Matt and Minnie Currey have plenty of experience working together. The duo worked at the same company for over two decades in the sales and marketing industry at AT&T/YP.com before they opened a Brightway Insurance franchise together. At the time, the pair had no experience working in the insurance industry. But that didn't hold them back.
Here's what this married couple has learned about franchising and insurance over the last three years.
Name: Matt and Minnie Currey
Franchise owned: Brightway Insurance in Miramar, Fla.
How long you have owned the franchise?
Three years in July
We knew we wanted to start a business and wanted to move to South Florida. Starting a business from scratch is difficult, and buying a franchise means that the base work is already completed, with all the systems in place. Before leaving our previous jobs, we started looking at alternatives and found insurance to be our best option.
What were you doing before you became franchise owners?
We were in the sales and marketing industry for AT&T/YP.com, and as opportunities changed, we knew wanted to start our own business. Minnie retired after 30 years with the company and I took an early out at 22 years.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
We looked at a number of captive agency models and we preferred Brightway’s non-captive model over everything else we found. We like the option of being an independent insurance agency. The Brightway model works well with our sales background because it allows us to sell without dealing with the back office items. This model, we can offer more choices to our clients and grow our business quickly.
With Brightway Insurance, we were able to open an independent insurance store without prior insurance experience, which we wouldn’t have been able to do without Brightway and all the carrier appointments the company offers.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
We spent between $16,000 and $20,000 on furniture and fixtures for the office space, plus $60,000 for the Florida Brightway franchise fee.
How was the process of becoming a franchise owner different for a couple versus an individual?
The only thing different for us is that we have the ability to work together; as part of a team, you can talk with someone about how the business is running and have a good sounding board for thoughts and ideas.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
We did a lot of research on captive agencies and we could tell from our experience in business that Brightway Insurance was a good business model, especially for independent insurance agents. We did speak with an agent before making our final decision, which was only two weeks after leaving our previous jobs.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
We weren’t experienced in generating business or finding customers for ourselves; that aspect is very different from our previous jobs.
Encountering all the carriers we represent was another unexpected challenge, as many independent agents don’t represent as many as Brightway, especially since the number of carriers varies depending on home, auto and life insurance. Learning them was easier than expected, though.
What have been the biggest challenges and positives of running a business with your spouse?
Positives include having someone to bounce ideas off of and having a partner you can trust who understands the business. And both of us receive the commission.
The challenging part can be remembering to leave the business in the office and that we are both experiencing the same things. It can sometimes add a strain to the relationship.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchises?
Do your research and look at the business model from the perspectives of the client, the owner and the company. Remember that it takes time to make money.
What’s next for you and your business?
Continue to grow – too many agencies cannot provide good service and customers are craving something better, which is possible with Brightway Insurance.