From Starting A Franchise During College To Rolling Up Franchises Through Acquisition With Connor Groce

by | Jan 2, 2024 | Podcast

Franchise Master | Connor Groce | Franchise Acquisition


Connor Groce is a multi-brand multi-unit franchise owner with Smash My Trash and Shine, who is growing through acquisition with plans to roll up franchises.


Connor takes us through his journey starting his first franchise while still an undergrad at UNC during COVID, building it to a manager-run level, moving halfway across the country to acquire his first Smash My Trash unit, and how he’s growing through acquisition via roll-up with funding through his hold co.

Listen to the podcast here


From Starting A Franchise During College To Rolling Up Franchises Through Acquisition With Connor Groce

I got a good guest for all of you. For anybody who’s thinking about getting into franchising through acquisition, scaling, and rolling things up, this is going to be a juicy one. Connor Groce is joining me. Connor is a multi-brand and multi-unit franchisee, got in the game, and has started to expand through acquisition. He is a very insightful educated guy with a ton of experience. Connor, welcome to the show.

Thanks, Dru. Looking forward to it.

You and I had some good offline conversations. A lot of our philosophies are very well aligned on how franchising can be amazing, but it’s not all the sunshines, rainbows, and stuff that you see on the interweb. Everything is glorified. You’re living and breathing a very interesting approach in franchising. How’d you get into this game? Where did you to come from? What got you into the game? Tell us a little about you and your story.

I grew up in Winston Salem, North Carolina. I went to the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. I was on a path to going to law school. I was majoring in Political Science. That has always been my thing and happen to be working for John Smith, who’s my uncle and has become a mentor to me in franchising, he and his ownership group and several of Club Pilates franchises in the Chapel Hill area.

I was a freshman looking for a job and got a job as a sales rep in their Pilates studio. I got some initial exposure to franchising through that. I ended up partnering with John and Joe, one of his partners, the following year. We opened up a home service franchise in Raleigh. This was in 2019, so it ended up being good intuition on their part to want to diversify from fitness given what was coming. We did that in Raleigh and had some success with it.

It’s a business that I ran as an inter-operator for months and hired a manager and continue to ever see it now on a semi-absentee basis. When I started to get close to graduating, I knew that I had this itch to grow by acquisition and wanted to look into franchise opportunities where that was going to be a possibility. I started looking around and came across Smash My Trash due to other franchise brands that I owned and the business model.

It’s a very simple business model to understand. I knew that there would be some factors of scalability from an operational standpoint that would make that good to grow and to scale. Also, I noticed the rate that they were growing. I knew that was something where they were going to be a lot of franchisees getting in and hoping to get out and, hopefully, would create a lot of opportunity for myself. I moved to Cincinnati in April of 2022. About a few weeks after I moved there, that acquisition ended up falling through. That was inconvenient but I moved on pretty quickly by the first location in September of ’22 and been rolling ever since.

That’s a lot. You started as a franchisee as an undergrad at UNC. How the heck were you juggling school and getting a new business off the ground?

I didn’t juggle very well. That’s why it ended up taking me five years instead of four to get out UNC. Looking back, it was the most challenging thing that I would never do again. I learned a lot because I didn’t have a choice and that, to me, is how I learned. It worked out well.

You were owner-operating the first business and going to undergrad at UNC. How the heck do you balance all that stuff?

I did not. It turns out to be a blessing in disguise, which happened to be COVID because COVID was good for the home service business. Keep in mind, we launched in January of 2020. I had two months of business exposure before COVID hit. I don’t have the same frame of reference that a lot of business owners do on pre-COVID and post-COVID because I’ve only known in this world. COVID was generous to the home service business but also was generous to students because we got to do our classes from wherever we wanted to. I would sit in our office, take my classes, and somehow pull it off.

COVID was generous to the home service business. Share on X

You’re a COVID franchisee baby. I love it. This is awesome. I didn’t realize all this stuff. You were birth by fire in a pandemic and got into it. When did this idea of growing through with Smash My Trash came from? For a little bit of context, Smash My Trash was one of these franchise systems that you mentioned offline. There is explosive growth from a couple of franchise locations. One corporate location in Houston put out this juicy item nineteen, a pretty unique business model. They literally smash trash in dumpsters and you can talk a little bit more about it. It is a unique business model and unique thing. Five hundred franchise units in twelve months, was it something like that?

It ended up being over 700 territories sold during that entire period of three years.

Where did this whole idea come from? Not to mention, you moved to Cincinnati for a deal with Smash My Trash and it fell through.

That’s correct. Unfortunately, I was single with kids. It’s just me and the dog. We loaded the sedan back up, put the dog in, and came back home for a couple of months.

What happened with that deal? Do you mind me asking why it fell through?

It’s an interesting conversation for franchising because all three of the things that caused that one to fall apart were franchise-specific. The first thing was another franchisee had acquired an adjacent territory that was going to cap. It was going to cut about 25% to 30% of monthly revenue with this particular location.

You’re operating outside of their territory. They had a bunch of clients outside.

In a business like Smash My Trash where the fixed costs are so high relative to the relative cost, when you’re cutting 20% to 30% of revenue, you’re cutting 70% or 80% of EBITDA, which was going to make things very tight. Smash My Trash at the time was operating on a certain development schedule where you had to buy a certain number of trucks within a certain period of time.

That was something that being an outsider I wasn’t privy to and this franchisee was behind on their delivery schedule. We were going to have to immediately buy another truck, which is almost $300,000. The other thing is that there was a minimum royalty schedule with the franchisor that kicked in that we had not taken into account since we had not been made aware of it. It kicked in three months prior to when we were going to close. When you normalize the numbers, the average was not going to check out.

Good job figuring that stuff out. That sounds like at the eleventh hour.

The thing is it wasn’t like we were being misled. The franchisee was not privy to a lot of this stuff either. It ended up working out so we go our separate ways on that one.

You moved to Cincinnati, the deal falls through, then what?

I had already started to build what the pipeline of potential acquisition opportunities that I may have wanted to move on. I moved on to the next one and ended up being a better deal all in all because this franchise in Cincinnati was very lean. It was not necessarily owner-operated, but it was adjacent to a bunch of other businesses that the owner was involved in.

The location Indiana, the first location that I bought, what was nice about it is it did have a pretty nicely built out team that has now been able to participate in the operations of multiple franchises. It wasn’t necessarily where I wanted to live, but I was willing to make that sacrifice in the short term for all in all better opportunity.

You had reached out. You had a lot of potential deals that you would identified as potential acquisitions. Cincinnati one was top of the list involved and didn’t work through. You had options to fall back on, so how did you go about identifying Smash My Trash as a brand that you wanted to focus on for this new second strategy of going through acquisition and rolling up? That’s a big part of it too. It’s like the opportunity to scale through consolidation and rolling up. Where did that idea come from? Can you take us through a little bit of your thought process, how it evolved, and how you landed on Smash My Trash?

To back up a little bit, what got me focused on acquisition entrepreneurship originally was the fact that when I was growing my first franchise, I was in circles with people. I was an undergraduate, so in circles with people who were in business school who were going into investment banking, private equity, and consulting. It was very interesting because I was hearing second-hand what they were learning in their business classes and also running a small business. I was so interested to drop parallels between the two and certainly talking with people as they were learning about the M&A process, private equity, and institutional asset management. It was very interesting to think through how we could utilize everything that’s being taught in business schools so well in small businesses if we only applied it in the right way.

From that point, we’re looking toward wanting to take my franchising experience. I do love the franchising space, but I wanted to take that and figure out how I can transition that into M&A more broadly. In terms of finding Smash My Trash, I only had two lenses to do that from. The first was the experience that I had running that initial franchise and knowing, “What do I like about this? What do I not like about it?” and juxtaposing potential franchise acquisitions with that experience.

The second is understanding what’s going on in the industry, understanding which brands are selling, and putting my own span on perhaps why they’re selling and how that can materialize for current and potential franchisees moving forward. In the case of Smash My Trash, it happened to align. I love the business model but also how quickly they were growing and understand there are going to be a lot of people who get into this. Whether they just decide, “This isn’t for me,” or the business is running its course and they’re ready to move on, I had a strong itch that it would take place over the next several years if I were to get into it.

You were right. Well done. You and I have talked a little bit about when a franchise system grows that fast by that much, there’s unfortunate carnage that happens. I don’t exactly know why companies feel like they need to grow that fast, but sometimes, they catch a wave and they go with it. Respective franchisees feel like they’ve got to get on the wave or they’re going to miss out on something.

There’s a little bit of FOMO, but maybe they don’t do their full-blown due diligence in terms of what it takes to operate this thing and make it successful. Franchise companies embrace a rapid expansion strategy and the consequences that come with that. There will likely be some. You had some insider information from, I would imagine John, who was also helping with some information.

I would echo the point that you made about franchisees having FOMO, too, because that’s been something that I’ve been able to pick up on being in proximity to a lot of franchisees who are smart. I agree with how they view a lot of things, but I try not to get too caught up into the FOMO gold rush land grab types of situations in business in general but particularly in franchising.

The opportunity is not a pie where if somebody else get it, there’s somehow less for you. There are infinite opportunities out there. I know that I would rather miss one without blocking myself into obligations that maybe I didn’t understand than to take an opportunity and have gambled some of the other upside that I would have had having not had that opportunity to do.

When you look at franchise brands that perhaps have grown in a less than responsible manner, I wanted to call that out. It doesn’t all fall in the franchise or, as franchisees, we all need to do a better job of holding franchisors to a higher standard of accountability and holding opportunities to a higher standard of diligence.

Franchise Master | Connor Groce | Franchise Acquisition

Franchise Acquisition: As franchisees and aggregate, we all need to do a better job of holding franchisors to a higher standard of accountability and to holding opportunities to a higher standard of diligence.


No doubt about it. It’s always tough when there are not a lot of franchisees in an emerging system that’s grown rapidly. There’s not a lot of baseline validation to tap into to truly get from the trenches perspective, but it’s interesting. We’re talking about not every franchise that has explosive growth creates opportunities for distressed acquisitions. Club Pilates, which John owns, whom you’re very close to, you can’t get into that system.

I’ve tried finding opportunities. People come to me and they’re like, “Can you help me find some Club Pilates to buy?” I’m like, “You can’t. They’re not for sale. It’s not happening.” The only people buying Club Pilates are other Club Pilates franchisees. It’s very hard to get into that system. They had a pretty steep trajectory of growth when they hit their stride. It’s not every franchise necessarily, just to provide some context for everybody.

The diligence is a big piece of it. An interesting thing is you had a baseline of experience to say a guy burns the candle at both ends, finishing undergraduate degree, getting a business off the ground, and running it. What were some of the things that you looked back on and were like, “For what I want from a characteristic or an aspect perspective, these are some of the things that I ideally would want in my next venture knowing what I know now?”

A couple of things. I would look closely at the industry and other players, whether it’s in the franchise space like other franchise brands in the industry or just the industry at large. Use that as a barometer for what the scalability of this business is. There is not a national player in window cleaning or in so many of these different opportunities.

Some of that may be a function of how the industry has evolved over time. It hasn’t consolidated yet, but there’s also a function when you have services that are very labor-dependent and very reliant on the owner, there can be some invisible ceilings for scalability in a business like that. It may be hard to identify from the inside. You take that and you look at a business like Trash. It used to be fragments and it still is, to some degree, but there’s been a lot of scale and a lot of consolidation in that industry.

A lot of the same headwinds in a business like when they’re cleaning are tailwinds in a business like the trash compaction or collection. I would look more closely at the industry. In terms of the franchise-specific side of things, I would pay more attention and did pay more attention at doing it over again to the validation process. If you’re conducting an interview with a potential employee, always try to picture this person in your workplace and not just analyze their confidence.

Their character is very important as well, but also the chemistry that they have amongst your team. The second time around, I put a lot more emphasis into not only wanting to understand the level of success that franchisees were having but picturing myself as a part of this community and saying, “Am I going to be a good fit?” Both of those things differently checked out with that second brand.

Labor is a big piece to an operational reality of running a business like looking at staffing components and what it takes to staff a business, especially if you want to scale it. Some businesses operate more efficiently on the labor side of things and others, which I’d imagine Smash My Trash is a pretty attractive labor model with their business.

It’s typically one guy in a truck from what I understand. It’s a drive around town smashing trash. You had great experience to look back on and put together a wish list of your next venture and some things. How did you go about creating a pipeline of potential acquisitions within the Smash My Trash system?

A couple of ways. I did have some overlap networks from the other franchise brand that I own and the franchisee-based Smash My Trash, which was very helpful. In fact, the first acquisition that ended up going through, the owner had listed and posted a listing for some other undeveloped territories that he had purchased and was trying to resell. I reached out to that and ended up finding out that he also owned and operating location that was profitable and was doing well. I ended up saying, “I’m not less interested in the developed territories, but would you be interested in selling your operating location?”

The answer was yes. Both of those help to get a foot in the door. You know better than I do that part of the value in a franchise brand is the network and the intimacy by which you get to run your business alongside other people who are doing the same thing. Once there’s a foot in the door, I feel like a lot of those conversations and those relationships start to function organically.

Part of the value of a franchise brand is the network and the intimacy by which you get to run your business alongside other people who are doing the same thing. Share on X

You worked hard to start to network. It’s not like this was to create a list and, magically, you start having conversations. You had to put some grit in to put the legwork in and do the heavy lifting to initiate the conversations. I’m sure each one started a little bit differently, but once you started working your way through the network and connecting dots, then more conversations led to one another. Did you find that there’s a particular way to approach a prospective owner about an acquisition in terms of how the conversation goes or things that you’ve picked up that worked well? Maybe some things that you try that didn’t work well. Is there any wisdom there around how to keep those conversations flowing?

As a standard practice, I do not to try to convince people to sell. Everybody’s going to have to reach that conclusion on when the time is for them on their own. If I’m having to convince somebody to sell, I know that it’s going to be very challenging for us to ever align on price in terms if I’m having to pull you one way to do that. I approach all of that from wanting to connect with people more broadly.

Particularly when you’re in a franchise system, a lot of times, I try to let the relationship develop through sharing best practices and getting to know them in their business to what’s working and what’s not working. A lot of the conversations that are around acquisitions or different opportunities are after we’ve laid that foundational level of rapport. When people reach that point on their own, then that’s when they’re likely to come back around and initiate that conversation.

It’s a big decision for any seller to sell their business. It’s not like it’s a car transaction where you meet somebody over Facebook Marketplace or take it into a dealership and sell the deal. It’s a dance and it’s a big decision. A lot of franchisees want to make sure that the new buyer is going to carry on whatever legacy they may have even if it was a short amount of time that they operated the business, where it’s going to be in good hands and they are going to be successful. From the seller’s side, it’s not a quick deal. For any franchisees out there reading who are thinking about selling for whatever reason, there are not many Connors out there, number one. Number two, its a process. It’s probably the best way to say it.

It’s also a lot more qualitative than it is quantitative. I overestimated the degree to which everyone thinks in Xs and O’s and numbers, particularly when dealing with businesses that are this small and businesses that are typically intertwined with the owner and the owner’s personal life and personal circumstances. A lot of times, and myself included in this, the way that we view the business and our future with the business is less defined by the business’s financial performance. A lot of times, it is more defined by how our own personal circumstances align with the business to a greater degree than we may think. There’s nothing that you can do to change somebody’s personal circumstances. That’s where I try not to support that.

Franchise Master | Connor Groce | Franchise Acquisition

Franchise Acquisition: The way that we view the business and our future with the business is less defined by the business’s financial performance and a lot of times more defined by how our circumstances align with the business to a greater degree.


At the end of the day, whatever the final sale price is, if you can get to an agreed-upon sale price, it’s what they’re willing to sell it for and what you’re willing to buy it for. There are general rules of thumb, but value is what somebody’s willing to pay for something or sell for something. Especially if maybe a franchise got into an explosive grow system FOMO and they get into like, “I don’t want to do this,” a lot of times, you might see some value placed on the potential the business has. When you were negotiating your deals, was your valuation close to what was being asked by the seller or was there some negotiations that had to happen?

I have not bought any franchises that were truly distressed. Certainly, there were some that were under potential and some issues, but they’ve all been profitable. They’ve all been bought for multiple earnings that is pretty standard and small business acquisitions. In some of the distressed opportunities or I’d say more distressed, even if they’re still profitable, the big thing that can be challenging and speaks to what you were talking about is that when you have a franchise brand that’s growing very rapidly.

You have so many people that have come into this system who have invested a certain amount of money that everybody can pretty much guess how much it is to start something new with no revenue and no cashflow either. That becomes the standard of, “If I’ve gotten something that has revenue and maybe has a little bit of cashflow, then I’m taking that initial investment and marking it up.” That’s not how the broader M&A world or business world works. It’s very much what’s the output of the business rather than the input. That’s something that is unique in franchising. We are so closely connected to, “What does this say in item seven?” That becomes our zero and it doesn’t work both ways.

What you said is so important to look at or anybody looking at starting a new franchise. What is the equity creation opportunity in a business? If you have to spend a bunch of money to open a location and it’s only going to cashflow on average X amount, what does the math look like on paper down the road if you ever wanted to exit it? You can do some back-of-the-napkin math to figure that out, whether you’re going to get a big premium over what you initially invested in it or not.

Whereas like some of the lower investment franchises, they don’t have a lot of overhead to start. On paper, they pencil a little bit better if they’ve proven that it can scale because you’re not into it for as much money to get it going. You get to grow it with a lot of sweat equity and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, but they might operate a little bit differently. It’s a big thing to look at, especially down the road if when you’re looking to exit.

It’s different in a business like Smash versus something in mobile services and more of the traditional senses. The trucks are expensive, but it’s a truck. If the business doesn’t work, you still have a truck there that you may not be able to sell for exactly what you bought it for, but you’re still going to be able to sell it and have something. Whereas in businesses that may have lower cost, it’s going to be very challenging if it doesn’t work out to sell and recoup any meaningful amount of value. That was another interesting part about Smash My Trash. It could be applied in a variety of different situations.

No doubt. How you funded the business was interesting. Can you talk a little bit about how you went about funding your acquisitions?

The acquisitions were funded through a credit facility that I was able to obtain through my first franchise. We were able to structure the credit facility to where it was in a holding company that also owned that first franchise and would own subsequent acquisitions as well. It allowed us to utilize the cashflow from the first franchise to service debt from future acquisitions along with the cashflow from those future data opportunities. What I like about that model is I wasn’t in a rush to exit that first franchise because you still redeploy the capital effectively elsewhere while keeping it. It was the right move for the time and it’s interesting to see that play out through multiple acquisitions now.

Did you have the holding company above that owned your Shine franchise? Was that the initial setup or did you guys go back and reconfigure some things?

We’re back and reconfigured some things. Every business is held in separate entities, but the holding company was not developed until we decided to do this acquisition model.

I’m sure there was some strategic reasons for doing that from the accounting side and whatnot but also from the lens of a bank and funding. I’m assuming you knew that was going to be important in terms of how banks were going to look at funding and getting funding for the acquisitions.

Banks are one of the things that, as I was learning about it, they’re going to look toward is they want to understand what your debt service coverage ratio is. If you have multiple businesses producing cashflow that don’t have a lot of debt on them, if you can structure the ownership to where the bank has a lien on all of it, you can utilize that cashflow to get credit towards your debt service coverage ratio and tap into more credit availability that way. It was a very interesting opportunity there.

With the banks, are they looking at the debt coverage ratios or were they all looking at you guys as operators as well?

I work with a private lender who’s very much a cashflow lender. They’re less concerned with my personal credit profile, but depending on it, I also pay a higher interest rate for that because there’s a different risk profile associated with that. Working with a more traditional bank, you’re probably going to get better terms, but they’re going to be much more interested in you and putting your house, your dog, and your kids as collateral and everything else. It’s a different approach.

Do you mind me asking how you found the private lender? I’m sure there’s some people who are interested in your story and how you’ve gone about doing what you’re doing like personal network or friend of a friend.

Personal network. Credit investing is a very interesting opportunity for people who are seeking cashflow. They’re seeking something that’s a little bit less volatile than equity opportunity. You find people that are interested in lending. It can be a win-win for everybody because you’re getting, a lot of times, more flexibility. You’re getting the ability to draw up terms to fit more of your strategy of what you want to approach things with. The lender, if you’re willing to pay for it, can get an excellent return on their money as well. I’m a big fan of credit strategies.

Credit investing is a very interesting opportunity for people who are seeking cash flow. Share on X

You see an opportunity within franchising on a larger scale. It institutionalized that model in a way. We’ve organized that model in a way. We’re matching up investors with operators.

I feel very strongly about that because looking at myself and what it’s done for me early in my career, none of that would have happened if I had not been in a position to partner with the people who had the money and had to know how. All I had was time and the ability to execute. It ended up working out well.

To people who are out there in my situation where we may not know exactly what we want to do in our career, we know we want to do something that’s entrepreneurial. We know we want to defer short-term earning potential for long-term value-building potential. If I could do it ever again, I would have done it the same way like going out and partnering with somebody who can complement me for what I don’t have and making it a mutually beneficial partnership.

Let me ask you this, under that model of working with a private lender and investing in an operator to put in the blood, sweat, and tears to build a franchise, do you think there are more operators out there that could be fit for that or more people with money? Maybe both. I’m interested in what your take would be on. If I’m the money guy, how do I go about finding these operators? What do you think of the landscape around those two people involved in that model that you shared?

It’s an interesting question. It’s challenging to tell because you have a lot of people with operational potential who may not realize it. For example, I would have never done what I did if I had not been in the proximity of franchisees and even known that there was an opportunity out there in franchising. If you’re not there and you’re in the ecosystem, you’re going to go to college, you’re going to get a job, work for many years, and then maybe you start thinking about owning a business.

There are a lot of people who are following that path and many of whom should do that. I don’t know how to bifurcate that between who has the capacity and who is going to do that. On the money side, things are interesting because money is certainly infinite. There is certainly more money out there to be deployed into good opportunities.

When you’re investing in something like a franchise, even if you have an operating partner, you do need to be, in my opinion, in most situations, getting more than money, meaning that even if you’re not doing the work yourself, you are providing some strategic insight and counsel to a young operator. It’s more leverage on time, but time certainly is not infinite. That may not answer your question.

You provide a lot of insight into that idea because if you’re a money guy or gal, it’s not just about the numbers. You’re getting into a franchise. It’s a living and breathing thing that needs tender love and care in order to make it successful. It’s not like you’re putting money into a real estate deal, a syndication, or the stock market. It’s a completely different thing, but the returns could be better. Probably a little bit more equity creation opportunity too. Not just the cashflow or the cash-on-cash returns. It’s hard to find you. If you can skin that cat somehow of cultivating this network of people that would be amazing operators in certain types of franchises, the money piece would be the easy part to skin.

It’s something that, as an industry, we should be doing a better job at that and promoting the opportunity that exists in franchising. Not just as an investment opportunity but as an interesting career move. By the way, I don’t mean to talk about working for a company for many years and owning a business as a bad thing. That’s a great path and I’m thrilled for the people that do it, but that wasn’t the path for me. If there’s a way to get the word out where this is a great opportunity to get your feet wet, business ownership to build value, and to learn lessons that you can take in whatever direction you want to, we as an industry need to do that.

Franchise Master | Connor Groce | Franchise Acquisition

Franchise Acquisition: We should be doing a better job at that and promoting the opportunity that exists in franchising not just as an investment opportunity but as a really interesting career move.


I’m with you. You had a good vantage point with being close to some franchisees, a very successful franchise system, and great operators who have scaled it. For anybody reading that’s interested in this model, don’t reach out to me because I’m not helping you find money in this thing. Maybe reach out to Connor. I’ll let him answer that question. If you take the elements of this thing, go find some mentors who are already in the franchise space.

Typically, once you start asking the question, there are not that many degrees of separation toward getting connected with some successful multi-unit franchise owners who probably have capital ready. They’re looking to diversify some investments. It’s going to take some grit and some networking if you don’t have those relationships open to you already, but it’s very possible.

I 100% agree. I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by people who are a lot years ahead of me professionally and financially with regard to personal wisdom. I would apply a lot of the credit there to just the framework that franchising has given me and to be in proximity to smart people. I also think that, in general, just me as a young person, it is incredible how willing people are to help if you ask. If I were myself years ago, I would put a higher emphasis on being very intentional about asking people to share their wisdom because people are willing to do it.

Be very intentional about asking for people to share their wisdom because people are willing to do it. Share on X

One of the least talked about benefits of getting into franchising is the community. There’s the community within the franchise system that you’re a part of with other franchisees who might be a couple of years ahead of you in terms of how big of a business they built. It’s very wise to build relationships with those folks and they’re typically very willing to share. Not just franchisees within the same system like franchisees of other systems that have been successful.

If you ask, the franchise community is very willing to share and help. You got to ask. It’s one of the coolest things. I don’t know if it’s in every industry because I haven’t been in many other industries. I haven’t been in any other industries. It’s one of the most powerful things that if you’re intentional about, it can help you create success and happiness.

It’s also cool to think about, “What connection do I have as a Smash My Trash franchisee with the Dunkin Donuts franchisee?” It’s like we’re running completely different businesses, yet if I go meet somebody who owns a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise, franchising still provides us some level of alignment to where we connect in some way. I’ve always thought it’s cool how franchising can provide that alignment and framework with people whom otherwise you would not feel that connected to.

It’s pretty cool. Back to you, what are the grand plans that you have as you are operating your Smash My Trash acquisitions? What’s the grand plan?

It’s a grand plan that changes every time. I can’t tell you what the grand plan is, but I view franchising as my long-term professional home. I’m very excited to see what happens in the industry and I’m always going to be looking for opportunities both as a franchisee, which I plan to. I view being a franchisee as my long-term plan for wealth creation.

I firmly believe that franchise ownership and entrepreneurship through acquisitions are some of the best opportunities that people have. The interesting ways that franchising and acquisition entrepreneurship overlap are interesting as well. Personally, I’m also exploring. I have this itch to help people get into the industry in some capacity like I was about how there’s no way that I would have gotten started in franchising as young as I was if I had not been in those circles.

Franchise Master | Connor Groce | Franchise Acquisition

Franchise Acquisition: Franchise ownership and entrepreneurship through acquisitions are some of the best opportunities that people have right now.


I want to also find opportunities for myself to where I can bring those circles out there and help people who may not have considered franchising as a career opportunity in their younger years, at the very least, put that on people’s radar and let them make the decision for this themselves. We’ll see what the grand plan is. I don’t know, but you’ll be the first to know once I do.

You took the road less traveled and made the decision as an undergrad. Who knows what we want to do when we grow up as an undergrad? I appreciate you coming on, sharing your story, and being pretty candid about the tactical aspects that have gone into it. You have an opportunity to impact a lot of people through that. I’m going to ask you this. Do you want people to reach out to you about any of this stuff? For people who might be reading, is there a better place for them to go? I don’t want you to have to spin your wheels too much if you don’t want to.

I love talking with anybody who’s in franchising or who’s interested in getting into franchising. If I can be of value, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Call Connor. If people want to get in touch with you, Connor, how can they do that?

I’ll give you my email and that’s certainly one way. I’m on Twitter at @ConnorGroce and LinkedIn as well, whatever is convenient.

Do you have any final thoughts or words of wisdom? Is there anything you want to about that we didn’t talk about before we wrap it up?

Nothing in particular rather than to say this. Dru, I thank you. You’re somebody that I’ve certainly paid attention to the last few years and learned more about franchising. I am also thankful that it’s you and folks like you who cultivate the community that we spoke of and make the industry what it is, which is something special. I’m excited to build a career in something that is as special as franchising is. Thank you for that.

I appreciate that. It means a lot. Connor, it’s been a pleasure. I’ll let you roll. Have fun in Park City and I know we’re going to stay in touch.

Certainly. Take care, Dru.


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The First Step is a Conversation

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After we speak, we’ll be able to figure out if there is a good fit to work together.