Emerging recruiting franchise CPG is on the cusp of major franchise growth. 1851 spoke to CEO and founder Christian Saab to learn more about the brand’s history, what sets it apart and how it is growing.
1851 Franchise: Tell us about the history and founding of CPG.
Christian Saab: My Middle Eastern family wanted me to get a good corporate job, and I did everything I was “supposed” to do — working as an engineer at Chrysler. However, I eventually decided to start my own mobile detailing business, which I was able to do part time without quitting my job. I wanted to prove to myself that I could be a good business owner, build it up and sell within five years. During my time there, I began looking for my forever business. Many of my customers were successful business owners. I would always ask them the same three questions: “How does the money flow in your business model,” “Why do you enjoy doing what you are doing” and “What is the worst part of the business?” Eventually, this led me to discover what was plaguing every business owner across all industries: people and employees. In any industry, of any size, anywhere in the world, the biggest headache is always finding the right people. I thought that if I could solve that issue, I would never run out of work. That’s how I discovered the recruiting world. With today’s staffing shortages, demand is even higher, but it is always a thing. It’s a recession-proof industry.
During this time, I met a successful businessman, Chuck Lavin, and washed his car every Friday. He became a friend and business mentor over four years. When I had an idea I was confident in, I proposed it to him and sold him on a partnership. We started off with a software to train people in the staffing world, but then we found a niche with being a problem solving recruitment company. I asked for $75,000 to start CPG with, and CPG was born. Lavin is currently a business partner with CPG.
I created CPG to specialize in finding and solving the root cause problems of recruiting, onboarding, training, and employee retention for industry-leading businesses. We offer a full suite of back office support, including a CRM lead generator tool, cloud-based operating procedures, automated billing, client agreements and more.
1851: What void does CPG fill? What was missing in the space before, and how were you able to identify that void?
Saab: As someone coming into the industry with a fresh set of eyes, I realized the only way to differentiate was to do things differently. Find out what most of them are doing wrong, and do the opposite. Unlike other staffing companies, CPG is selling a lifestyle. For me, I wanted to be part of a business that was a necessity, not a luxury. I also wanted a high ticket item and high volume customers, along with a scalable model that didn’t tie me down to a specific geographic location.
What sets us apart is that we only text and call clients; we refuse to email. We are also available 24/7. Another big key is listening to each client’s individual needs. Instead of just doing the same thing over and over, it is important to listen to what the customer wants and understand what they need. CPG specializes in finding and solving the root cause problems of recruiting, onboarding, training and employee retention for industry-leading businesses. We offer a 360º approach for clients. This includes not only finding the right people, but retaining them.
During onboarding, I find out everything about the business, really get a feel for the working environment, and dive into current problems. Then I jump into my own research — talking to recruiters, doing research, etc. We have all the tools that can tell us the likelihood of us filling a position. We are honest with clients about the timeline. People don’t want to be surprised. We don’t want to over-sell. Guide the client every step of the way.
1851: What are you doing well right now? What are your brand differentiators?
Saab: I've worked with hundreds of business owners over the years and have learned their pain points. I've used that insight to create a high-touch, boutique staffing company. We have a 360º culture that aims to be a full-service consulting partner for our clients. We are not a temporary contract firm. We have a direct placement model. I simply introduce the employee and the client hires them. After one month of work, I get a one-time check. Usually, staffing is very transactional. For us, everyone has a name. We are giving people careers. This is a very vulnerable time for people, so we are determined to create long-lasting relationships.
For franchisees, though competitors have a similar franchise fee to us, all the other competitors are the traditional staging model with contracting. This is high risk because customers are expecting because you have to front the payroll and wait 30 days to get paid by the client. CPG doesn't work that way. At other brands you may need close to $200,000 and they require you to get an office and have a certain number of employees. CPG has a low franchise fee and does not tie you down to an office or location.
1851: What are your growth goals?
Saab: I hope to have 20 units sold by the end of the year, with a long-term goal of one day having over 1,000 locations.
1851: What were some learning opportunities that CPG leveraged to get where it is now?
Saab: Our philosophy from day one has always been to fix the customer’s problem. If we do that, we will never run out of customers. That really got us to where we are today. Every system, process and procedure we have was built around that concept. Customer satisfaction is number one.
I have also learned that I only need two positions to run this business: client acquisition and recruiter. If I need to copy and paste the model into another market, that is all I need. One day I want to have 1,000 locations like most big staffing companies. But the difference is those are all corporate-owned, not many are franchises. If they are owned by a local, dedicated owner, I have a better chance at quality and can build a better brand name across the country.
1851: What are some of CPG’s most important milestones over the past five years?
Saab: Over the last two years I have been focused on franchising. April of 2022 is when we launched, and we sold our first location a week after. Four locations were sold in the first week of June. Since then, we have slowed down to make sure everything is smooth for those first few owners. In less than six months, every location had their money back and had already hired their first round of staff. They are already profiting. And that is when I had the confidence to move forward with franchising.
1851: What does your ideal franchisee look like in terms of how they run their business, what personal traits they have, what prior business experience they can claim, etc.?
Saab: They don't necessarily need to be someone with past recruiting experience, but finding those passionate about the industry and the clients is key. Although this is a market where everyone needs help, I wanted to make sure that this business gave me the life that I wanted to have. If everyone has a personal life they want to achieve, it’s what matters to us that most. Your work is the tool to give you the ability to live your life. I really focus on building my work around my life.
Franchisees should want to be part of a business that is an absolute necessity, not a luxury. This is a stable business with a high ticket item in the thousands, not the hundreds, with a high level of clientele and residual income. The model also doesn’t tie franchisees down to a specific city or country.
1851: What does an ideal franchisee look like? Are they semi-absentees? Are they a passive investor or an active owner-operator?
Saab: They must want to be an owner operator. This isn't the kind of business where you can set it up and not be involved, it's a highly relational business. CPG is looking for those who have a huge vision for the lifestyle they want to live and the type of work they want to do.
1851: How does CPG support franchisees?
Saab: With us, franchisees are joining a smaller, family-oriented franchise. We give flexibility for you to build a business around your lifestyle. You are not territory driven and you will not have a bunch of overhead right at the start.
What we are selling here is really our team. We are here to make you feel not alone and give you clarity on how to build a business that matches your lifestyle. It all comes back to what you want and how you want to live. We are selling freedom — CPG is a tool to make you money at the end of the day.
The total initial investment necessary to start a CPG franchise ranges from $50,000-$75,000, including a $50,000 franchise fee. For more information on franchising with CPG, visit https://www.cpgincorporated.com/.