Choosing to franchise a business is a decision that can lead to a multitude of rewards for franchisors and franchisees alike. With any reward, there is always risk involved which can lead to initial hesitation. By taking a chance and working hard, these challenges can be overcome and the business can flourish in the franchise industry.
1851 Magazine spoke with Noelle Burak from TWO MEN AND A TRUCK and Amelia Courtney from Pretty in Paint Parties to learn how the two businesses got their start in the franchise industry.
The right time to franchise is different for each brand
When do you know that your business is ready to franchise? The reality of the situation is that there is no set number of units that a business should open before beginning to franchise. It is completely dependent on the specific brand and their current needs. For TWO MEN AND A TRUCK the decision came early on when after they had opened their second location in Atlanta, Georgia in the late 1980s.
On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes franchising is a better fit later in the growth process. “Pretty in Paint Parties had approximately 30 independent contractors in 13 states when we decided to franchise,” said Courtney. “Erica and I were the only employees. We were handling all of the day to day work from paying commissions to booking parties across the country.”
Overcome hesitation and seek counsel
Franchising a business can seem like a daunting task and with that challenge comes hesitation. Burak cites the ability to gauge likelihood of success for a moving company franchise as a major hesitation for founder, Mary Ellen Sheets. There was also concern over assessing how probable it would be for people to invest in a startup franchise brand.
For Pretty in Paint, the main point of hesitation was ensuring all the logistical elements were perfected before getting started. “We had been advised by many trusted and successful people in business that franchising would be beneficial for us,” recalled Courtney. “After listening to the advice and leadership of the SMB Franchise Group, we knew it was the right call.”
Opening the first franchise location
Every franchise needs to start somewhere. In some cases, that first franchisee may have already established a relationship with the brand’s leadership. For TWO MEN AND A TRUCK, this proved true as the initial franchise location was owned and operated by Melanie Bergeron, the daughter of the brand’s founder.
Pretty in Paint traces its franchise history back to the Burlington and Monmouth Counties in New Jersey. The initial location was owned by Michelle Nicosia-Coyle, who had worked as an independent contractor for the brand for quite some time before becoming a franchisee. This growth momentum continued as another artist named Dorian Kuelcher brought the brand to Pennsylvania.
Overcome challenges by maintaining a positive outlook
“I think we see challenges more as opportunities,” said Burak. “Finding strategic partners that align with the values, mission and vision of the brand is very important to us. Some of our biggest opportunities in the recent past include strengthening relationships between franchisees and franchisor while navigating changes in the moving industry, competition and always putting the customer first.”
Courtney also noted that a positive and realistic mindset is necessary for addressing any challenges. While Pretty in Paint initially found technical aspects of the business to be challenging, a new perspective was able to alleviate any fears. “After talking with other franchisors that share the same sentiments, we quickly realized that this piece of the business doesn’t happen overnight,” she said.
Discover the rewards of a franchise system
For TWO MEN AND A TRUCK, franchising has been a very rewarding decision. Burak noted that this accomplishment can be seen in growth across the entire network of franchisees, franchise employees and within the home office. Today, the brand has over 380 locations across 42 states. It doesn’t stop there, though, as the brand has been thrilled to see a positive impact on local communities as a result of the generosity of franchisees’ participation in charitable activities.
For Pretty in Paint, the ability to empower women has been extremely rewarding. Through their franchise opportunity, the team has been able to create a network where they witness women in business breaking the glass ceiling and flourishing in leadership roles.
“So many women and men think that they cannot financially own their own business or think they are not capable. We love helping them realize we are there to help them get over the hump and grow,” said Courtney. “Watching the pride our franchisees take in ownership makes it all worth it.”