From Uber driver to business owner, Lingren connects with 1851 Franchise Magazine to tell the story of how he used ride sharing to finance his franchise.
One of the biggest challenges that new franchisees face is financing. Building a business comes with a franchise fee and initial investment costs as well as the build out or construction costs. It’s extremely difficult to be profitable right off the bat, so franchisees have to get creative when it comes to how to stay afloat when they are in the initial stages of opening a franchise.
1851 Franchise Magazine connected with Menchie’s Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania franchisee Erik Lingren to hear more about how he utilized the ever-popular Uber model in order to successfully get his first Menchie’s location off the ground.
Before entering the franchise world, Lingren spent 25 years in the non-profit sector. He eventually decided it was time to move on, and joined forces with his brother-in-law to open a Menchie’s franchise. In the initial stages, he realized that the amount of money going outbound was not the same coming in, especially before the business was opened. He needed an extra way to make cash that still allowed him the freedom to stop by the construction site or answer to any issues at his Menchie’s location.
“I needed a flexible way to make money, and I realized I was too qualified to work somewhere like a sandwich shop – they never would have hired me,” said Lingren. “Uber was the perfect solution because I could drive when I needed the extra cash flow and stop at any time.”
In the months leading up to his first Menchie’s opening, Lingren drove Uber regularly. He was able to save up enough money for his personal expenses that he hardly had to pay himself from the Menchie’s business for the 35 – 40 hours per week he was putting into that business.
“The bank doesn’t care that you are in the development stage. You still have to get your mortgage paid on time,” said Lingren. “I was able to pay for all of my personal expenses so that I didn’t have to worry about pulling money out of the Menchie’s business to keep myself afloat.”
Now, with two locations open and a kiosk unit at PNC park, Lingren has gotten past the initial financing hurdles.
“We are just now becoming profitable,” said Lingren. “This is the first time that we are able to pay off our bills solely from the revenue that we are making from our Menchie’s locations.”
With the development costs behind him and three successful operating locations, Lingren is definitely not writing off Uber for good. In fact, he still utilizes the ride share option for upcoming larger expenses.
“It’s such a good option, even while operating three locations,” said Lingren. “It’s a great option for business owners that don’t have unlimited time to dedicate to a job, but still need money coming in to stay afloat. It’s made the transition to business owner very smooth.