Compatibility is number one when it comes to potential franchisees for Showhomes.
Showhomes wants its franchisees to feel at home and like one of the family when they are brought on board.
Rather than focusing development philosophy on how it can sell its business idea, Showhomes zeroes in on finding potential buyers that are the right fit and will be successful with the home-staging brand.
For Matt Kelton, COO of Showhomes, franchising runs in his blood. After graduating from college, he was ready to head off to law school. But his grandparents and parents were franchisors and convinced him to take the money they were going to give him for law school to buy his first franchise. Years later, when he came across Showhomes as a consultant, he decided to work for the franchise full-time. Kelton understands the importance of franchisees feeling they are part of a network trying to accomplish the same end goal.
Getting rid of the old “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” method, Kelton says that the new direction the brand is taking is to focus more on compatibility of potential franchisees for future development. Besides their financial capability and having the right skill set, potential franchisees must fit in with the “unique culture” because Showhomes prides itself on its tight-knit environment.
Skipping the traditional Discovery Day, potential Showhomes franchisees need to see it to believe it. Kelton explains that the business is a very visual concept and meeting the people behind the business is key to determining whether or not a buyer will be a good fit. Seeing home staging can create a vision and can provide a more emotional connection for franchisees, just as with a potential home buyer.
“We are looking for extroverted people who can build relationships,” says Kelton.
2015 has been a record year for Showhomes revenue, but in terms of development Kelton says this year was a transitional one. As COO, he is planning for more development in 2016, hoping to open 20 franchises after celebrating the business’s 30-year anniversary in January. Affluent suburbs are the typical target markets, and Showhomes is looking to find success in southeast Florida, Los Angeles County, Northern California and St. Louis next year.
How does Showhomes support franchisees once they have bought in? New franchisees have access to a mentor program and there's total transparency.
“People are passionate about our brand. I haven’t seen this at other franchises. There’s a feeling of satisfaction from helping a homeowner; it’s one of the most stressful times in a person’s life,” says Kelton.