The Preservan founder shares his story – plus tips for success as a franchisor filling a unique need in the home renovation industry.
Ty McBride has never been a stranger to hard work – or its life-changing results.
Growing up in the home-building industry, McBride got his start at the family business his grandfather founded in 2001 while cleaning up home-building job sites that had been destroyed by tornadoes – a common occurrence in Oklahoma City, where strong storms often leave a path of destruction in their wake annually.
Over a decade after that first job, while restoring a historic home in the area in 2014 and suffering from what he describes as “burnout” from cleaning up a series of ruined sites, McBride noticed a problem he hadn’t given much thought to previously: the need for better methods of repairing wood rot in historic homes.
“There were all these wood windows that were rotting away. They didn't work very well, and nobody could repair them. And because they were historically protected, they couldn’t be replaced,” McBride recalls.
It was a discovery that would change the course of McBride’s life, leading him down an unexpected path of entrepreneurship – and toward a future as the founder of a thriving multi-unit franchise system.
Making a life change - and meeting a unique need
Over the year that followed, McBride experimented with epoxy as a possible solution to the wood rot plaguing many of his customers. By 2015, McBride had developed a proprietary system for treating the condition effectively in historic homes while preserving their unique architectural features – and potentially saving historic homeowners thousands of dollars in restoration costs.
“Rather than a homeowner having to go through the headache and hassle of replacing a window, door or beyond, we could come in with our epoxy system, repair that rot in a few hours, save them tens of 1000s of dollars and all the headache and hassle of a common renovation project,” McBride says.
In January 2016, McBride and his wife, April, launched Wood Window Rescue, a historic home preservation concept. Beyond offering the potential for financial freedom, entrepreneurship allowed the couple more flexibility in their schedules – something that was enormously important as one of their newborn twins struggled with a medical issue that required ongoing attention at the local children’s hospital.
“We wanted to look at how we could control our time so I could take off (work) when I needed to take off for surgeries and different things like that,” McBride recalls.
For the McBrides, the decision to start a business paid off in more ways than one. As Ty and April McBride continued to preserve old windows in Oklahoma City’s historic neighborhoods alongside April’s brother, operations manager Morgan Reinart, the fledgling small business was invited to film a pilot for HGTV – an event that helped put the small business in the public eye.
Transforming challenges – and knowledge – into opportunity
Although the small business was thriving, McBride dreamed of accomplishing more as an entrepreneur. After reading “The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It” by Michael E. Gerber at the recommendation of McBride’s mentor, McBride began to consider the benefits of restructuring the small business like a franchise – including establishing strong, replicable operations systems and manuals that could be used to train and scale the business in the future.
“I was like, okay, franchise-like structure – what does that look like? I came across some podcasts that were kind of about that topic and I just started listening to them and consumed that information. And so, really, the lightbulb went off in 2017 or 2018 – I wondered if we could franchise this business,” McBride recalls.
Determined to build strong systems that could be replicated, McBride set to work creating training manuals for the complex preservation and restoration services his small business provided to historic homeowners.
“We restored historic wood windows – it's an incredibly complicated process. It is so detailed. There's a lot to it. And we had done so much work to develop manuals, so we could train people on how to do this exact, incredibly complicated work,” McBride says.
After updating the company’s systems to mimic a franchise-like structure, McBride approached a franchise attorney about the idea of franchising Wood Window Rescue. Although the attorney loved Wood Window Rescue and the unique services it offered, they told McBride that franchising the business wouldn’t work.
“I kind of argued a little bit with him and he said, give it a shot. And I gave it a shot to expand a little bit outside of my market – and it did not work. He was absolutely right. It was not franchisable,” McBride recalls.
Building a franchise system that works
Undeterred, McBride and Reinart returned to the drawing board, determined to find a way to scale their business and offer their services to homeowners across the country.
“(Reinart) came in and he said, ‘Ty, what kind of business would we have if you could fit it in the smallest possible car out there?’ And we marked a bunch of things off and landed on wood rot repair. It’s not just for historic homes. Everybody’s got wood on their houses, wood is always rotting. We have an awesome way to help people save money and fix it. It just was a no-brainer. We pulled that out and we built a brand around it,” McBride says.
Stripping away any services that weren’t sustainably scalable, the business partners forged ahead with their franchising plans. Launched as a franchise system in the fall of 2022, Preservan was born as a “convenient, affordable and sustainable alternative to replacement that repairs wood rot on windows, doors and more with industry-leading epoxy technology.”
According to its website, Preservan has saved its customers $21,730,800 in replacement costs related to wood rot since its launch, with a goal of saving U.S. homeowners $500 million in replacement costs by 2030.
Beyond helping historic homeowners struggling with wood rot across the country, McBride says the Preservan franchise system also strives to help another group of individuals: entrepreneurs.
“We're trying to offer to our franchisees (opportunities that are) affordable, convenient, sustainable. The entire business operates out of the back of a Kia Soul, so there's no trips to the hardware store. Everything is right there for them to get the job done – and 30 miles to the gallon,” McBride says.
“Don't buy into this (idea) like you're gonna blow up overnight. I have a 100-unit goal. Of course I have a 100-unit goal – I'm building this for a reason. But I realize that, you know, I need to break that 100 (units) down into years and months and weeks,” McBride says.
For McBride, investing that level of time and resources into franchisees isn’t a burden, but rather the best path to success as a franchise founder.
“I envision our role as a franchisor is to collect all of this great experience that I've had and all of these great relationships that I've built over time – that I was gifted from my grandfather in the whole building business. …” McBride says. “My vision is that (I’m) able to gift these through our franchise agreement or franchise program to our franchisees, and that they're then able to find that same level of … peace and satisfaction."
To learn about franchising opportunities with Preservan, visit https://gopreservan.com.