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Meet Brooke & Lindsay: How Two Sisters Left Corporate America for Entrepreneurship

April 8, 2024


Starting a restoration business comes with its fair share of unknowns. We’re spotlighting Brooke Yobo and Lindsay Keyser, owners of DRYmedic of Lakewood Ranch, FL, who left Corporate America to join the restoration industry. 

Hear from Brooke and Lindsay about what it’s like to start a business as sisters and how they jumped into a new industry.  

When do you open your franchise?

Brooke: We open our DRYmedic franchise this Monday (February 26, 2024).

What has your experience with franchising been like prior to opening?

Lindsay: Franchising has been more work than we expected. However, we know we’re starting a new business, so there’s just a lot to do.

When we started, there were a lot of things we knew we could check off the list because of our previous experiences in business, but there’s a whole other level of having to learn how to do the jobs and what the equipment does.

In the 90 days leading up to opening, there’s been hurdles to get over, but it’s built our resilience. If something is too easy, what is there to appreciate?

Brooke: We’re entering an industry we know nothing about, so there’s more of a learning curve for us than there might be for other franchise owners. It’s more work than we expected, but we’re taking each day one at a time and getting done what we can get done.

How was the initial training program with the DRYmedic team?

Lindsay: The training we did up in Michigan was so important and helpful. Ben [Gergis, Vice President of Operations, DRYmedic] is just phenomenal. He has boots on the ground, and he’s still very much in the day-to-day of running a restoration franchise. 

This is his baby that he’s built, and now he’s sharing it with the DRYmedic franchise owners. You can sense Ben’s passion, and we’re able to learn from him, his mistakes and wins. The whole DRYmedic team has been very, very helpful.

Having the opportunity during the initial training program to go out on jobs was really cool for us, being able to see things firsthand.

What is it like to own a franchise with your sister?

Brooke: I think we’re teamed up pretty well. It’s been helpful to go into business and not be alone. There’s a huge benefit to bouncing ideas off someone and asking questions with someone you trust.

Even if you are alone, the whole DRYmedic team has been so helpful. They answer all our calls and all of our questions. Sometimes I worry if we’re annoying them with all our calls, but we have never felt that from them. They’ve been really helpful.

How has your experience been with the network of DRYmedic franchise owners?

Lindsay: It’s been wonderful to partner with other newer franchise owners in the network. We talk daily with the franchisees in Alpharetta, GA, and Grand Rapids, MI, because we’re in a similar stage of business.

It’s been helpful to feel like we have each other’s backs. We know there’s someone else we can talk to and discuss what’s working or what’s not working.

You talked about being new to the restoration industry. Did you have any hesitations about franchising in a new industry?

Brooke: Yes, every day. We come from Corporate America. My background is in HR, and Lindsay’s background is marketing. As we enter a service industry and the restoration industry, we’re learning the trade. There is a huge learning curve, and we are constantly asking, “What do we not know that we don’t know?”

We’re getting up to speed on equipment, OSHA standards, policies, protocols, and managing a completely different group of people. There’s just so much for us to learn.

I think the potential benefits and growth far outweighed our concerns, though. There’s a huge opportunity to impact our community. There are great potential margins, and we get to serve our state here in Florida.

Lindsay: There are certainly good people in Corporate America, but the people that we’ve met in the trades industry have been so great. We’ve met really kind, good people. Everyone has been encouraging and helpful. We’ve interacted with such wonderful people in the restoration industry.

What has been the most unexpected part of starting a restoration franchise?

Lindsay: How much workers comp would cost. I don’t think we were prepared to deal with insurance in the trades business, specifically in restoration, because of our lack of experience.

The other learning experience for us was hiring and developing a team. We’re used to very buttoned up, corporate professionals, and this is a different space.

Are there any resources you’ve found helpful for hiring so far?

Brooke: It’s been trial and error. We base our hiring methodology off a scorecard we created for the outcomes we would expect people to fulfill in their role. That creates an opportunity for us to constantly talk about what is getting done and how we can build an environment where our employees feel prepared and engaged.

We believe leadership shapes culture, so that’s us creating things together and living the behaviors we want to see from our team. We have a great project manager here, who is another woman. So, we really are an all-women team right now.

We also have our values on the wall. They are the DRYmedic values, which we believe in, but we’ve added one more for ourselves, which is fun. We want this environment to be fun. We like to laugh.

Are there any skills or experiences from your previous roles that have been relevant to you as franchise owners?

Brooke: I ran operations for a consulting firm for a while. As business owners, we have finance, marketing, core operations, people, and so many different things you need to keep a system running. I can map things out and create a strategy to get us from point A to point B. As franchise owners, you need to be organized and have a plan. That’s been helpful on my end to get us open.

Lindsay managed a lot of people and a lot of different teams for a service-based business. I’ve relied on her so much. She’s provided value in how we keep our team engaged, how we show up for our clients, and communicating specific policies and protocols upfront to avoid issues later.

Lindsay: Managing at a local level is a different environment than a corporate setting. Being prepared is important so you’re ahead of the game.

In our previous roles, we’ve worked closely with leaders of businesses and saw a lot of potential challenges. We knew going into a franchise that everything wouldn’t be fluffy and perfect. We’re going to make money and follow our dream, but we know that it takes a lot of hard work.

What does your typical day look like leading up to the launch of your DRYmedic franchise?

Brooke: Today started with cleaning paint off the floor because we had a paint spill.

Every day is different. Lindsay is fully running the field side of the business, including everything client-facing like vans, employees, and equipment.

I’m more internal, including finances, core operations, policies and handbooks, and the safety comps.

Lindsay: I think we have a good balance. I don’t know anybody who is more organized than Brooke. We would not be opening when we are if it wasn’t for her.

We check things off our list and regroup once a week to see where everything stands. Each day we tackle as much as we can.

At the same time, we’re moms. We’re balancing when the kids are out of school with opening a business. Figuring out how to do all of that has been interesting. What is cool is that I was able to have my oldest here working with me the other day because the kids were out of school.

This business could be so much of who we are and our families as well. We involved my husband in building out our van. Brooke’s kids were in here earlier too. It’s just a cool environment to have and it lightens the mood for us from time to time.

Brooke: In the future, we hope our day-to-day involves coming in and sending the teams out to work. Our goal is to look at the board every morning and see job, job, job.

How do you measure success for your franchise?

Brooke: Outside of monetary success, we would like to see steady growth. There’s also the aspect of retaining our team and creating a business where everyone loves being here.

We also want our clients to leave us five-star reviews because they’ve never worked with a home services business like ours before. We want them to notice that something is different.

Before we officially opened, we were able to service our first client. When we were leaving she let us know how much she trusted us. For us, that’s a huge marker of success. We want to hear things like that from our customers who are experiencing a traumatic situation in their home.

Financially, we’d like to pay off a lot of our equipment. That would be huge in our first year.

You’re starting a business in a male-dominated field. What benefits do you think women bring to the restoration industry?

Lindsay: As moms, we primarily run the function of the home. If we’ve had a situation happen at home, we’re usually the ones managing it. It can be intimidating sometimes. When you call a service business, you don’t know what man is going to show up at your door. It is primarily men in this industry, and they could be great guys, but it can still be intimidating.

Our first client was a single girl who owned a home with roommates, and she didn’t feel worried at all to leave us a key and let us go in and out of her house. We want our customers to feel safe with us. If we continue to hear from people like that, it would be very fulfilling.

Have your goals changed or evolved as you’ve gotten closer to launching your business?

Brooke: When we first thought about buying a business years ago, one thing that was very important to us was investing in single moms. We thought about starting a coffee shop or another business where we could hire single moms. In order to take this franchise on, we thought we had to let that dream die.

What’s ironic is that we’ve hired a single mom for our DRYmedic franchise. There’s aspects of this business that enable us to do the things we wanted to do and pour into our team. I hope that our team not only enjoys working here, but that they grow as people, their families grow, and they get to hit their personal goals.

Our hope is that this business makes millions, but if it doesn’t and our team grows and develops, that would be so fulfilling for us.

Having gone through the initial training program and preparing for launch, is there any advice that you would give to someone considering franchising as a path to business ownership?

Lindsay: I don’t think we came into this business thinking it would be easier because it’s a franchise. Buying into a franchise does not automatically make you successful. We took on this business as our own, knowing we have to figure things out and work just as hard as the original business owners to get the business going. We’re just lucky enough that they gave us a handbook on how to do this.

It’s important to comprehend what is needed, including boots on the ground, to get your business running, and being okay with doing that work. You have to plan to work.

This is the best decision we’ve ever made, and hopefully we continue to say that. I’ve learned a lot.

Brooke: For a prospective franchise owner, you have to think about what you want. What do you want, and does this opportunity fulfill what you want? This isn’t for everyone, and it may not meet your needs.

Before jumping in, we had to be clear on if this business fit our needs. We invested a lot of time in the financials and talked to other DRYmedic franchise owners. You have to do the work to figure out if this is right for you, but you do hit a point when it’s time to make the jump.

If you’re at that point, then I would say to make the jump. It’s scary and there’s a lot unknown, but I have a note card in my office that says, “Faith is spelled RISK.” You can’t have faith unless you take risks. We can’t be rewarded in huge ways unless we take risks. Our other alternative is the mundane, the same thing that we’ve always done. It feels safe and good, but safe is not always what’s best for us. 

Learn More About the DRYmedic Franchise Opportunity!

If you’re ready to take the next step towards entrepreneurship, DRYmedic is excited to partner with you on your journey. Whether you have experience in the restoration industry or a background in another field, the DRYmedic franchise opportunity can help you achieve your goals. 

Contact our team today to learn more about franchising with DRYmedic!