1851 caught up with the franchise development professionals representing various brands to learn more about the state of the industry and their predictions for the year ahead.
1851: Who is buying franchises right now and what type of activity are you seeing?
Angela Paules, Chief Marketing Officer of Buzz Franchise Brands: This year got off to a slower start when it comes to franchise development, but we have seen activity pick up over the last couple of months. We are starting to see more educated candidates – those who already have a good grasp on franchising and the brand – at the beginning of the process. This may be a result of the increased access to educational content across the industry in general, and it also may be influenced by the continued development of our own emerging brands.
1851: What's the number one thing franchisees are looking for in the conversations that you're having with prospects?
Paules: Quality of life is a major factor for franchise candidates – and with that, control of their life. Most people don't mind working hard, but they are more likely and motivated to do so if it is for themselves instead of someone else. To further ensure they will enjoy the business opportunity, they are also looking to connect with existing franchisees to see if there is a cultural fit with the system.
1851: Do you have an ideal franchisee in your system, and what are their qualities?
Paules: The ideal (which, generally speaking, also translates to successful) franchisee in our system is one that is highly engaged; they use the resources made available to them, attend both virtual events (calls/webinars) and in-person events (trainings/conferences), leverage our corporate team’s guidance in operating and marketing the business, leverage the experience and knowledge of their fellow franchisees, and remain very active in their business and community themselves. They are generally the ones who are out there in their community, meeting their customers and showing strong enthusiasm and passion for their business.
1851: What's the biggest challenge facing franchise development right now and how are you overcoming it?
Paules: The biggest challenge right now is the strong economy. Companies are paying the price (literally) to recruit and retain good employees. People are being incentivized to stay in their jobs or are offered high salaries to accept new job opportunities, so there have been good candidates in the pipeline who changed their path when they received an offer that was just too good to pass up.
The other result of the economy is that people are spending a lot more time in the pipeline because they’re not as motivated or in a hurry to leave their job. To overcome this, we are ensuring that we are highly engaged and responsive with prospects to keep them progressing down the path of business ownership. We’re finding new ways to engage with them online and through events and are developing new types of content to keep them coming back to their research so they don’t fall off. We have to adapt and understand that some may not be ready to buy today, but when they are, we want to be the opportunity at the top of their list.
1851: What's one thing prospective franchisees should know about your brands, and franchising in general, before buying?
Paules: It’s important for prospective franchisees to focus on the attributes of the business they’d like to have rather than go into their exploration with tunnel vision on a specific brand or industry. For example, people may go right to restaurants when they think of franchising because it’s a prominent category and because everyone has been to a restaurant and can imagine what is involved with running one. But the beauty of franchising is that the franchisor will provide the training you need for whatever industry you end up in, so it’s okay if you have never cleaned a pool before. In fact, most of our Pool Scouts franchisees haven’t.
Instead of thinking about the specific service or product, think about the business model, the investment, the landscape of the industry, and the quality of life. Our brands are all service-focused, which is great for people to see the direct impact they are making in their community. They also come at a much lower investment level because they don’t have the same real estate or build out costs of other opportunities, and they can be scaled over time. These are the factors that would draw people to our franchise system rather than a direct desire to clean pools, clean homes or teach swim lessons.
1851: Why should franchisees invest in your industry and in your brands specifically, and why should they invest now?
Paules: There is something very rewarding about being part of a service-focused industry, because every day you’re able to see the impact you’re having on your customers and community; maybe it’s getting the house cleaned for the busy family with two working parents, maybe it’s getting the pool cleaned for the upcoming graduation party, or maybe it’s giving a young mom and dad the peace of mind that their child is armed with water survival skills so they can play in the pool as a family. All of these services are built on establishing relationships; it is a recurring service, recurring revenue business model, which allows you to scale your business efficiently by taking good care of your customers with quality service while recruiting new ones.
Now is a great time to invest in our franchises because they are young and emerging brands, which means there is a great opportunity to get in at a lower cost and to get your desired territory before someone else does.