Franchise Development Leaders: PatchMaster CEO Kathleen Kuhn
Franchise Development Leaders: PatchMaster CEO Kathleen Kuhn

PatchMaster CEO Kathleen Kuhn discusses her involvement in the franchise development industry.

Kathleen Kuhn, CFE, is the CEO of both PatchMaster and HouseMaster, the oldest and one of the largest home inspection franchises in North America with more than 300 franchised areas throughout the U.S. and Canada. PatchMaster is experiencing that type of growth as well — the brand already has more than 19 franchises signed in 46 territories with 10 franchises currently open and operating.

1851 spoke with Kuhn to learn more about how PatchMaster is continuing to expand.

How did you first get involved with the franchising industry?

My father started a home inspection franchise called HouseMaster. I didn’t have interest initially, but after several years working for a large telecom company, I got the entrepreneurial bug and moved back to the East Coast from San Diego and opened up a HouseMaster franchise of my own in New Jersey.  

What do you love about the industry?  

It’s personally rewarding to help people realize the dream of business ownership and financial independence. Twenty-four percent of our franchisees have been with our brands for over 20 years. They’ve become family. I’ve watched them put their kids through college and throw weddings and then retire and I get great satisfaction knowing I had a part in helping achieve those milestones.

What do you wish you could change in franchising?  

I believe some aspects of franchising are over-regulated. Franchisors have to be so very careful with how they coach their franchisees and the policies they put in place. I believe overall that’s not good for business. The joint-employer issue is one great example of the government looking to disrupt the balance of co-dependence that the franchise model has been founded on.

What's the biggest change you've seen in the industry since you started out in franchise development?  

The increased use of franchise consultants, and the new role social media plays in communicating with both prospects and franchisees.

What makes a great franchisee?  

Someone who is motivated, self-confident, has the necessary funding and seeks support and engagement.

What's the number one thing that sells franchises?  

Selling franchises, number one, takes a combination of stability, innovation and a solid business model. Number two is the people. Franchisees need to feel that they want to be part of the franchisor’s team.