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What Franchisees Are Able to Leverage After Investing in Wild Birds Unlimited

From a proven business model to ongoing support, this is what franchisees receive when they decide to pursue business ownership alongside Wild Birds Unlimited.

By Cassidy McAloonSenior Writer
SPONSORED 8:08AM 06/21/18

For over 35 years, franchisees have been signing on to become business owners with Wild Birds Unlimited. It’s a decision that hundreds of entrepreneurs have made – with 300 plus locations operating across North America, Wild Birds Unlimited has become a leader in the specialty retail segment of the franchising industry. And while the brand offers an affordable initial investment for its local owners, it’s still a significant financial decision – startup costs for Wild Birds Unlimited range from $146,516 to $249,956. So, why are franchisees continuing to make the decision to join the growing franchise time and time again? It comes down to the competitive advantages they receive in return.

“What the investment gets our franchisees first and foremost is rights to our trademarks, branding, proprietary information and intense amount of support that they receive from the store design and build out through marketing, grand openings and beyond. We help our franchisees from beginning to end, so that support continues even when they sell their franchise to the next owner when it is time for them to retire,” said Paul Pickett, Chief Development Officer for Wild Birds Unlimited. “Our goal as a franchisor is to make sure that our franchisees have access to all the tools and resources they need to succeed, which is why we give them very clear guidance and suggestions on everything from marketing and merchandising ideas, inventory management and pricing strategies, customer experience training to strategic planning accounting/bookkeeping best practices—it’s the full spectrum.”

In order to provide franchisees with the things that they need to be successful, Wild Birds Unlimited makes an active effort to be as detailed as possible in its Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), specifically in Item 7, which breaks down the estimated initial investment. The brand doesn’t simply list out general ranges that major purchases will take – instead, Wild Birds Unlimited drills down on every expected item that a franchisee may spend money on to get their store built out and open. For example, franchisees can find price estimates for paint, checks, paper for their printer and shipping costs on fixtures in Wild Birds Unlimited’s FDD. Its Item 7 is also incredibly specific when it comes to those price estimations rather than rounding to the nearest dollar.

“We estimate the exact costs of what it takes to open a Wild Birds Unlimited store down to the line item so that our franchisees can create a very detailed budget and really focus on what they need in order to be successful. And by tracking costs across our system as stores continue to open, we’re able to consistently update our Item 7 to better prepare franchisees in the future,” Pickett said. “By collecting real data that franchisees are collecting in the field, our franchisees are able to add room to their budgets for the unexpected. That preparation can end up being a big advantage down the line.”

That big advantage comes into play when franchisees are securing financing for their business. According to Pickett, which is beneficial for both the franchisee and franchisor.

“What it does is it helps our franchisees when it comes to financing. This allows them to plan for the best or the worst and ensure that they have enough working capital, which you need in order to get your business up and running,” Pickett said. “It also allows us as a franchisor to see if someone starts to cut corners. We can then step in and help them revisit their budget to ensure that they’re setting themselves up for success.”

Beyond the business model, branding and overall preparedness that Wild Birds Unlimited offers its franchisees, the most important advantage that comes from investing in the concept comes from the other local business owners who make up the brand’s system.

“The biggest thing that our local owners gain access to when investing in Wild Birds Unlimited is our family of franchisees. By joining our system, they’re able to tap into this community of other business owners who’ve been where they are and can offer additional advice and support. That ultimately creates a really strong network to fall back on that otherwise isn’t there if you go it alone,” said Pickett.

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