Footprints Floors CEO & Founder Bryan Park highlights the home service franchise’s key differentiators in flooring space.
1851: What void does your brand fill? What was missing in the space before? How was it identified? What inspired you to start?
Park: After I worked in the Air Force, I moved with my wife to Littleton, Colorado, about 35 minutes outside of Denver. We had a toddler and several puppies and one night we came back from dinner and they had ripped up the floor. We hired a flooring company to come in and replace it with hardwood and I started talking with the contractor doing the installation, asking about the industry and earnings. Later, I called his boss to ask if they hired and got a job, then quickly moved into sales.
I worked for that company for about three years. In 2008, that company stopped paying all of their people when the recession hit. I went about six months without a paycheck; they owed me about $35,000 in W-2 pay. They sat us down and told us, ‘Hey, sorry, but we’re not gonna pay you.’ So I was forced to make a change. I enjoyed flooring and I knew how to do it, and I knew the industry would benefit from a more sophisticated approach and higher level of customer service. November of 2008 wasn’t exactly the best time to start a construction company, but I had faith we could succeed. I started Footprints Floors, and the name is based on a Christian poem, “Footprints in the Sand.”
Definitely during those first few months, we didn’t do any projects for the first 60 days. My brother-in-law and father-in-law were walking around putting flyers on doors in December and January and we just kept hustling. Then in February we landed our first job. Soon, we got another project, turned on marketing efforts, then got another project. At that point, I was still doing all the floors myself. But we ultimately were so successful during our first six months, I was able to add project crews.
At around the eight-month mark, we were up to five to six jobs a day. I ended up doing $600,000 my first year, most of which I did myself. That first year was was six-and-a-half days a week, 12- to 14-hour days, while my wife balanced two babies and made calls and our website also. But we made it. That was the beginning of Footprints Floors.
1851: What are the brand’s key differentiators that make it stand out in the industry?
Park: We brought an intelligent white collar perspective to an industry that’s been historically blue collar. The flooring industry has really been an industry of old-school guys who didn’t market or use computers, so as a whole, it was lagging behind the times. We’re really on the forefront of introducing proven technology like email to an industry that refuses to adapt and change. Also, our customer service is a major differentiator: We call people back; we show up on time; we’re responsive; we won’t wrap a project until it’s really done and done right. These are things that aren’t common in the industry, so if you combine marketing acumen with follow through, that just puts us in the front.
We also have a business model that positions our franchisees to start earning money immediately after training, and unlike competitors, we sell direct-to-consumer so we don’t have a showroom, the need for real estate expenses or storage of materials, and we aren’t limited to any brands when it comes to completing a job. Overall, our model translates to no buildout or HR costs, a low cost of entry and extremely low overhead, all for attractive margins.
1851: How does Footprints Floors support franchisees?
Park: We use a call center that is there to support all franchise owners. The call center specialists manage all new business and lead generation for franchise owners; answer all new business calls; and set customer appointments, scheduling them right into the calendars of Footprints’ franchise owners. Our call center specialists have built long-term partnerships with practical and proven lead generation and new business companies, meaning we have an efficient program in place for all markets across the contintental U.S.
We also provide new franchisees with comprehensive training so that no prior flooring installation and/or restoration experience is required. Our initial program consists of 56 hours in a classroom and 67 hours of on-the-job training at our corporate headquarters in Colorado. Through this comprehensive program, the franchisees learn the ins and outs of running a successful flooring franchise, from hiring crews to doing estimates. They also gain an insider perspective to the flooring industry in general.
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.?
Park: We’ve had people from all different walks of life that have been successful. You don’t have to have a construction experience to be successful in this; only two of our current franchisees have a construction background. In general, we’re looking for those who are people-oriented—there’s a lot of human interaction in our job between sales and project management—and we want owners who are growth-oriented. Those who are community-focused and who are excited about the work/life balance we offer, too—all of our franchisees have home offices.
For more info, visit: https://footprintsfranchise.com/