Craig and Lynette Heitkamp
Owners of PIRTEK Midway and PIRTEK Plymouth
PIRTEK owners for 20 Plus Years
How did you first become aware of PIRTEK and its franchise system?
I was working for a hose distributor in Minneapolis when PIRTEK USA opened its first location in St Paul as the pilot corporate store for the US market. I was then approached by Neil Robinson to come work for PIRTEK Midway as the Technical Sales Representative. I decided to take the leap and started at PIRTEK in June of 1997. I then moved to the General Manager position and in 2000 bought the Pirtek Midway Franchise from Corporate. I purchased the Pirtek Plymouth location in 2002, with partners Jidge and Tina Ruth.
What attracted you to becoming a PIRTEK Franchisee over other businesses that you investigated?
Came to work at PIRTEK as an employee and decided it was a great opportunity.
PIRTEK is often described as a family – as a Franchisee – can you elaborate on some of the elements that make PIRTEK feel like a family?
Being the first store in the US market and watching the system expand throughout the US has given us a unique perspective on PIRTEK. Craig has had the opportunity to visit PIRTEK locations around the world and has made some great friendships. The network of Franchisees willing to help each other succeed is the best part of being in a Franchise system.
What are some of the major positives of being a PIRTEK Franchisee?
The network has grown greatly, and our brand has become its own. Being the first location, we have had the opportunity to watch the system grow and are finally seeing the benefits of that growth with the creation of national accounts.
Before getting into the PIRTEK way of life, what industry(s) were you involved in?
Craig served 4 years active duty in the US Air Force and upon discharge started work at a local hose distributor. Moved up through the business and learned all aspects before coming to work for PIRTEK.
Lynette continued to work for a manufacturing company in their IT department when a layoff made her rethink her career options. She started part-time at PIRTEK Midway helping with the admin duties and this gave her time to be available for their daughter.
What are some of the major benefits – whether financial or lifestyle – that you’ve found from being a PIRTEK Franchisee?
Flexibility. Being able to be at all our daughters’ activities has been amazing. With the vacation structure in the US and Lynette being from the UK it as enabled us to travel and visit family more frequently than we would have been able to otherwise. Our teams at both PIRTEK Midway and Plymouth are amazing and have enabled us to have this flexibility knowing the business is in good hands.
If anyone is thinking about buying a PIRTEK Franchise, what would you say to them?
Make sure you do your due diligence on your location, you have adequate financing and you are ready to work hard in the beginning. PIRTEK is not a get-rich-quick scheme, you must be willing to put in the time and effort for it to pay off.
Can you identify some of the best things about owning a business under the PIRTEK banner?
If you follow the franchise system, it will pay off.
What are some of the biggest things you’ve learned about either yourself or your business since becoming a PIRTEK Franchisee?
I have learned you need to lead from the top and continually improve, train and re-invest in yourself, your employees and the business.
PIRTEK – through being on-call 24/7 – is known for how dynamic and adaptable its product range is – surely, you’ve got some stories about unique uses product or sticky situations you or your staff have found themselves in?
I had a three-hour sales call, one of the longest and hardest I have ever had to participate in. In the end, the customer told me we could not provide the service we offered. That night at 2 AM received an after-hours call for service (the customer’s test!). Our tech arrived and had to wait 1-1/2 hours for their mechanic to bring him the blown hose, as we were not authorized to enter the worksite. Needless to say, the sales call the next day was much friendlier and turned into approximately $500,000 plus project. Craig brought customers with him 20 years ago that are still customers today, which is a testament to the team, our service, and the Pirtek system.
About PIRTEK USAPIRTEK USA provides the fastest hydraulic hose replacement and industrial hose repair service with onsite mobile and service centers throughout the United States. Our ETA 1 hour on-site hose service, available 24/7, is a simple solution that minimizes equipment downtime and eliminates the need for our customers to leave their job site or facility to locate new hydraulic hoses and hydraulic fittings. Call PIRTEK – We’ll Keep You Operating! www.pirtekusa.com