CEO Profile: The Dwyer Group's Mike Bidwell - from Franchisee to the C-Suite, part 2

CEO Profile: The Dwyer Group's Mike Bidwell - from Franchisee to the C-Suite, part 2

Name: Mike Bidwell
Title: President, CEO
Company: The Dwyer Group
Brands/units*: 1,711 total: Rainbow International Restoration, 405; Mr. Rooter Plumbing, 324; Mr. Appliance, 189; Aire Serv, 186; Grounds Guys, 179; Glass Doctor, 178; Mr. Electric, 169; Five Star Painting, 81
Age: 57
Family: Wife and 3 children
Years in franchising: 31
Years in current position: 8 as president, 1 as CEO

*Editor's note: In June The Dwyer Group announced two acquisitions: 1) Service Brands International, which reported $283 million in system-wide sales from its 3 brands (244 Molly Maid franchisees, 118 Mr. Handyman franchisees, and 55 ProTect Painters franchisees); and 2) The Grounds Guys of Canada. This interview was completed before that.


Describe your management style:
Fact-based and detail-oriented. I want to know you, know what you are talking about, and be passionate about making a positive impact.

What does your management team look like?
CFO, EVP of franchise brands, CIO, EVP of franchise development, VP of marketing, VP of national accounts, VP of company stores, VP of international operations, general counsel.

How does your management team help you lead?
I frequently ask them. They tell me when I could have done something better. They are really important for arriving at good decisions. I also watch them and learn from them. They often inspire me.

Favorite management gurus: Do you read management books?
Sure. I really don't have a clear favorite, but two of my favorite resources are Executive Book Summaries and Trends Magazine, both audio to optimize drive time.

What makes you say, "Yes, now that's why I do what I do!"? When I see people appreciably develop and achieve success.


What time do you like to be at your desk?
7 a.m.

Exercise in the morning?
I prefer a mid-afternoon workout in our center, often with one of my execs.

Wine with lunch?
No wine at lunch, usually just a quick piece of fruit at my desk.

Do you socialize with your team after work/outside the office?
Yes, from time to time. I really enjoy their company in a social setting. I think it helps build deeper connections with people.

Last two books read:
The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes, and 41: A Portrait of My Father by George W. Bush.

What technology do you take on the road?
iPhone 6 and PC Ultrabook.

How do you relax/balance life and work?
During the week, I often enjoy a glass of wine and dinner with my wife before doing a bit more work or research. I also exercise almost every day. Weekends, I enjoy projects around the house, fixing something with my hands; watching college football; and dinner or with friends. Our neighborhood group is fairly social.

Favorite destination:
Grand Cayman Islands.

Favorite occasions to send employees notes:
When they achieve their targets or have somehow distinguished themselves. I'm not one to send clearly trivial notes.

Bottom Line

What are your long-term goals for the company?
$2 billion in system-wide sales. We just reached $1 billion. (See Editor's Note above.)

How has the economy changed your goals for your company?
It hasn't changed our goals. The Great Recession delayed us a bit, but it is now behind us.

Where can capital be found these days?
While traditional sources are coming back, non-traditional sources have sprung up over the last few years. We also offer financing for the franchise fee, which helps to mitigate this issue to some extent as a service franchisor.

How do you measure success?
Through the positive difference we make in those we have an impact on - a positive customer review on a front-line technician, a positive note or comment from a franchisee, an associate that is thankful for their role.

What has been your greatest success?
While I can't particularly claim it as "my" success, I'm very proud of how all three of my children have turned out. They all completed university, have a strong work ethic, and a disposition I'm proud of, each a bit different of course.

Any regrets?
Oh sure. There are so many little ones I would love to have a do-over on. Most have to do with trying to be efficient with people. I've become a bit smoother over the years, but it's still a work in process. Probably the biggest one is away from my ill mother late in her life with the grandchildren she was so fond of. I moved to take my first role as a brand president at age 37. Although my mother was very supportive, that's the one I've second-guessed myself on occasion.

What can we expect from your company in the next 12 to 18 months?
Very good franchisee count growth, strong same store sales growth, and more acquisitions complementary to our existing space.

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