Interview with Danny Cole - CEO of PERMA-DRY®
Danny grew up and has spent his entire professional career in the family business. He learning the business in the shadow of his father, PERMA-DRY® founder, Bill Cole who remains the largest influence on his life even though he passed away in 2009. The lessons Bill taught still guide Danny every day.
Danny has done just about every job imaginable in PERMA-DRY®, from digging ditches to cleaning toilets, manufacturing product, shipping and receiving to doing the actual jobs, to becoming a Foreman to Project Manager, Estimator, Franchise Principal and now, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of PERMA-DRY®.
Danny’s passion for PERMA-DRY® developed at an early age. While growing up, most kids would stay home from school and play on storm days, in-service days, school holidays, etc., but not Danny, he would beg his father to take him to work so he could see all the cool tools and equipment used in doing the work.
Danny aims to grow PERMA-DRY® into the most trusted and recognized waterproofing business in North America. His passion for, and knowledge of the business and industry combined with his desire to help PERMA-DRY® franchisees achieve their goals will certainly make his vision become reality.
BeTheBoss: Tell us about the Perma-Dry concept.
Danny Cole: In the late 1970’s my father, Bill saw contractors and home owners starting on large scale to finish basements of homes to turn them into useable living space. Knowing that concrete cracked and leaked, he saw the need and opportunity to repair foundation cracks and waterproof basements. He also knew there had to be a better way to repair them than the traditional methods of bringing in big, expensive heavy equipment to rip up a customer’s yard to fix a crack. So he researched and devised a way to permanently repair foundation wall cracks from the inside without costly and messy excavation.
The problem this was that the early materials he used were extremely strong but not flexible. This led to a phenomenon known as “Parallel Cracking” which would cause new cracks when the foundation would move in the future.
One day he was playing with an elastic band while talking to an unhappy customer on the phone about a new crack that had developed and started leaking, when…AHA! The vision for a flexible material – one that would move with the foundation when it shifted - PERMA-SEAL® was born.
We have since continued to develop and refine our solutions and processes to become one of North America’s most trusted waterproofing solutions.
BTB: How and when did you become involved with Perma-Dry?
DC: I have basically grown up in this business. My parents, Bill and Colleen started it when I was a small boy in 1978. When I was a boy going to school, most kids would stayhome and play on in-service and storm days, not me, I went to work with my Dad, even when I was too little to do anything. I guess I decided from a young age that this is what I wanted to do with my life. After finishing school in 1993 I went to work in the business and worked my way up from there.
BTB: What was your background prior to joining Perma-Dry?
DC: I have worked my entire career with PERMA-DRY®. I have done everything from digging ditches, to manufacturing, packaging and shipping product to being the warehouse manager, Service Technician, Foreman, Estimator, Project Manager, and Franchise Principal to my current role as Chief Operating Officer.
BTB: What are some of the advantages in being a Perma-Dry franchisee?
DC: The concrete and foundation waterproofing industry is somewhat competitive, but yet it’s vastly underserviced. Waterproofing contractors are mostly independent and have a terrible reputation for not providing quality service or work. Many of these contractors know how to do the work, but not necessarily the “why” behind it.
One of the biggest advantages with PERMA-DRY® is that we understand this. We understand that a basement leak is a very stressful time for our customers. It’s normally an unplanned event which in itself is stressful, but also it creates stress by damaging our customer’s property and often times they don’t have the money just sitting around to pay for the repair.
We have designed our entire system around our Customer-Centric culture. We’re more than just doing a quality repair, we focus on the Customer Experience, to make it as easy and stress-free as possible. We also understand the “Why” behind what we do and teach that to our Strategic-Partners.
Also, we refer to our franchisees as Strategic-Partners. Partners share a common goal and they assist each other in reaching those goals, plus a franchise relationship is a partnership in every sense of the term other than for ownership of assets and financial and legal liability. We understand that when you succeed, we succeed, and PERMA-DRY® is fully committed to your success.
BTB: Who is your ideal franchisee?
DC: We’re looking for people who have good management skills, an appreciation for proven systems and the ability to follow them. Someone who is ready, willing and able to actively manage the franchise on a full-time, daily basis and is in good health. They have to have the ability to happily to accept the physical demands and occasional long hours of operating a PERMA-DRY® franchise.
BTB: Tell us a little about your industry?
DC: In Canada, literally tens of thousands of leaking basements need sealing every year! PERMA-DRY® has solutions for literally every kind of basement leak and foundation repair problem from cracked foundation walls to water infiltration through the basement floor, stone, concrete block and poured concrete walls alike. This provides a large market for our Strategic-Partners to operate and grow their PERMA-DRY® business. The large market when combined with it being chronically under-serviced as I mentioned earlier makes it a great opportunity with great profit potential.
BTB: What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?
DC: Probably the biggest lesson that we’ve learned growing the Brand is that despite our industry-leading Operating System, Education & Training Program and On-Going Support, a franchisee’s success is largely dependant on them; therefore awarding franchise licenses to the right person, one who is shares our mission, vision and core values is critical.
BTB: Do you have a mentor and is their someone you use for inspiration?
DC: My father, Bill was certainly the biggest influence on my life, both professionally and personally. We worked side by side full-time professionally for 16 years, not to mention the part-time work and just otherwise being his shadow for all those years. His lessons still guide and inspire me today.
BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
DC: My advise for someone looking to invest in a franchised business is to do your homework. Compare apples to apples; overall value. Look for integrity in the people you’re dealing with. Look for a Brand that suits your lifestyle and matches who you are as a person. Entering into a franchise relationship is going to be at least a 5 year and relationship and, in many cases much longer.
BTB: In your opinion, why do you think that Perma-Dry would be a great opportunity for someone?DC: I think a PERMA-DRY® franchise is a tremendous opportunity for a person to pursue their personal, career, lifestyle, wealth and income objectives. We help our canditates and Strategic-Partners set goals and we work with them towards achieving them.
We have no expensive stores to build out, staff or open and close, allowing for a low initial investment plus it adds flexibility with your schedule, we go to our customers, so you can make time for the important things, or, work more if you want!
You also get the opportunity to perform rewarding work that fulfills a sense of purpose each and every day and the ability to bring relief to residents of your community. Our Strategic-Partners have the ability to do so with the inherent reputation and respect that comes with the territory of a PERMA-DRY® franchise.