So, we purchased the Riverside franchise and at the time I think it may have been like 20 employees and that was really good. That was bigger than what we were doing in Texas.”

The Jiles’ hard work and perseverance have paid off in dividends. Since transitioning their business from Texas to California, they’ve seen their annual revenue grow by an astonishing 17%. In the month of July, their payroll equaled the Katy franchise’s total annual revenue. The move to California has given them a more structured team, a deeper support network and countless different opportunities.

“We came into the franchise when they had two leaders in place, and we started growing that team,” Loreal said about the transition to California. “We hired a full-time sales guy, and they all rock. None of this would’ve been possible without the leadership team. With that support, we started bidding on government contracts, which we hadn’t done in Texas. In California, we’re an hour outside of Los Angeles. Everything is just in our territory already. Whereas in Katy, everything wasn’t in our territory. We had apartments and that was basically it. But here, we have everything. There's construction, it’s apartments, it’s you, we just signed a contract for city parks. It’s just so much more.”

While the Jiles’ move to California has proved to be an incredible success, on a much larger scale, the pair said that their operational strategy hasn’t changed much since their days in Texas.

“It’s really the same as when we were a mom-and-pop shop in Texas,” Desmond said. “It’s just that it’s on a bigger stage. I think we were just ourselves. We take pride in looking out for our team, letting them know that we’re not just owners sitting up in the box watching them on the field playing. We’re down on the ground with them. It’s been an opportunity to show what we’ve always done, which is take care of our team. Just be down-to-earth, humble people.”

Since launching their new franchise, the Jiles have embraced every aspect of the Signal brand. The Banning team dove headfirst into training offered by the Home Office and said that getting to know the team in Omaha, as well as other Franchise Partners, has helped them reengage.

“The interaction with other franchise owners has just been a huge plus,” Loreal said. “You realize that you’re not just on an island by yourself. Somebody else is going through exactly what you’re going through in a different market. Sharing ideas, sharing tips and everything, that part has been extremely helpful over the years. And it’s also allowed us to deepen the relationships we have with our Home Office support. Even the folks that help me with payroll and invoicing and billing, now I can put a face to the name. That all speaks to why we chose Signal in the first place, the support you get from the franchise model.”

With eight years of experience under their belt, the Jiles know what running a successful franchise takes, and how overwhelming launching a new franchise can be. Their biggest piece of advice for new franchise owners is something they say they could’ve used when first starting out in Katy; lean on the Home Office for support.

“Even in Texas, had we been a little bit more intentional about leaning on the Home Office and asking for extra support, we probably could have grown more,” Loreal said. “From our observation, everyone’s willing to help and I don’t know that that’s the same in all franchise models across the globe. And don’t compromise on quality. If you have to work it yourself, if you have to work a really good person even harder. Compensate them as best you can, and incentivize them to make sure your standard is met. That makes a big difference too because we have to be able to demonstrate that we’re better than the rest and, in a lot of instances, that pays dividends.”

The future looks bright for Signal of Banning. As 2023 comes to a close, the team continues to look to the future, hoping to expand and grow to service their entire territory, which stretches from Riverside to the edge of the Mojave Desert. This goal of “Going to the desert,” has become the franchise’s unofficial slogan, Loreal said, and they’re working hard to achieve it.

“Realize that your dream is reachable,” she said. “It seems to me that was what I always had in the back of my mind. My dream is reachable. I can actually do this, we can actually be successful, grow and impact other’s lives. You see it start to come into play, but it just gives you something tangible to grab onto.”

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