As an accountant, Sarah Ross understands facts and numbers. So when it came to planning her future, along with her partner, Kelly Ross, Sarah knew she was ready to use her knowledge and experience in her own small business.
Sarah decided to look into business ownership after spending nearly 11 years in corporate accounting as a certified public accountant. She had reached burn-out mode, and was ready for a change. But at the same time, she didn’t want to start from the ground up. Franchising was the perfect solution.
Both Sarah and Kelly started researching various franchises. They didn’t have a lot to invest, so they turned to a franchise website, where Sarah could punch in her specific parameters to find the ideal match for her current situation. That’s when she discovered Fresh Coat Painters—she was intrigued by the brand’s low initial investment costs, short training time, flexible time requirements and “tried and proven” business structure. As well, the corporate staff and its support of franchise owners on a national level was equally impressive. With that, Sarah and Kelly decided to launch Fresh Coat of West Austin.
“We really like the concept of painting done right,” Sarah said. “Home painting is something that is in high demand. And with this industry, even if the economy experiences a downturn, its services that will always be needed. And no other brand is better positioned to help customers than Fresh Coat—it was clear that they’re always working to make each person they serve happy.”
With Fresh Coat, owners have a range of corporate offerings that support their clients and make the process smoother, including a 24/7 call center, proprietary EPIC estimating system, Paint Now-Pay Later same-as-cash financing, Automatic Touch-Up for businesses, and fund-raising opportunities for charities.
Open since May 2013, the Ross’ immediately hit the ground running, completing both interior and exterior jobs, along with a blend of residential and commercial projects. The most gratifying aspect, Sarah said, is observing the client during the final walk-through.
“It’s great fun doing that final walk-through with the customer and seeing them so happy at the end,” she said. “It’s what it’s all about.”
What really sets Fresh Coat apart from its competitors is the fact that its owners hire their own employees and never rely on subcontractors. Sarah and Kelly found their lead painter through contacts at Sherwin-Williams.
“The fact that we background check employees is the biggest differentiator. That is a risk for both the business and the homeowner when you don’t take the time to do that,” Sarah said. “Our background check process sets us apart, and it’s a huge selling point for customers. Everyone wants to know who they’re bringing into their home.”
Now, after four years with the brand, Sarah is aiming to continue expanding her brand throughout West Austin—a goal that’s well within sight based on their success year after year.
“Our goal now is to focus on growing our network within our existing territory. It’s all about growing relationships with your community. And we’re confident that Fresh Coat Painters is becoming the premier name for professional painting services,” Sarah said.