ZOOM DRAIN, the drain- and sewer-cleaning experts, celebrates the accomplishment of its North Jersey franchise location as it saw nearly $1 million in revenue in its first year. David Melms, Billy Oriani and Tony Gomes are the ZOOM Drain franchise partners taking care of the drain-cleaning needs of homeowners and business owners in northern New Jersey — Hudson, Bergen, Essex and Passaic counties.
Melms is no stranger to the plumbing industry — he started sweeping floors and doing odd jobs at his family’s plumbing business when he was 10 years old. By the time he got his plumber’s license, moved up in the firm and started his own family, he was looking for a different business opportunity for the family to invest in.
“My nephew Billy and I went to a ZOOM Drain Discovery Day to understand the ZOOM business, and we were thoroughly impressed,” Melms said.
Wanting to invest in the franchise but knowing they couldn’t manage it with their other family obligations, they tapped Gomes, who is Melms’ brother-in-law, to run the day-to-day operations for them.
“What we liked about ZOOM was the organization, the structure, the manuals, the support that we got from Ellen [Rohr] and Jim [Criniti],” Melms noted. “It brought to the table everything that we wanted to do to our existing family company. I wouldn’t say it was easy, but it was easier. You had a structure to work from.”
That was near the end of 2018. ZOOM Drain North Jersey (Clifton, New Jersey) opened its doors Dec. 3, 2018. By the end of 2019, the franchise had brought in $960,000 in sales revenue. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, the company was on track to take in $1.5 million.
“Business has been a little up and down,” Melms said. “Much of our commercial work has slowed down tremendously, but we've seen a big uptick in residential work. We see a little decline in our numbers, but we haven't had to lay anybody off.”
He added that the franchise did get funding from the federal Payroll Protection Program, which gave them about eight weeks of payroll. “The processes and procedures from ZOOM Drain absolutely helped us stay resilient during this crisis,” Melms stated.
Besides Gomes, ZOOM Drain North Jersey has four technicians and one other person in the office. The fleet includes three ZOOM-branded trucks and one small service van. Melms said the company plans to add a fourth ZOOM truck by this summer and two more by the end of 2021.
As Melms and his partners learned the “ZOOM way,” he and Oriani began to slowly incorporate many of the methods and processes into the existing family business.
“For me, one of the upticks is the family-friendly atmosphere,” Melms said. “Ellen is wonderful, Jim is excellent. We've established friendships with those in corporate, as well as other franchisees. Joining ZOOM Drain opened up the door to create these opportunities for long-lasting relationships.”
ZOOM DRAIN can guide franchisees through the maze of business development, sales and marketing (residential and commercial), fleet and warehouse, acquisition strategy, customer service, employee documentation, human resources and recruiting, training, and apprenticeships.
Additional ZOOM DRAIN locations include Orange County (Irvine), California; Sacramento, California; Central Florida (Leesburg); Chicago; New England (Westbrook, Maine); Baltimore; Omaha, Nebraska; Southern New Jersey (West Deptford); Long Island, New York, (Bohemia); Rochester, New York; Charlotte, North Carolina.; Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Norristown and Allentown/Bethlehem); Salt Lake City; and Seattle.