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's buying franchises right now and what type of activity are you seeing?
David Hicks, CEO of HomeVestors: Both the retail and investor markets are strong, and we’re also seeing hedge funds buying. Investors continue to have the same problem they’ve always had – they can’t find enough inventory, which is what often drives them to HomeVestors. Franchisees look to us because we offer a well-developed source of steady leads, which is a result of more than two decades of advertising and brand building.
1851: What's the number one thing franchisees are looking for in the conversations that you're having with prospects?
Hicks: Primarily, it’s leads and the backing of the HomeVestors and We Buy Ugly Houses brands. Franchisees also appreciate the training and mentoring we provide to help them most effectively profit from the distressed property leads we generate for them.
1851: Do you have an ideal franchisee in your system, and what are their qualities?
Hicks: For us, the ideal franchisee is an entrepreneur who has already built a business and knows what that means. Or, it’s someone with the drive to build a business that is willing to put in the work to get the job done.
1851: What's one thing prospective franchisees should know about your brand and franchising in general before buying?
Hicks: A prospective HomeVestors franchise needs to remember that they’re buying a business. If they’re driven to build a business, then they’ll probably be a good fit. But, if they’re looking for another job, and for someone to tell them what to do every day, then franchising is not going to make them happy.
1851: Why should franchisees invest in your industry and in your brand specifically, and why should they invest now?
Hicks: It’s the best time we’ve ever seen in the business, and we’re the only national brand that is one, buying a lot of houses, and two, making a lot of money. We are the largest professional house-buying franchise in the U.S. and have purchased nearly 95,000 houses since 1996. Last year, we celebrated the signing of our 1,000th franchise, which is really significant because 10 years ago, we had less than 200.
Investing in this industry, and our brand specifically, makes you part of the improvement of hundreds of communities across America by individuals that live and buy on Main Street. Beyond helping sellers out of ugly situations, our franchises rehab houses that might not otherwise be desirable assets, helping raise real estate values and driving community revitalization.