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FRANCHISE OF THE MONTH – AUGUST

August’s Franchise of the Month is BlueGrace Tallahassee, led by franchise owner Bob Bankston!
Bob was one of the orignal franchisees to join the BlueGrace network and he is always looking for ways to grow his business. He is currently seeking and assessing hiring steps, looking to hire new employees to better run his department. Bob is thankful his office operates as a team and he sincerely values the opinion of each of his core players in the workplace. Since Double Up 2014, Bob has been extremely excited to double his business. In fact, he is currently working on his painted picture to define culture in his office.

BlueGrace Tallahassee’s Bob Bankston; FOTM August 2014

BlueGrace Tallahassee’s Bob Bankston; FOTM August 2014

“I’m really excited to be announced as August’s Franchise of the Month!” - Bob Bankston, Franchise Owner

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BlueGrace Baltimore Holds “Back to School Drive” for Perry Hall Elementary

On Thursday, August 21, 2014 BlueGrace Baltimore donated school supplies to Perry Hall Elementary. Perry Hall Elementary is a small school built in 1956 with about 700 students enrolled. Donna Bergin is the Principal for the elementary school where it’s the Home of the Gaters football team. BlueGrace Baltimore office with the help of Staples raised about 100 lbs of school supplies to donate to Perry Hall Elementary. Amanda Dudley – a 3rd grade teacher greeted Michelle Welk and Margaret Zarzecki who hand delivered the supplies to the school’s lobby.

“It was so cool. When we got there the principal (Bergin) made an announcement,” said Welk.

“Everyone please welcome BlueGrace that are delivering school supplies, went over the entire school.” -read the announcement from Principal Bergin

Teachers and students greeted the Welk and Zarzecki in the lobby.

“Everyone looked so surprised and appreciative for the supplies,” said Zarzecki.

Dudley received her own bag of supplies to keep in her room for students to use throughout the year.

The personal book bags were given to Kathy Cooney (Student Counselor) to give to students personally as gifts. BlueGrace Baltimore is proud to come together on behalf of our Giving Grace Charity program and make this outstanding donation. We just want to say how much we enjoyed being involved in this Back to School Drive and the happiness it brought to us today when we saw the amazement on the faces of the school staff.

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.” – On behalf of BlueGrace Baltimore.

Michelle Welk and Margaret Zarzecki dropping off their donations at Perry Hall Elementary

Michelle Welk and Margaret Zarzecki dropping off their donations at Perry Hall Elementary

 

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The Meaning of Inbound Vendor Compliance

Did you know that BlueGrace has an inbound vendor compliance program?

Inbound Vendor Compliance

 

Many times when calling on new business we hear the term “vendor routed.” Many businesses think that they are not paying the freight when indeed they are. If there is a line item on your purchase order that says “Freight” with a cost, then guess what? That is the freight cost. We have come across many customers that have no visibility over those costs, and in lots of cases the manufacturers are uplifting that freight cost for added profits. At BlueGrace we analyze those inbound freight costs and set a price to make sure they come in lower than the manufacturers’ preferred carrier. We then draft a letter to be signed by your vendor, making them responsible for calling BlueGrace so that we can book a shipment with a least cost carrier.

Please call us at 800-MY-SHIPPING if you have any questions or would like to know more shipping with us!

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FRANCHISE OF THE MONTH – JULY

July’s Franchise of the Month is BlueGrace NJ Metro, led by franchise owners Dennis Schanstra and Anthony Franco. Dennis and Anthony met in the freight industry and decided to put their 25 years of freight experience to do business for themselves, and in January 2013 they became owners of a BlueGrace franchise. By focusing on sales and getting new activations, they have doubled their numbers in the last few weeks. NJ Metro will soon be seeking for employees to hire. They have formulated a combination of inside and outside sales, utilized the contracts they have in place and pushed insurance to bring them to this success today.

Dennis Schanstra and Anthony Franco of BlueGrace NJ Metro

BlueGrace NJ Central’s Dennis Schanstra and Anthony Franco; FOTM July 2014

“With only being franchise owners for the last 6 months, this is a huge success for New Jersey Metro. We couldn’t be more pleased with how much we’ve grown and look to grow in the future. Our goal is to double everything.”

– Dennis Schanstra, Franchise Owner

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Why the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Means So Much – Written by Tiffanie Bungarz

 

Imagine one day, while living your life, completely happy and healthy, you start noticing some changes with your body. You start noticing your hands are weakening and you have random muscle twitching. You don’t think much of it but decide to see a doctor. After months of testing and visits to a specialist, you are told you have ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease). Your immediate thought is AL, what? At that point you don’t even realize the severity of the disease because you never really heard much about it. It doesn’t take long for both you and your family to read up and learn that this is one of the most devastating diagnoses you could ever receive. ALS is an immediate death sentence.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what my family was faced with back in 2012. My stepfather was diagnosed with ALS at the young age of 55. While statistics show the average life expectancy of a person with ALS is 2 to 5 years after diagnoses, we were only given 10 months with him. In those 10 months we suffered with him as we watched him lose his ability to walk, talk, eat, and move. He was fed through a feeding tube and required a BiPap breathing machine at night. During this time family and friends who were once there are not coming around as much. They don’t know what to say or how to act as they are grieving already. As his condition worsened, the BiPap machine could not keep up. It was his wish to not to be put on a ventilator which is a hard decision every ALS patient and their family need to make. He lost his battle on December 9, 2012.

Currently, there is only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat ALS, which only modestly extends survival by two to three months. Consequently, ALS is 100 percent fatal. In addition to acclimating to the challenges that come with losing control of voluntary muscle movement, people with the disease progressively lose their ability to eat, speak, walk, and eventually breathe. It is like being buried alive while being completely aware of your fate. ALS does not discriminate and affects people of all races, gender and age.

Prior to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, The ALS Association struggled to collect donations which are needed to fund research. The pharmaceutical companies are not as involved with ALS research since the disease is not an easy money maker. ALS is not as common as other diseases like cancer and people really don’t talk about ALS. Like our family, when you lose a loved one, you feel defeated, like being a lonely soldier in a war against the world. Seeing the attention brought to ALS is extremely uplifting for those of us who’ve suffered loss from ALS or are currently fighting. Whether you have the means to donate or you just spread the message with a happy video of ice water dumping on your head… it is appreciated and it is helping in so many ways! For more info visit www.alsa.org

Tiffanie Bungarz

 

July 2009, symptom free

July 2009, symptom free

June 2012 at the ‘Walk to Defeat ALS fundraiser, 6 months before passing away

June 2012 at the ‘Walk to Defeat ALS fundraiser, 6 months before passing away

 

 

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Integrated Social Media

 

“We have a marketing department for that” – That’s a sentence I often hear from businesses opposed to being part of the latest trend in social media: to integrate it with the company. Social media integration is about getting the entire company so excited about what’s going on at work that they all communicate it, instead of having only one designated person doing that while keeping the rest of the company from being part of it.

Businesses everywhere are trying to decide whether allowing social media at work is or isn’t a trend that works. BlueGrace, however, is ahead of the trend.  Not only are most of our employees active on social media and are using it as part of their daily work routine, but the company has also grown over 7,000% since its inception in 2009! With numbers like those, it’s clear that BlueGrace is doing something right.

A great misconception about integrating social media as part of a company’s culture is that it creates chatter and allows the employees to talk, but social media isn’t just about chatting, it’s about listening too! Our employees are actively listening to what’s going on in the industry and spreading the latest news as it come out, making social media a way to become educated and educate others.

When employees are online the possibilities for them to create connections are endless, and connections are what makes a company grow. Why not give your company the ability to do that? Banning social media from work is a great way to keep employees out of the loop with what’s going on in the industry. Social media is about creating a healthy chatter to always put your company ahead of the game.

“Everything is social now with business,” says Paula Barca, BlueGrace Account Executive.

Many companies are also concerned that allowing social media at work may make the company look less professional. We disagree with that. Social media makes the company more personable. It puts faces to the company allowing the clients to get to know each of our employees, and the employees get to know each other. It’s another outlet for employees to connect with clients and even generate new leads.

“Look at the companies who are extremely high in customer service and customer satisfaction – they are engaging their customers on Twitter, Facebook and other social media avenues,” says Barca.

Social media shouldn’t only be used by the marketing team. At BlueGrace, we’ve learned to integrate it in every department. Our Client Relations team often answers questions and communicates through Twitter. The Recruiting department are always on the lookout for candidates who will fit into our culture by looking through Twitter and Facebook. We now even created 360Blue, a support team available for select clients not only through a direct phone line, but also via Twitter, where employees engage and answer clients’ questions in real-time.

“360Blue is following our customers on Twitter and tweeting every day to make sure the customers are up to date on what is happening at BlueGrace,” says Barca.

To survive in the business world nowadays, companies need to be innovative. They need to understand technology and move forward with it and not let old habits keep them from growing. BlueGrace believes in the future and is excited to continue keeping up with what works today and what will work in the future as technology progresses.

Account Executive, Paula Barca

Account Executive, Paula Barca

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The Secret Sauce: Freight Sales Success

 

What’s your secret sauce?

Do you know the most common answer I get when I ask a BlueGrace franchise owner about their performance goals?

You probably wouldn’t believe it, but we have some very competitive personalities in our channel. Almost every franchisee’s response is to “outperform the rest of the franchisees and be the #1 franchise in the company”.

We were interested to see what BlueGrace Indianapolis Central franchise owner, Pete Foradas was doing to grow his franchise with being so successful in just one year of becoming an owner.

Exactly one year ago, Pete Foradas grabbed a bull by the horns and decided he wanted to become a franchise owner. He inquired about BlueGrace Logistics, and it turned into the perfect fit. Foradas has been very successful in growing BlueGrace’s brand. He is a sales machine, and in these last few weeks he is doubling his numbers. We first asked him what is his most successful technique for selling and this is what he said:

a.         Create a game plan for every day of the week. I block out time for prospecting door to door in a specific territory. I make a goal for how many doors I want to hit, how many leads I should generate, how many appointments I should set, deals I should close, and activations I should record.

b.         Persistency is one key to success; the other is spending time in the right places. I try to focus on leads that fit “inside that box” which statistically yield a higher rate of return.

c.         Finding common ground within a meeting is imperative. Associating with clients and relating to their organization creates an environment conducive to productivity. Creating a partnership is key. Finding common ground and creating trust is crucial to long term, residual income.

“I have so much to learn from all of the talented executives and franchise owners in our system. I’ve yet to spend the time with others around the country to observe the “best practices” of some of our finest franchisees. I think it’s a fair to say that I’m one of the younger owners in our system, and one thing I need other business owners in the market place to recognize, is that I am a young professional”. – says Foradas.

Foradas loves being a franchise owner because he enjoys the freedom, and his ability to call the shots. He knows that he is in business for himself, so calling the shots and giving it all he’s got, helps him know he is getting the job done. We next asked him what his secret is to running a successful franchise:

“Consistency and Accountability. I’ve found that being predictable is a good thing. It means you’re consistent. Whether it’s consistently good or bad, just be consistent. Your customer wants to feel there’s a process in place, and so do your employees. Consistency provides a sense of control and trust. From an accountability standpoint, I hold myself responsible for everything that happens under my watch. Whether the carrier allows freight to sit on their dock for 2 weeks without notifying anyone, or I recommend a service that saves my client time and money, I hold myself accountable. I let the people around me know that I made an error, but I also make sure they know when I went above and beyond for them. I schedule 30-60-90 day business reviews. If you have BDMs (Business Development Managers), assign them to the account after 90 days. Allow your sales reps to sell and your BDMs to manage.  A BDM would be compensated on growth of existing accounts and retention” – says Foradas.

Foradas knows sales is the most important aspect of our industry and he feels there’s too much competition to rely on your current book of business to get you to retirement. He believes that he tells a pretty good story of who we are and what we do, and how we position ourselves in the market. So he believes in relating to the business of others and asking as many questions as possible. He uses handouts to illustrate our product and services during meetings. Foradas associates his success with hard work, “hard work means knocking on more doors, and knocking on more doors means more leads, more leads means that I have more phone calls to make, and more phones calls means more appointments, and more appointments means more sales, more sales means more money. It’s really that simple,” says Foradas.

“Securing the business of your customers is the key. It isn’t a daily sale for me. I secure my business in the initial meetings by setting the expectation of what it will be like to work with BGL and Pete Foradas. I remind them of the road bumps that we’ll face together as partners and I try to create value outside of the transaction” – says Foradas.

Foradas said that becoming a franchise owner has made him grow and mature in ways he never knew possible. He may not be thrilled about Indiana, but financially it’s great. He really had to learn how to act as an accountant and pay attention to his finances, which he rarely had to do, because once someone cut him a check, whatever was in the bank was what he had to spend, so overall it’s impacted the way he looks at his dollar, or how it’s spent. It’s changed the way he looks at businesses as far as liability, insurance and protecting his own assets by who he goes into business with.

“I understand jumping into business ventures is risky, I make sure I do my due diligence and make sure it is a good fit. It correlates with how I make friends, how I handle my personal relationships with my significant others and my family members. Just taking into consideration all those variables, and applying what I have learned through business into my day to day life”.

Having a strategy is everything, so Foradas looks to hire Sales and Truckload employees, and nearly double his revenue in the next year.

 

 

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The Great Outdoors with Jeff Lavallee

 

BlueGrace Logistics has many active lifestyle franchisees, but franchise owner of BlueGrace Jacksonville, Jeff Lavallee, is known for his love of the outdoors. He and his family have a huge 37ft. fifth wheel camper. With a luxurious comfortable camper like that who wants to go back to work? Lavallee was one of the first to join the BlueGrace franchise network and has been successfully growing the brand since 2011. He has been in the distribution and freight business since 1997 and that’s where he fell in love with the industry, and decided to make it a business of his own. Lavallee found interest in the BlueGrace franchise opportunity because “BlueGrace Logistics has the best reputation in the industry as well as superior internal leadership qualities,” says Lavallee. When becoming a franchise owner he knew he might have to balance his passion for freight and his love for the outdoors. He knew he would still have time to do everything he wanted, just was unsure of how much time. Fishing, Camping, Clamming, Scalloping, you name it, Lavallee loves to do it! “Of course every franchise owner wants to obtain financial freedom, but mostly I think the goal is allowing yourself to have no restrictions,” says Lavallee, “it falls in line with the ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality”. He has formulated a technique that has allowed him to still take vacations and grow his business 44% since 2013. Whether you work hard in the morning and take off the rest of the day, or you work double and overtime through the beginning of the week and take off the rest of the week, you always have to make sure your work, job and livelihood come first. Though Lavallee has 12 employees, he still believes that he has to take charge and set an example so the team can follow his lead. He is looking forward to scalloping season to start, so he is preparing now to make sure goals and expectations will be met. Lavallee is seeking to expand his office over the next few months, and during that time he won’t be vacationing, so this will be his last summer shindig before big business starts!

“It’s important to work hard and take work serious, but when doing so, you need to allow yourself to still have time to let loose and break free from work, to enjoy your life,” says Lavallee.

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“Backpacks of Hope” 2014 With BlueGrace A Success!

BlueGrace is extremely proud that the 2014 “Backpacks of Hope” drive was once again a true success! Through the month of July, we collected over 550 school supplies and backpacks which were donated to the Metropolitan Ministries. The annual drive provides kids with all new school supplies just in time for them to go back to school! On the last day of the drive, BlueGrace employees were encouraged to break out their nerd gear to celebrate the final day of the charitable drive! “Backpacks of Hope” is one of three annual drives hosted by BlueGrace. Our employees have a strong sense of pride for the company and are always looking for ways to give back to the community via the Giving Grace Program, implemented by President and CEO, Bobby Harris.

One surprise that greatly contributed to this year’s drive was the donation of 17 completely filled backpacks to BlueGrace by Images Hair Salon (www.imageshairsalon.net, located at 3967 Henderson Blvd., Tampa, FL 33629). The effort was led by Jamie Goldfarb, Images Hair Salon Stylist.

BlueGrace is looking forward to the 2015 “Backpacks of Hope” drive, and hopes to surpass the number of items collected and to continue to bring joy to the lives of many more kids!

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BlueGrace Announces 2014 Carrier of the Year Awards

BlueGrace announced the 2014 Carriers of the Year in the following categories: National Carrier of the Year, Super Regional Carrier of the Year and Regional Carrier of the Year. BlueGrace recognizes carriers that have demonstrated excellence in service providing added value to the entire BlueGrace network. BlueGrace is proud to announce FedEx Freight as the National Carrier of the Year, Southeast Freight Lines as Super Regional Carrier of the Year and Roadrunner as Regional Carrier of the Year. This unique partnership will continue to grow and we look forward to another year with these carriers.

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