Slidell, La. Franchisee Trent Carlos has come a long way since he got into the Filta Environmental Kitchen Solutions franchise system in 2016. Just ask him. In November of that year, as Carlos was onboarding in our Orlando, Fla. Headquarters, he had to cut his training short to rush home and prep for a major incoming hurricane.
Four years later almost to the day, 2020 has handed him seven hurricanes, including one that ripped the roof off his house, and a whole host of other challenges. Yet he’s managed to expand his territory recently, has weathered 2020’s COVID setbacks, had his best month ever this year in October, and is on track to add to his fleet of mobile filtration vans yet again this January.”
So how, when Mother Nature dishes up lemons, can Trent Carlos keep squeezing the proverbial lemonade?
“You’d be hard pressed to find someone more positive and driven than Trent,” said Adam Blake, Filta’s VP of franchise development. “He’s really a force of nature.” Yet if you ask Carlos, he just loves to educate customers about just how well Filta can help improve their business by making kitchens safer, more efficient and more sustainable.
“I’m a people person and love to drive sales,” Carlos said. “That first week around Thanksgiving 2016, I went from zero to 10 customers and thought I had made it. I’m just really competitive and went out there, made appointments, got to know and educated prospects who became customers. Those first couple of months were definitely a little challenging, picking up one or two customers a week, but I remember celebrating when I was ranked at 75th out of about 150 franchisees the next year.”
Just last month in October, Carlos racked up his best month ever and was ranked 3rd overall in the system for FiltaFry, our system’s core cooking oil micro filtration service.
Carlos came to Filta when he retired from a 16-year career as a district manager for Lowe’s. After a steep learning curve that first year servicing Slidell’s restaurants and a few hospitals, Carlos was able to expand his territory into Northern Slidell and Jackson, Miss. Selling less and getting more referrals, Carlos saw a 440% increase from 2018 to 2019, and was able to buy up three more territories, moving south into New Orleans and expanding his fleet to five vans.
Next month, he’ll add a sixth van and bring his employee count to 12. This steep but steady positive business growth may seem remarkable for this particular time of COVID uncertainty. Carlos certainly realized a dip in the spring of 2020, but by following the Filta system and working hard no matter the circumstances, his business rebounding and continued to thrive. His client roster still includes many of those original restaurant concepts from 2016, but he also services much bigger accounts like the Superdome, Mississippi State and a myriad of high schools, colleges, nursing homes and hospitals.
Overcoming COVID-19 and Hurricanes
“When COVID hit, there was a period of uncertainty. It was right at the end of school, so things were winding down anyway, but also some restaurants just hit pause,” Carlos said. “But for us, it picked right up to 50% after 30 days, then to 60% and on up. Instead of servicing colleges two times a week, we cut back to a single service. But because I’m so widespread, I was able to stay stable and, honestly, October was my best month ever.”
And the hurricanes?
“They hurt you if you allow them to hurt you,” he said. “We watch the storms carefully and if it’s going to hit at 5 p.m., I get my guys off the road by noon. You double up and get all the work front loaded, then you back load the jobs when the storm is over.”
It doesn’t hurt that Trent Carlos also makes time to balance both work and his personal life. He’s an avid outdoorsman and loves to fish, cook and eat. He has traveled the world – Thailand, Costa Rica, Bermuda, Mexico – often with his son who has now enlisted in the Army. He merges family time with work and when he makes the trek to pick up a new Filta van, his son is his road trip buddy.
“You get a good reputation and business continues to grow if you do the right thing and just make it happen,” Carlos said.
If you’d like to learn more about our family-friendly franchise, feel free to get in touch with a member of our team today.