Calvin McNeely, CEO and co-owner of the Runningboards Marketing franchise, has owned over 30 companies, mainly in the government contracting space related to airports. In 2016, he decided to retire from that field in hopes of starting a business that made a difference in people’s lives. By Nancy E. Williams
Calvin McNeely, CEO and co-owner of the Runningboards Marketing franchise, has owned over 30 companies, mainly in the government contracting space related to airports. In 2016, he decided to retire from that field in hopes of starting a business that made a difference in people’s lives.
In 2017, he saw a digital mobile billboard truck online and never looked back. “When I saw that online, I knew that this was the business for me,” said McNeely. “I immediately called Zach Yelle, who I had met through church and had previously done business with, and asked him if he would be my partner. Zach had the skills I lacked – electronics, video, and computers.”
After meeting with Yelle and creating a business plan, McNeely joked that they could not find anything to talk themselves out of it. In January 2018, the partners formed Runningboards Marketing. After finding someone to build their first truck and within the first few months of receiving the vehicle, they knew they had created something special. Today they build the vehicles themselves in the corporate facility in Watertown, New York.
But it wasn’t just about the digital advertising vehicle (DAV®). “I spent most of my life on the road. We wanted this business to be community-based. Most of these types of businesses have multiple trucks that cater to large, well-known brands and drive from city to city advertising. Our model allows an owner to stay within their community, leveraging our recurring revenue subscription to build the business,” explained McNeely. This allows owners to stay local and have a sense of security with the business.
In early 2019, the Runningboards team decided to franchise their unique concept, which includes their proprietary software, RBM Velocity. They sold their first two franchises right after the pandemic hit in 2020 and closed four more in the fall of 2020. So far, in 2021, they have sold 10. “It’s taken more energy, capital and time than we expected, but you have to believe in yourself and what you’re doing,” said McNeely.
To learn more about Runningboards Marketing, visit rbm-franchise.com.
– Nancy E. Williams