At Local Fame we are passionate about online marketing for franchises and that is why we decided to help potential franchisees with useful information before they take the leap. Are you an entrepreneur that wants to know what is like to be in a franchise? We have asked prominent franchisees to share their experience. Learn the pros and cons of buying a franchise from this overview.
Jaime Kulaga - Two Maids & A Mop
What was the biggest obstacle you had to face?
I had to give up some business control to merge into the franchise. Systems are in place in franchise for a reason, if you are coming in ‘brand new’ with fabulous ideas that have never been proven or if you want to put your own spin on franchise, franchising is not for you.
PROS of owning a franchise:
- You already have systems and policies in place that are proven to be successful.
- You have support from other franchisees as well as corporate leaders.
The support really helped Jaime. As a small business start-up, she was working 80 hours a week trying to get it all done, but she found she wasn’t able to complete a lot of things, because of getting pulled in so many directions. She had no support. CONS of owning a franchise
- You do need to give up some of your “big ideas” in order to follow the model.
Jaime Kulaga of Tampa operated her own home cleaning business for 2 years. She was working non-stop and could never get her head above water. One day a business partner suggested a Two Maids and a Mop franchise. Jaime says the first thought to come to her mind: absolutely not! She wasn’t giving up her dream, BUT her partner said just think about. So, Jaime, she approached the thought process by way of a 3 step concept that she learned while getting her PhD in Psychology: Retreat, Rethink, React
- Retreat: I looked back at the last 2 years of my life and I realized how I had been putting my family (husband, 2 young sons) through the ringer. I never saw them, I was taking on things I should have never started, I had no work-life balance. It was so crazy, I declared my daily car time, my cry time.”
- Rethink: I analyzed every aspect of owning my own business. During this time, I saw a post on Facebook that said ‘your ego is not your amigo’. I realized this franchise opportunity was a blessing, I told myself you can have work/life balance, you can be a great mom, again. I knew I needed to put my ego aside, everything I had been working for on my own was about to be handed to me.
- React: My reaction was ‘LET’S DO IT.’ I would finally have the policies, the systems I struggled to create, I would no longer need to market like crazy and drag my family through the ringer every day.
LOOKING BACK: I was getting to the point of such burnout, even if the backers kept investing money into my own business, I would have given up.” NOW: It was a great decision for me. I gets nights off, weekends off, all of our marketing is done for me, our entire family is so happy, we just bought our dream home, my kids finally each have their own bedrooms. This was a great decision for me.
Cliff Clark - Discovery Point
At Discovery Point, we are very intentional about having our training staff featured as part of a Discovery Day with a potential franchisee. Our intensive four week new owner training program is a feature unique to Discovery Point and it is reassuring to a prospective buyer to know that we have experience and expertise to support a new business owner. While our training covers all aspects of business operations and best practices in childcare, it also is a critical time to lay the foundation for the franchisor/franchisee relationship. It is this relationship that we really explore with every potential franchisee, so that they have a true picture of not only our brand, but of the people we have in place to move that vision forward with a new owner.
Tom Scarda - Founder of The Franchise Academy
The pros of franchising are enormous. It's a business with training wheels. The franchise has been successful for many years and has made people wealthy and successful. The path is laid out and the franchisee just has to plug into the system and execute. Probably, the biggest downside to a franchise is that you have to pay for the help via royalties. But I call it tuition. Many people are willing to pay hundreds of thousands for college with no clear cut road to a future of success. With a franchise you have a plan laid out in front of you. It's not easy but nothing that is worthwhile in life is easy, right? Also, there are rules to follow, which some would not like. If someone does not like to follow rules which ultimately protects the equity of the brand, franchising is not for them.
So why do people fail in franchising. It's complicated but to simplify the answer, the franchisee either got involved with a bad franchise concept that had no idea how to support their units or they just choose the wrong concept for the wrong reasons. Franchising and royalties A franchise is a business with training wheels. It’s buying a blueprint that you follow to success. There are pros and cons to franchising and the royalty structure in a franchise is both a pro and a con. A royalty in franchising is a predetermined amount of money, usually a percentage of the gross income, which is paid back to the franchise parent company for rights to the system. Additionally royalties pay for a list of other support mechanisms such as advertising, public relations, research and development and a website with it’s optimization and upkeep, to mention a few items. Some people suggest that royalties are a negative in franchising. However, many franchise owners contribute their success to the royalty system. It makes for a symbiotic relationship between franchisee and franchisor. That means; the more the franchisee makes the more the parent company makes so it behooves the parent to support the franchisee so they both make money and are successful.
Franchising is not for everyone. If you “don’t play well with others” or are a renegade, franchising is probably not for you. However, if you are making the transition from employee to employer, and have never owned and operated your own business, it’s great to have a system behind you to coach you along the way. Typically, a great franchise system will help you to work on the business and not in the business. In other words, if you’re a great baker and open a bakery, chances are you’ll always be baking and not running and expanding your business. The result is that you’ll hit a plateau and get burned out or you’ll close up shop. A franchise will help you be a business owner, not a baker, as it were. You will learn how to be a CEO and run an operation and not be the person doing the tasks. It’s a different mindset but one that is hugely successful. This mindset gives the franchise owner a work/life balance and not a feeling of being married to the business 24 hours per day.
I consider franchise fees and royalties as tuition. Statistics show that mom and pop businesses have a very slight chance of success as opposed to franchises that have an overwhelming high success rate. That is only because there is a system in place and decades of experience at the franchisor's home office. Royalties can be considered hiring a back office team to support your endeavor.
Jonathan Fornaci - TruFusion
5 ways to determine if it’s time to franchise your business:
- Have a strong knowledge of the market. To know if your idea is worth franchising, you have to have a solid grasp on the industry, markets of focus and why your concept could fit in.
- You have support from other franchisees as well as corporate leaders.
- Make sure you have a strong corporate team. Before franchising, you have to consider whether your team will be able to take on the additional responsibility. If not, it might be time to bring in a franchise consultant or someone who knows the intricacies of operated a franchise business.
- Determine what differentiates you from the competition. How is your business unique? Does it offer something that the competition doesn’t? If you can figure out what you can offer that the competition cannot, it will make your job that much easier. It will allow you to create a strong barrier to entry and offer you a competitive advantage. Maybe your unique qualities aren’t the product, it’s the people. Perhaps your differentiator is based on the very fact that you have a human element that cannot be duplicated because as a franchisor, you invest in training and building up your team. Your outreach to potential franchisees will be successful and your marketing focus will be clear.
- Ask yourself if franchisees will be able to meet your standards for operation. Will your franchisees be able to run this business smoothly? As owners of their location, how much leeway will they have? Will it be possible for them to achieve the same excellence you have with your current location?
Brandy and Wade Andersen - CARING SENIOR SERVICE
The biggest obstacle we have run into in our market is the advertising costs... We have learned that at the end of the day, face to face marketing is the key for obtaining referral sources. Building trusting relationships is what any business needs for great success. We believe so highly in our franchise model, it makes presenting our services easy. Pros: Great support and resources from our corporate office. They provide us with a team attitude and encouragement. Overall, owning a franchise is a learning experience that allows us as owners, and our employees to implement our skills and talents within our industry. Cons: It's competitive out there! Make sure you have finances to back your personal and professional responsibilities. I refer this to a con for obvious reasons.
Would you like to share more about the support you get from the corporate office? The support that we receive from our corporate office is unparalleled. From the beginning of researching , purchasing and now in full operations the corporate office have offered complete support. We have weekly calls for updates, advice, and reporting. They focus on marketing strategies to help build the business and offer ongoing weekly marketing tools, staying up to date with inventive processes. We have 24/7 support and availability from one or more members of our corporate team. They are empowering, encouraging and embrace our successes along with us. Our CEO Jeff Salter is readily available to assist at any time and actively teaches, coaches and assists his franchise owners .
Do you think working relationships in a franchise are better than those in a regular company? The working relationships in a franchise are very different from other business models. I can only compare it to being a part of a huge family. Everyone that is part of Caring Senior Service wants to provide great care to our clients and communities. No matter the role with Caring Senior Service, at the end of the day we are all striving for the same goal. Kindness, compassion, love and respect are the keys to having a great team. After being a care manager, administrator and now owner... These values are what brought me back to Caring Senior Service, purchasing a Caring Senior Service franchise here in Utah.
Bryan Weinstein - Bar-B-Clean
Why Bryan Weinstein Built a Franchise SystemCalifornia native Bryan Weinstein is the founder and CEO of Bar-B-Clean and an experienced leader in the grilling industry. A true entrepreneur at heart, he has held a 9-5 corporate job and also been a franchisee in an existing system. He recently decided it was time to live his dream and create his own franchise. This is his story.
The VisionIn 2011, after finding a rodent living in his frequently used grill, Bryan started wondering if his love for outdoor cooking was actually an unhealthy passion. As he probed a bit further, he learned that grillers everywhere are often cleaning up dead, rotted rat carcasses, handfuls of animal poop and cancerous chemicals. Naturally, he looked into the process of properly cleaning a grill, and realized that the task was quite labor intensive which created a problem that most people wouldn't or simply couldn't take on themselves. And so Bryan created Bar-B-Clean, a franchise organization that will do your dirty work ranging from rodent removal, bbq cleaning, part replacement and more. Since it’s inception, Bar-B-Clean has grown to more than 20 locations spread across seven states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. Bryan is dedicated to the success of his franchise system and often spends his days supporting existing franchisees or investing time in potential new franchisees.
What’s Behind the MotivationFor Bryan, Bar-B-Clean is his baby. This is something he started from scratch and plans on holding onto it for a long time. A lot of people grow a business and sell it, and that’s not where Bryan’s head is at. With an 11 year old daughter and an 8 year old son, he would love to grow this to a point where they can step in and continue with the business. He thinks that would be amazing for his family and kids. Additionally, he has a responsibility to the 10 franchisees working for him. They came on board because they trusted him and the concept he created. He can’t let them down and he’s determined not to.
What to Look for in FranchiseesWhen asked what he looks for in a potential franchisee, Weinstein responds that it is business minded professionals that want to take this blue collar activity and turn it into a business. Whether that means they personally take the reins and start cleaning to learn the business or they want to jump in and hire straight of the top, that can be done as well. Either way, I’m looking for individuals that are driven, ambitious, self-motivated and love people. In the service business, the ability to relate to and interact with people is an absolute must and critical factor to success.
A Leg Up as Franchisor
In addition to his work at Bar-B-Clean, Bryan is also the owner-operator of Soccer Shots in, South Orange County, a business that introduces and teaches soccer to preschool aged children. Soccer Shots is consistently recognized by Entrepreneur magazine as the #1 Children’s Fitness Franchise in the U.S. He bought his first territory in 2009, and expanded into a second location. He’s since sold his first, and still continues to be a franchisee with one territory. Being involved with Soccer Shots has him a lot of ideas and continues to do so. He’s a firm believer that being a franchisee in the system gives him a leg up as franchisor. Involved in both, he can easily see what works well and how to incorporate successful ideas into his own system while contributing organic thoughts and concepts.
A Word from the Wise for Aspiring EntrepreneursIt’s common knowledge that the harder you work, the more successful you’ll be as long as you have a great product or service to pitch. “Take a leap. That’s the hardest thing to do. People are scared of jumping in and failing. That can’t be a thought that crosses your mind. If you have a product or service you think is good, jump in with two feet. The benefits and the rewards are there as long as you take that first step,” Weinstein said. “If you have a great idea, work your butt off, and tell the world about it.”