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Fresh Coat Painters Taps Into Professionalism, Customer Service and Marketing Efforts to Drive its Franchise System to Success; Celebrates 44% Year-Over-Year Growth

As one of the country's largest and fastest-growing painting franchises, Fresh Coat is aiming to cross the 200-unit mark this year on its pathway to becoming an iconic brand.

By Katie Porter1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSOREDUpdated 2:14PM 06/14/22

Fresh Coat Painters, the residential and commercial painting franchise, was born from a radically simple concept: create a professional painting business for everyone, not just people who knew how to use a brush. To fill this void, Fresh Coat created a low-cost, high-margin business model that would train franchisees on how to find and unite all painters, hire them as employees and provide customers with the security and professionalism they deserve. Since starting in 2004, Fresh Coat’s business model has proven to be a hit — the brand has expanded to over 170 franchise locations nationwide. Now, with plans to cross the 200-unit mark this year, the Fresh Coat team is looking for passionate and qualified franchisees to establish Fresh Coat as a truly iconic painting brand. 

“People will always need someone to put paint on the wall, that isn’t going to change,” said Jim Farinacci, vice president of marketing for Fresh Coat Painters. “When you look at all of our differentiators and the growing consumer demand, as well as our scalability, this is definitely the time to jump in and take advantage of all these factors.”

The Beginnings of Fresh Coat Painters 

The original idea behind Fresh Coat Painters arose when one of the co-founders was struggling to find someone reliable to paint his 16-year-old daughter’s bedroom. “None of the contracted painters were willing to do projects that small, and it was clear there was a business idea there,” said Fresh Coat president Tara Riley. “After opening the first location in Cincinnati and vetting the business model, the brand officially started franchising in 2005.”

In the nearly two decades since then, Fresh Coat Painters has grown to become one of the leading national painting companies, largely because of its unique service offering and well-positioned business model, Riley says. 

“We bring a level of professionalism, customer service and marketing that is unmatched in the industry,” Riley said. “Most painters out there run very small operations, and they don’t want to do small projects. We set out to fill that void, starting off with residential interior painting only. Over the years, the willingness to do those small projects allowed us to grow to larger projects, eventually expanding to exteriors and commercial projects. The more we grew, the stronger our brand became.”

What Sets Fresh Coat Painters Apart in the Painting Franchise Segment

From day one, Fresh Coat Painters has set out to create not only a top-level experience for its customers, but also an industry-leading franchise opportunity for its business owners. One of the key strengths of this business model comes in the form of marketing. 

“The average painting business is a small crew, so they don't have a sophisticated marketing strategy, with advertising and audience development beyond their scope,” said Farinacci. “That is one of the major advantages of partnering with Fresh Coat — franchisees are getting a clear picture of their audience and how to reach them. We are able to drive a very high number of leads, which takes a lot of the pressure off of our owners.”

But marketing isn’t the only way the Fresh Coat team supports franchisees. Leo Haley, Vice President of Sales, notes that the team offers coaching, profit & loss reviews, vendor relationships, access to management software, talent recruiting, staffing tools and more. This support has allowed the brand to attract a uniquely diverse group of franchisees, including veterans, women and other those from underrepresented communities.

“The beauty of franchising is that it is an awesome opportunity for people who may not have grown up in a family of entrepreneurs to come in and build a strong business,” said Riley. “Our franchisees come from all types of industries and backgrounds, whether it be tech, consulting, teaching, manufacturing, construction, home improvement or working for the state. Franchisees don’t need to be painting experts or focused on reinventing the wheel — we provide the business model, trusted brand name and support so they can be successful with Fresh Coat.”

Additionally, Tom Tucker, vice president of operations, points out that Fresh Coat is an employee-based model, not a sub-contractor model. This not only allows franchisees to provide better work opportunities for employees and give back to the trades, but also creates a low-cost business with high margins. “It requires a lot less capital to get into this business, especially compared to the retail environment,” he said.

Overall, Riley says the Fresh Coat team is specifically focused on one goal: helping franchisees achieve strong unit level economics. For example, Fresh Coat franchisees are able to tap into the brand’s national accounts and commercial program, which provides them with lucrative commercial projects for no extra fees. 

“When you look at the top competition, they charge thousands of dollars for franchisees to participate in these types of programs,” said Riley. “We can be a one-stop-shop for larger general contractors who work for commercial establishments that are looking to repaint locations nationally — we can fill that void so they don’t have to manage projects in each individual market. That is part of our commitment to growing and scaling — we really offer two franchises for the price of one. This has helped us see our first two million-dollar franchises last year.” 

The brand’s franchisee-focused approach is perhaps most apparent in its Winner Circle incentive program, where franchisees can earn back their entire franchise fee as they hit different benchmarks with the business. This franchise fee of $44,900 is a significant amount of the investment range from $53,850 - $76,750, making the investment appealing for prospects looking for a strong business opportunity.

Why Now is the Time to Invest in Fresh Coat

Over the past two years, Farinacci says Fresh Coat has proven to be a uniquely pandemic-proof business, especially as homeowners spent more time investing in home services during lockdown. According to a report completed by Home Advisor, home services represent a $506 billion market in the United States. Now, looking ahead, Fresh Coat is showing that consumer demand isn’t slowing down anytime soon — the brand grew its systemwide sales by 44% year-over-year, saw six record-breaking sales months and opened 31 new locations in 2021 alone.

Looking ahead, Riley says Fresh Coats overall growth vision is simple: become an iconic brand. “If you look at how franchises grow, once you get over the 125 mark, there tends to be massive growth up to 400 units,” she said. “We are really feeling that momentum right now. Not only are franchisees scaling, but stronger and stronger people are joining our system, which gives us more leverage.”

Riley says the Fresh Coat brand hopes to add 50 new franchises by the end of the year, with the overall goal of hitting the 500-unit mark within the next five years. The Fresh Coat team has identified several markets that are primed for franchise development, including Florida, California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Missouri.

“In order to be iconic, we need to be industry-leading in our customer service, our franchise system, our business model and our size,” Riley said. “In five years, we want to be the number-one painting company in the U.S. We know that means we have to find the right franchisees, help them grow profitable businesses and continue to expand our footprint. Now, as we achieve those goals faster than ever, the time has never been better to join the Fresh Coat team.”

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Fresh Coat Painters was founded in 2004 as part of Strategic Franchising Systems. Since 2015, Fresh Coat Painters has been included in the Bond’s Top 100 and named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 list. Fresh Coat Painters is also part of the International Franchise Association, the Small Business Association’s Franchise Registry, VetFran and Minority Fran. Fresh Coat Painters franchisees offer residential and commercial painting services across the United States and Canada.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.