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: What's the number one thing franchisees are looking for in the conversations that you're having with prospects?
Heidi Morrissey, President of Kitchen Tune-Up: They’re looking for stability in their financials. They’re looking to invest in themselves instead of always giving their time and energy to their job. I’m seeing younger couples want to invest early while they’re energetic and can achieve that work-life balance. I’m also seeing a lot of different financial objectives than in the past. They also usually love HGTV. We tell them they get to do the reveal every day!
1851: Do you have an ideal franchisee in your system, and what are their qualities?
Morrissey: We have different models. We have the home base model; that’s one to three employees, and the owner does their own sales. That person is often someone in their 50s who has decided to move on from their day job and wants security, but also freedom of time.
Then we’ve got developers; that person is someone that has a bigger picture financially. We’re seeing a lot of younger people who want to develop a territory over two years. They have more capital. They do less hands-on day to day work and are more involved with hiring marketing people and using our systems.
Then we have our retail franchises. They’re looking for locations for people to come to and focus on bigger remodeling projects. They employ three to six employees and utilize multiple vehicles. They’re the project manager of the team. This model is very scalable and versatile.
1851: What's the biggest challenge facing franchise development right now and how are you overcoming it?
Morrissey: We’re seeing a lot of success this quarter, but on the consumer end, though, it’s the large number of options. Overall, though, people need to find the right fit for them. The market is strong for jobs; anyone older wants security, but younger people want to take their risks now.
1851: Why should franchisees invest in your industry and in your brand specifically, and why should they invest now?
Morrissey: Right now is prime time with the tidying up and organization movement taking hold.
Updating in general is big right now. People are very excited about home improvement, and are looking to do so without demo’ing. As new homes are built, everyone remodels—it’s a great time with a lot of great energy. We’re only 31 years old, but we’re in this fast growth, high-energy place.