1851 caught up with the franchise development professionals of 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?
Don Powers, Founder and CEO of Fitness Machine Technicians: Basically, buyers are people coming from corporate America who are done having a boss and want to have their own company and set their own hours. We also have people that are in the building trades. Most of them are white-collar workers who want a service business, as that has the potential to grow depending on the effort they put into it.
1851: What's the number one thing franchisees are looking for in the conversations that you're having with prospects?
Powers: They’re looking for a service brand. This is our first year of franchising and we sold $750,000 in franchises; we won the Franchisor Top Performance Award for 2018, our rank was No. 5 in all of FranNet.
1851: Do you have an ideal franchisee in your system, and what are their qualities?
Powers: We’re seeking owners who are interested in multiple territories. Someone who is an extrovert and a people person, who’s not afraid to network or jump in when the techs get overwhelmed is a great fit. We need people who are not afraid to take risks.
1851: What's the biggest challenge facing franchise development right now and how are you overcoming it?
Powers: The biggest challenge is managing growth. We’re now adding another segment in our inventory. Right now we’re selling one type of franchise, the executive franchise, but we’re going to be working on something a little less than executive with a smaller territory. We want to scale down and make a smaller version for the lower-level investment population, allowing us to hit more territories and give people more opportunities.
1851: What's one thing prospective franchisees should know about your brand and franchising in general before buying?
Powers: They should know they need to follow the plan. If they don’t, they’re going to fall off the tracks. But if they follow the plan, they’ll do well.
1851: Why should franchisees invest in your industry and in your brand specifically, and why should they invest now?
Powers: We’re first to market. As a fragmented market, we have organized ourselves to be a very scalable business. People are always going to exercise; there’s no magic pill for fitness.
The fitness industry is always growing, and there’s a lot of opportunity for us to grow with it—the nature of equipment means that it’ll need repair.