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?
Paul Martell, Franchise Development Director at PuroClean: Right now, veterans. I’m talking to a guy right now getting out of the service this summer. We’re also seeing current independent business owners buy, but white-collar professionals are the biggest chunk. Current multi-unit franchise owners are also interested in our business.
1851: What's the number one thing franchisees are looking for in the conversations that you're having with prospects?
Martell: If you look at a pie chart of all the different backgrounds that our franchisees come from, the largest segment would be people from corporate America. I hear it all the time: they’re the kind of individuals who have made an impact during their careers for the corporation and are sick and tired of making money for somebody else.
It’s not only the financial rewards that come from being in business for themselves; it’s also the freedom. No one is making a value judgment about their worth to an organization, and there’s no office politics. Those things are gone when you own your own business.
1851: Do you have an ideal franchisee in your system, and what are their qualities?
Martell: The ideal franchisee for PuroClean is someone who wants to be a community hero and use their entrepreneurial skills to become successful. As we are an emergency service, our franchisees are called into action when there’s been some sort of a catastrophe—water damage, fire, mold, things of that nature. We have to set the tone and treat those individuals with respect. We tell them what we’re going to do, and do it, and do it efficiently and with the least amount of disruption.
1851: What's the biggest challenge facing franchise development right now and how are you overcoming it?
Martell: The biggest challenge right now is, believe it or not, the economy. The situation right now is that if you want to get a job or change jobs, you can’t. There’s still no guarantee that a job will last longer than three to four years. Especially in 2018, I would take individuals through our discovery process, then at the end, they would say I just took a job. We’re not seeing that as much this year.
1851: What's one thing prospective franchisees should know about your brand, and franchising in general, before buying?
Martell: What’s the key to success? Follow the system. The franchisor, in our case and in a lot of cases, has spent many years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in developing a system. If you follow it, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be successful.
1851: Why should franchisees invest in your industry and in your brand specifically, and why should they invest now?
Martell: The mitigation industry is a need, not a want. I need to get rid of that standing water in my kitchen. It doesn’t matter what else is going on in the world, it needs to go away now, so there’s always a demand for this service.
If someone is looking to get into this industry, PuroClean is the best bet for a number of reasons. We have many accolades: we’ve moved up 179 positions in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 listing and will probably be in the top 100 next year; Military Times calls us the Best Bet for Vets, as we give a 25% discount for franchisees who are veterans; and Franchise Business Review lists us in the top 50 in franchisee satisfaction rankings.