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The Great Franchisee: Bruce Brady, 360° Painting, Atlanta

The former real estate professional took over Atlanta’s 360° Painting franchise in September.

Bruce Brady has no shortage of experience in the home and real estate industry. Before becoming one of the newest franchisees with 360° Painting, the 120-plus-unit painting franchise backed by multi-brand franchisor Premium Service Brands, Brady built a 15-year career in real estate before transitioning into nonprofits and corporate business-support roles.

But throughout his career, Brady felt something was missing. As a real estate professional, his work got in the way of his family life, and as a business-support specialist, he felt he wasn’t making enough of an impact in his community. 

Then, last year, a friend of Brady’s introduced him to franchise-consulting firm FranNet. Through FranNet, Brady learned about a host of franchise opportunities in industries ranging from salons to business-coaching. Ultimately, Brady saw franchising as a way to get back to what he knows best: homes.

Brady took over ownership of Atlanta’s 360° Painting franchise in September of 2020, and right away, business took off. As the pandemic has people spending more time at home, they’re investing more money in home-improvement projects, and for many people, painting is at the top of the list. 

Brady’s 360° Painting services the Atlanta, Decatur, Brookhaven, Buckhead, Vinings, Chamblee, Dunwoody, Norcross, Sandy Springs and Avondale Estates markets, and he plans to grow his business to provide more jobs in the local community. 

1851 Franchise: What did you do before franchising?

Bruce Brady: When I was in college, I started buying single-family houses to rent. When I graduated, I was a full-time real estate investor for 15 years. During that time, I bought and sold 125 houses. At one point, I had over 60 rental properties. Handling that many rental properties wasn’t feasible for my immediate family environment. People were calling 24/7, so I started getting out of that space in 2005, right before the 2008 recession. 

I then went into nonprofits. I moved to Dothan, Alabama and was part of a group of people who started a church as their administrator for about a year. I realized I wasn’t a small-town guy, so I moved to Nashville and did the same thing for another church. I moved out of this role when the economy tanked, and I started working in the corporate world doing business operations for the next few years. 

During my corporate journey, I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I kept thinking I had to go to a smaller place where I could have more of an impact. I realized I have to start working for myself again. I looked at various franchise brands, but I knew the housing industry and what that entails with renovations. That was my sweet spot. I knew it would be comfortable for me since it tied into experiences I’ve already had. I knew I didn’t want to do anything that could break or leak over the night or weekend where I’d have to leave my house at unfavorable times.

1851: How did you initially find out about franchising? 

Brady: The only thing I knew about franchising was the McDonald’s movie. I’m on the board for FCA (Fellowship Christian Athletes) for the county. There was a gentleman there who had a similar background as me and he got involved with a representative from FranNet, Leslie Kuban. My friend explained the whole idea of franchising to me and helped me conceptualize how it would work. I got connected with Leslie and she put me through a bunch of personality tests, asked me about my finances and so on. She helped me determine that 360° Painting was right for me. 

1851: Why did you choose franchising over starting your own business?

Brady: Starting my own business from scratch isn’t something I considered. I know that I’m not a starter. Figuring out how to do everything myself was daunting, and I didn’t have a groundbreaking idea. Leslie helped me realize that franchises have a model in place and everything figured out for the most part. The corporate team at 360° Painting was able to provide me with the support I needed to get started. To me, it made sense to go the franchising route and follow the model while making the system better with my expertise. 

185: What types of brands did you look at?

Brady: I looked at franchise brands in the hair-cut and business-coaching industries.

1851: Why did you choose 360° Painting? What excited you most about the potential?

Brady: Since I knew the real estate industry and home renovations, 360° Painting felt like a natural fit in my life. The people from the corporate team whom I’ve interacted with have been great, and they showed how they would properly support me which really stood out to me.

1851: What are your dreams with the business? What does the future look like?

Brady: Right now, I’m a one-man show so I do plan on hiring more employees to help me get the jobs done.

1851: How has business been since you took over in September?

Brady: Business has been great. People are spending money on their houses now, especially since they’re home a lot more. Paint is essential. COVID doesn’t stop paint from wearing off on the outside or inside of the house. Those things still have to be done. Paint is the second most important item — behind the roof — that protects people’s biggest asset: their house.

1851: What advice would you have for others looking at buying a franchise?

Brady: You need to learn about what a franchise is and is not. You need to find a business broker, like FranNet, who can come alongside you and help you figure out how franchises work with your personality and your goals. The safety that surrounds the franchise system that doesn’t exist with starting your own business is also important to recognize. Understand the limitations as well as the benefits. 

1851: What do you do in your personal time?

Brady: I am definitely a family-man; I have four kids and have been married for 24 years. I also enjoy traveling, when we’re allowed to. I’m also a DIY guy.