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?
Chad Wright, GM of Franchise Development with CertaPro Painters: We have a lot of couples and father-son teams that want to build something for their future.
1851: What's the number one thing franchisees are looking for in the conversations that you're having with prospects?
Wright: They’re looking for viable options in the next step of their career. Whether leaving corporate America by force or choice, they’re looking to reach their goals at the next level.
1851: Do you have an ideal franchisee in your system, and what are their qualities?
Steve Kuhn, GM of Franchise Development at CertaPro Painters: What we look for is someone comfortable with sales and marketing. They’ll be following up with warm leads, so being sociable and asking for the deal is huge. We also see value in someone who has hired and fired in their career, as well.
1851: What's the biggest challenge facing franchise development right now and how are you overcoming it?
Kuhn: There’s a misconception that we’re a sold-out brand or don’t have territory availability because we’ve been around for 27 years, but we’re developing new markets that weren’t viable previously. Because places are growing and demographics are changing, we’re now reaching new markets.
1851: What's one thing prospective franchisees should know about your brand, and franchising in general, before buying?
Kuhn: The franchisor doesn’t take all of your money. That’s a big misconception. Over 91% of each dollar stays local—staff, local vendors, marketing, or in your pocket as a business owner. Not every franchise business is a storefront; for instance, our model is very low overhead and requires little inventory. Franchising can be a great fit for someone’s next step in their career as long as it’s a match for them and what they’re looking to get out of the business.
1851: Why should franchisees invest in your industry and in your brand specifically, and why should they invest now?
Wright: We’re the largest player in a market estimated at $56 billion. It’s rare to be with the No. 1 brand with only a 1% market share. We do interior and exterior work for residential and commercial properties. Servicing commercially is a growing part of our business and has been for the last couple of years—it’s actually nearly half our business. We do much more than a lot of other similar businesses, and that's because we’ve been around much longer.