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The Mag

Please join me in welcoming you to the broadcast with Runningboards Marketing Mr. Calvin McNeely. Good morning, sir. 

 

Calvin McNeely

Good morning, guys. 

 

The Mag 

Hey, Calvin, before we get too far into things, can you share a little bit about Runningboards Marketing? How are you serving, folks? 

 

Calvin McNeely

Yeah, yeah, well, at Runningboards Marketing. We are really a simple business, so we just help successful businesses grow by getting their message out to them, out on the street where the people are. 

 

The Mag 

Now how do you go about doing that? Well. 

 

Calvin McNeely

But I'd have to introduce you to Dave Davies, a digital advertising vehicle that we have, we have built, we build these ourselves, we're on software and everything, and we've nicknamed Dave, Dave. We added an e-mail, we say it and they've got his own personality. But Dave is a three as a truck with three screens on it, three independent screens, and anything we can do on a computer television. We can play videos. We can live stream from a drone and a banner helicopter. We can do two gaming systems on it. Sound PA system, pretty much limitless what we can do. 

 

Lee Kanto 

So now tell me if I'm getting this right. So, this vehicle's fairly large like this isn't like a little pickup truck, right? It's larger than that. 

 

Calvin McNeely 

Correct. It's a mobile, it's a digital mobile billboard. 



The Mag 

And then so

 

Calvin McNeely

We drive around on the streets. 

 

The Mag

So, you are so the service you're providing is you're putting visual messaging in front of crowds of people, whether they're just like, if it's in a big city, it could be just going up and down the streets of downtown or it could be at a festival. It could be in lots of different locations. Right? It flexes too wherever correct. They need to be. I would imagine. 

 

Calvin McNeely

Dave could be anywhere; he just can't be everywhere at the same time.

 

The Mag

Right? And then traffic's good for you, right? Like that traffic's not a bad thing in your business, right? 

 

Calvin McNeely 

Traffic had a bad thing, and there's plenty of traffic around the land. 

 

The Mag

That's right. So now you're in Atlanta today because you're doing a discovery day. Is that right? 

 

Calvin McNeely

They're just a mode of discovery they kind of bring in instead of trying to get anyone to come to cold upstate New York this time of year, we thought we would, we would. We would take it out on the streets, go to the south. I kind of picked Atlanta because I've had success in Atlanta with past businesses. My past company still has an office at the airfield. World's busiest airport is our biggest client. That was a highlight airfield service. As a company, I started in 89 and sold my interests, and retired a few years back. 

 

The Mag

And then you came up with the idea of running boards, marketing. And did you always see this as a franchise? 

 

Calvin McNeely

Well, there was kind of an accident I got into this. I've owned over 20, over 30 businesses worldwide and lots of successes, a few failures in there and kind of got to this by accident, but quickly realized they had something special and looked in the franchise and. There were 4000 franchises in this country. There's nothing like this. So, we're the first to come up with this franchise model. 

 

The Mag

And then so initially you were running it in New York, just your own kind of digital advertising vehicle business. 

 

Calvin McNeely

Yes, and a small town in upstate New York, Watertown, New York, which is pretty close to Canada. 

 

The Mag 

Now how did you know you had something? 

 

Calvin McNeely

The just the local response, Watertown is a population of about 25000 people in a county of about 125 thousand people. It's kind of rural, a little bit behind the rest of the rest of the state. I would say maybe being part of the country and got the idea to do this business. And certainly, I'm going to do it in my town or make some calls to my town, to Watertown and help the businesses here. And we just had such success out of the gate with it. We knew we had something special. 

 

The Mag

Now when you started it, it since it's a sign, a digital sign and it could kind of change the messaging. Were your first advertisers yourself trying to get new clients? 

 

Calvin McNeely

We didn't really want to. We thought instead of an empty billboard or truck saying, hey, call us, you could rent this. We quickly got some clients, keep some people in, quickly know we over-promoted them, but at least they were. They were paying us. Mm-hmm. What's that, I believe? I believe anyone that buys a franchise will help them with the plan of the method we've come up with. I think they could replace them the first week 

 

The Mag

Is that before they even get the truck in their hands. 

 

Calvin McNeely

No, no, I don't need the truck to do that because the trucks, the seller, just you just got to show Dave, you just gave to the people and people will want to be on it. Not everybody, but we don't need everybody to be on it. But it's fun to show Dave because whoever we're visiting, we will put their image and we'll take something off the Facebook page of the website and show up with their image to Dave, and that always brings a smile to people's faces. 

 

The Mag

And then when I say a new franchisee has Dave and they're out in the market, is there a profile of a typical advertiser? Is it certain types of business that work better with this? 

 

Calvin McNeely [00:06:51]

You know, there really isn't. I mean, think of all the people that advertise, but it's a car dealer or a realtor, dentist, fitness business, landscaper, endless possibilities. And then and then the community, it's a very community-oriented business and all the events we can do with just the as we go up on new things all the time, we do a lot of parades, a lot of parties. We could bring a concert to someone's backyard. We recently did Jimmy Buffett concert at someone's backyard 

 

The Mag

so, they can rent it as a way to gather a crowd and watch a movie on the side or watching them correct an event on the side. Correct. So, it's not just an advertising vehicle. It could be like kind of a party vehicle as well. 

 

Calvin McNeely

Definitely, I would say, depending on the personality of the franchisee, there could be 70 percent subscription advertising and 30 percent special events, community events, or many more community events and a little bit more less advertising. 

 

The Mag

Now you mentioned that you have been involved in dozens of other businesses throughout the year. Have you been involved in launching franchises before? Is this your first franchised? 

 

Calvin McNeely 

My first franchise.

 

The Mag

Now running a franchise is different from that's like a new business like you are running boards was a business, but managing franchisees is a different kind of business. Was there, are you? How are you handling that? 

 

Calvin McNeely

Well, it's certainly been a learning curve. But I've been able to take my experience of having. I've had satellite offices around the world. So, Mr. Manager, man, and equipment around the world, but there was a government contractor. Airport runway maintenance is what I did. That's what I really know more than anything else. So, I take a bring in what I know is, and then I learned the rest, teamed up with some good advisors, some good attorneys, all franchise experts, and there's a lot of good people out there that have helped us. I couldn't imagine doing this on my own, but I would have probably failed. Put together a model. We've got a great team that I handpicked my management team that works for works with me and we're figuring it out. We're still learning, but we're figuring it out. 

 

The Mag

Have you kind of gotten a handle on what the ideal franchisee looks like? 

 

Calvin McNeely

Well. If I had to pick the ideal franchisee with somebody that's got a sales and marketing background of some sort, it seems like people are afraid of sales, but more importantly, afraid of selling advertising. But I also think since I'm a true entrepreneur, I started my first business at age 18, swept in parking lots and my office was in my bedroom upstairs in my parents' house, quickly expanding it, becoming a full parking lot maintenance contract before I get on the highways and eventually finally reach an airport. So, I think we have the skill if somebody wants to become an entrepreneur and wants to become a business owner and has no experience. We definitely got the skill set to teach them how to become a business person, an entrepreneur. But it's going to be easier if they’ve got some sales experience, for sure, I think. 

 

The Mag

Do they have to have like advertising, sales experience, or any type of sales experience? 



Calvin McNeely

Well, again, advertising is a plus, any kind of sales is a plus. But if they're totally green, it's just going to be a little slower ramp up, but we'll teach them everything they need to know. We'll be alongside them now. 

 

The Mag

And that's part of the beauty of working with the franchisor is that you're getting a lot of training and a lot of knowhow of they don't have to create the wheel. You've already kind of got a model that if they just follow the instructions, they should be successful. 

 

Calvin McNeely 

Correct. 

 

The Mag

Now you're targeting Atlanta, you mentioned you had done business here in the past. Is Atlanta a place where this is a one day of town, a 10-day town? How do you kind of divide up the market? 

 

Calvin McNeely

Well, you’re populating your metro populations with five-point six million. So, it's a large area with a lot of great suburbs. In fact, I've been here all week and only have been downtown yet. Hopefully, get down and set, some tomorrow before I leave. And that was always my goal. But you know, you go where the opportunity is. You know, our base territory starts out with a minimum population of 125000 people. And then we kind of round-up and look at geographically at a map, whether it be the townships or a county or something, and then negotiated a territory or territories. So, you know, I don't think we're going to set up 44 territories in Atlanta, but the numbers could be. Could be 25 to 45, I suppose, but probably will settle on maybe, maybe 25 territories. We'll be generous on those portions, but we don't make up too, because you can't be everywhere. Look, concentrate on an area and geographic area and worked out, and you'll be very successful. 

 

The Mag

Now for you, are you looking for more individual entrepreneurs? Are you looking for somebody that wants to run like five or 10 markets at the time? 

 

Calvin McNeely

It either works. You know, I think in most cases, it's easier for somebody. It's a very scalable business. So, I would most cases they start out with one and 50 percent booked, but let's get the second one up and running and just keep our money that way rather than take delivery of. You know, five days all at once. That probably could be overwhelming, not for everybody, but. We could scale up pretty good, we pre-built the truck, so the trucks are ready to go. I can have somebody up and running a business pretty quick. 

 

Stone Payton

If you're just now joining us, you're listening to franchise marketing radio. Our guest today is Calvin McNeely with running boards marketing. Calvin Stone Payton, here I got a question about marketing to get the word out to prospective franchisees. On the one hand, it seems to me like you've got the golden ticket, right? You've got Dave, right? So, you have a marvelous way to promote what you're doing. But maybe you don't have Dave or there's not a really practical way to get a Dave in Wichita, you know or San Jose. So how do you get the word out to people in other markets where you're not yet? Have you found any tools more effective than others and just sort of getting the word out about the opportunity so you can have a conversation with some of these prospective franchisees? 

 

Calvin McNeely

Well, we've definitely tapped into the franchise consulting and broker networks out there, and we're involved with two or three of them. And so, we're tapping into that. We're trying to show and explain to the brokers as many as we can. I met with some brokers last night from Atlanta. Spent a couple of hours with them and listened to Dave, and they have clients throughout the country. So, tapping into that network, we're in some portals. We've got an advertising agency that helps us out of Chicago, that's helping us the no limit agency that's actually got us online with you guys. And we've attended some franchise shows, but we just recently made the decision I did, you know, we're a mobile business. It's got to go to the people. So, I'll be on the road a lot this first quarter of the winter. You know, it's back down to Atlanta, and then I'll probably head over to Charlotte in the different parts of the Carolinas before I go to Nashville for a conference in a month. 

 

The Mag 

Now is the strategy that your kind of pre-scheduled meetings in these different markets. You bring the truck and then hopefully you leave the truck and then get another truck and go to another market. 

 

Calvin McNeely 

Well, the. The truck I'm driving around is kind of my demo truck, so expect anyone's going to buy that truck, but I know people around the country where I can leave it. But we. We will be able to drive around, visit these markets, so we'll try and have an appointment or two at least, and every time we go to. But then we'll just drive around somewhere, we spent some time driving around Monday and Tuesday, and we got some calls from that basically on the screen that says you could own this business, you could own these truck franchise territories available will rotate through several screens. And we also got a few calls to advertise to help those people today but got them on the list for a future franchisee. 

 

The Mag

And then so at this stage, do you how many franchisees you have out there? 

 

Calvin McNeely 

Well, that's a good question. I have zero franchisees out there; we are truly a brand-new emerging brand. We have just started getting some commitments. And I expect we are close six in the first quarter, but to date, it's rewarded zero. 

 

The Mag

Now, do you do anything for veterans or are there any, you know, groups that you support by making it easier to get there? 

 

Calvin McNeely

Certainly, we do, and we come from a military town, the Fort Drum, the Fort Drum, which is home to the 10th Mountain Division, and we offer the standard discounts of 10 percent for veterans. And we've been working closely with the local base as people are transitioning out of the military to hopefully eventually somebody would be signing up. Maybe they're going to Wichita, Kansas, and they can do all the training and then take a day home with them. We've done some intern programs and training know-howthe with the military there as well.

The Mag

And then the only owned and operated store is the one near Syracuse. 

 

Calvin McNeely 

But Watertown, New York, and Syracuse, New York certainly spot an hour away from a much bigger city. We've got a little operation going there as well. 

 

The Mag 

So, what's the most rewarding part of this adventure for you? 

 

Calvin McNeely

Well, I think it's the fact that I didn't realize how much we'd be involved in the community. And before this business, my last business, I was always travel. I was kind of what kind of a global were. Now I've come back from being a global traveler to back to my community and worked with all the different non-profits and different agencies that spent a lot of fun got to meet and really, really become pretty popular in the community. And once they've there bet, have that and it just helps the businesses grow and not just from advertising, but also giving them better and a few people in this kind of culture in them and help them with some of the challenges. And hopefully, how we'll take their right in there and help franchisees be successful. My whole team has a heart for helping people who are forgiven. 

 

The Mag

And that this is a great way to give back to kind of the nonprofits because it's just you have almost an infinite amount of inventory, right? Like there's you can just throw in the slide for an organization or a nonprofit. Pretty painlessly, I would imagine. 

 

Calvin McNeely

We can and we do something for a sponsor, we certainly get paid for some of the events, a little bit of everything. But we've become part of some of the events like the United Way out over the edge of this summer, where people are scaling down a 14-foot story building. And Dave was there on the ground. So, then we put cameras on the roof and people could come and watch them, you know, their loved ones or whoever friends up on the roof, getting ready and going over the edge. So, they got to be a part of the event. That was really exciting. 

 

The Mag

Now, is this something that to do the technical part about getting images onto the vehicle, is that something the franchisee has to do, or is that something that you have software and technology that you handle that from the corporate? 

 

Calvin McNeely

Well, we have design and build our own software. We own it, we built it here in the US and we have only the managers, David manages really the whole business. But they will have to and we will teach them all. This is not that complicated. We will teach them how to pull images off people's websites and social media to put on the truck to go out and sell. And then when it gets more serious, a lot of people have the wrong stuff. They just have to adapt a little bit for the truck. But what takes up everything they need to know and eventually when they get busy, they'll probably agree on graphics artists, on staff. But until that point, we'll take care of while that form up in New York. 

 

The Mag

And then is it the way that you get paid? Is it you get a percentage of the revenue that's generated from the vehicle itself? So, everything is going to kind of go through you? Or is this kind of a flat fee like a license for owning the vehicle? 

 

Calvin McNeely

Yes, similar to most, most franchises, we get a royalty. 

 

The Mag

So then like so if they have a nonprofit, they have the option to not charge the nonprofit or everything has to be charged so that the money so the money flows through, you guys. 

 

Calvin McNeely 

Know they have an option; they have an option not to charge a nonprofit. Of course. 

 

The Mag

So, then the franchisee can be as generous as they want to be. And you're OK with that. Yes. Wow, so this seems like a great way for that person that really wants to do good in their community and do well financially, give them really a. A nice way to serve, do you find that? 

 

Calvin McNeely

I would totally agree. And we're about serving. You know, if you looked at my computer or jumped in my pickup truck, it says I get to serve and it just reminds me that, you know, we always have the opportunity to serve other people. 

 

The Mag 

And this is great for that, for first time franchisee. I would think that this is a kind of not a hard sell kind of business. You just have to be out there in the community and be visible. And then if you do that, enough business should come your way. 

 

Calvin McNeely

I would agree with that. Really, everything you need, but his business has six wheels, it's almost a business on a bike for business on wheels. We've I think we've made it pretty simple as we can make it. 

 

The Mag

Now, what do you need more of right now, Calvin? What do I need more? How can we help you? Well. 

 

Calvin McNeely

Well, just getting the word out. You know, I've come to people and I'm flying back home tomorrow for the holidays, but I'll be back down probably January 20th spends a little more time here in Atlanta before I get over to Charlotte. It's like the opportunity to show Dave a pretty simple set of high-pressure businesses. We'll show you the day. If I can, I can explain everything and one to two hours. And for some, you are just fine in that one person that wants to take it up. 

 

The Mag

Well, if somebody wanted to learn more, is there a website for, I guess, running boards marketing as a whole, but also separately for the franchise opportunity? 

 

Calvin McNeely 

There sure is. And they can go to runningboardsmarketing.com. And there's a button there to also take him to our franchise website, so they get all the information. Our price and that's pretty detailed in the franchise website it's actually gone to. Its second major update should be produced in about a week, but there's a lot of good information there. 



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