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Serial Entrepreneur With Surgery Center and Marketing Company Opts for Franchising with Footprints Floors

Cowley has started several businesses from the ground up, but found himself drawn to the blueprint for success offered through franchising with Footprints Floors.

By Erica InmanStaff Writer
Updated 4:16PM 05/10/24

Justin Cowley has been a business owner for over a decade, starting a variety of concepts from scratch including a surgery center and a marketing company. While he learned a lot through trial and error on his own, he was always drawn to the scalable and replicable system offered through franchising.

Through research, Cowley found Footprints Floors* and was immediately impressed with the brand’s transparency and support. 

“Footprints Floors has been a different experience for me,” he said. “They have a set system and a lot of integrity and they want to help you succeed.”

1851 Franchise spoke with Cowley about his journey into franchising with Footprints Floors and his plans for the future.

1851 Franchise: Frame your personal story for us. What did you do before franchising, and how did you decide franchising made sense for you?

Cowley: I'm a serial entrepreneur. I owned several businesses, including physician practices, a surgery center, an ultrasound company and a marketing company. 

When you start out companies from scratch, you learn a lot about what not to do. The failure rate is about a third. About a third of my businesses didn't do well, a third did exceptionally well and about a third were marginal.

It's really taxing to figure out everything from the ground up. It usually takes 18 months of operations to get comfortable with whatever you're doing. Franchising is set up so that anybody can do it, whether they've had the experience in the industry or not. That's something I was drawn to. 

1851: What was your perception of franchising prior to becoming a franchisee, and what do you want people to know about franchising now that you are in it?

Cowley: I am not the typical franchisee. Most franchisees have never had a business before, so they don’t understand how it works. They need to be spoon-fed through the process. I have set up multiple companies, so I have a different perspective on it. What’s drawn me to franchising is the duplicatable, scalable and preloaded system. 

1851: What made you pick this brand? What excites you most about this company?

Cowley: Not all franchises are the same; with franchises there's good, bad and ugly. There's some franchises that just give you the name, a pat on the back and tell you to get out and get to work. Those are the bad franchises. They just take your money, but don't offer you any value. 

Footprints Floors has been a different experience for me. They have a set system and a lot of integrity and they want to help you succeed. I'm going through the training program right now; you've got 120 hours of training between on-site and learning modules, then you've got two days of on-the-job training with another franchise owner. That's 136 hours of training before you get started, and that's significant.

1851: What do you hope to achieve with your business? What are your plans for growth? 

Cowley: I hope to first take one territory and maximize it before building into the second territory. Once I maximize that, then I plan to go back to the corporation and determine whether there's additional opportunity or ancillary services that are available to sell so I can lay that over the top of the business.

1851: What is the one thing about your story you want us to know?

Cowley: I’m pretty introverted. I’m not a very public person; I don’t make a lot of promises, I just try to deliver on what I’m committed to. 

1851: What advice do you have for other people thinking about becoming a franchise owner?

Cowley: Research extensively. 

For example, I found a brand that looked good, but through research I found out that the CEO had a criminal record and most of the growth was from one franchise owner buying up locations from all of the other dissatisfied franchise owners. You also will look for the average return on investment. But many brands have one outlier doing much better [than the rest] and that skews the numbers to make others look like they’re doing better than they are. 

It’s also a balancing act between finding a franchise that is established that has the results you're looking for and considering an emerging brand that has plenty of territories for you to purchase. You want a set system that's already set up that you can just replicate.


Upon his return to Littleton, Colorado, after serving in the U.S. Air Force, Bryan Park noticed that Denver’s flooring industry lacked a higher level of customer service and sophistication. So, in 2008, he founded Footprints Floors, which today specializes in installing hardwood floors, tile floors, backsplashes and laminates. With more than 150 territories, Footprints Floors offers franchisees a robust support system, including a call center, flexible hours for work-life balance and a low cost of entry with outstanding economics.. For more information about the Franchise Times Top 500 brand, visit

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