Meet our ServiceMaster Restore® everyday heroes: Linda Crank, Kristen Crank, and Kimberly “Crank” Harrison – a strong leadership group consisting of a mother, Linda, and her two daughters, Kristen & Kimberly. With 26 years in the ServiceMaster Restore® network, Linda is loosening the reigns as she looks forward to planning her retirement. However, she confidently leaves the family business in more than capable hands with Kristen Crank – franchise owner of ServiceMaster Disaster Recovery in Virginia – and Kimberly Harrison – General Manager of ServiceMaster of the Southside also in Virginia.
In honor of Mother’s Day, Linda shares what it’s like to build a business with her daughters, and Kristen and Kimberly share what it’s like to be in business with their mom and what this has taught them.
Linda Crank – Mother & Owner of ServiceMaster of the Southside (VA) and ServiceMaster Premier Services (NC).
What is it like to build a business with your daughters?
Working with our daughters in business has been a wonderful experience. Kimberly and Kristen have brought in their different personalities and applied their up-to-date knowledge to our company. Kristen currently owns ServiceMaster Disaster Recovery in our Tidewater Virginia area and Kimberly has been with ServiceMaster of the Southside (also in the Tidewater Virginia area) for approximately 8 years. Although Kim (husband) and I still show up for “work” at the office, we also know that when we decide to take time away, we are completely confident that everything in the business is being taken care of. Not only are Kimberly and Kristen ready and able, but we also have excellent employees that cover the business needs while we are away. Kimberly and Kristen always know that they can contact us for anything. Kim (my computer whiz) works from home on some days which makes it nice. I have always taken care of the “bookkeeping” aspect of the business, and Kimberly has my back with the numbers. My partner, Kim, follows up in all aspects of the business. He is always looking for ways to improve and keeps tabs on current events. Kim and I are fortunate to have family members to lean on when needed and are looking forward to “retirement” when we decide what we want to do. ServiceMaster is the type of business where other franchise owners are willing and able to assist with any business issues that may occur. They are also available to show up for fun activities too!
How has being a mom given you the skills to run your own business?
Being a parent has given me the patience I need to handle multiple areas of the business. I enjoy the way our employees get along and assist others. We have employee gatherings like “cookouts” at the office as well as family play time at the water park or maybe bowling. I also like to see how the employees’ families have grown.
Kristen Crank – Daughter & Owner of ServiceMaster Disaster Recovery / 16 years with ServiceMaster
What is it like to build a business with your mother?
It was a whirlwind of emotions at first, but an overall experience that I could never replace. My mother taught me that entrepreneurship required resilience and patience. She was my supportive environment during the process of opening my ServiceMaster Franchise (in 2012) and was/is always there to assist when navigating difficult decisions financially and mentally.
The level of trust and always having my best interest at heart was/is essential to my business, and I am proud to have a mother that cares and loves so much.
Kimberly “Crank” Harrison – Daughter & General Manager of ServiceMaster of the Southside / 8 years with ServiceMaster
How has your mom given you the skills to run a business & what does it mean to be a multi-generational business owner?
I am not a business owner quite yet, but between working with my mom and sister (who are both business owners) I am inspired to become one when the time is right! I joined the ServiceMaster team 8 years ago when I transitioned from the field of public education. I was expecting twins in addition to having a four-year-old at the time. The cost of childcare prevented me from continuing my current position in the public school system, and what I thought at the time was a professional hardship, turned out to be a path to what is a professional goal that I never thought I would develop. My parents’ franchise was growing, and my sister’s franchise was recently established. My mom offered to assist me with childcare if I would spend a few days a week helping her with the financial side of the business. I worked for her three days a week and learned the framework of accounts payables and receivables. Once I was comfortable there, she began to teach me about the HR components of employee onboarding, audits, and insurance. I have no doubt that the three years I spent learning those skills from her set me up for success in a way that going into the field first never would provide. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to go to work full time when the opportunity arose. Knowing how the financial portion of the business is integrated into everyday decisions and the awareness of what it takes to make it week to week, month to month, and year after year has allowed me to be confident in decision making and looking at the road map for the future of the business. Without my mom’s guidance and patience as I learned, I would not be ready to embark on the path to business owner. I have been fortunate that she has been my safety net as both a child and adult. I look forward to repaying her by honoring her dedication, business planning, and taking care of the legacy that she has put in place for over 25 years. The inside look at just how hard she worked to build this business is the perfect example of a child coming to terms with the sacrifices that parents make for the future of their children. I am floored by what my mom and my sister have accomplished as established ServiceMaster business owners. I have three children of my own, and I try to ensure that they understand how incredible their “grandmommie” and Auntie Kristen truly are–not only in their accomplishments but in the way that they care for their community and employees.
How has your mom shown you what it means to run a business?
My mom is the heart of our business. I was a teenager when she left her comfort zone of banking and decided to make that initial and terrifying leap to small business owner. They went from a 2-person team doing all the work (my mom and dad) to our current staff of 30+. Linda treats employees like family and the team all know where to go for a smile and a hug. This is balanced in her standards of appearance, attendance, and behavior. She holds all team members accountable and guides us when she believes we need reminders. She truly is the team “mom” and she shows her appreciation and support of employees both professionally and personally. She has been baking every team member a birthday cake for as long as she has been in business. She honors family accomplishments such as births and graduations, and supports employees through grief and loss. Linda takes time to ensure that professional milestones are celebrated. I know, as her daughter, that these are traits Linda brings from home into her workspace.