Young Ones to Watch: Carmelo Marsala
Young Ones to Watch: Carmelo Marsala

Spray-Net's founder and president shares his thoughts on franchising and what he would tell his younger self

1. What was it that drew you into franchising? 

I started off as a student painting franchisee and my customers frequently asked why new siding, doors and windows never looked “repainted” or peeled. To be honest, I asked myself the same question. I knew there had to be a way to bring permanent, factory results directly to homeowners so they wouldn’t have to pay to replace everything. I wasn’t interested in creating win-lose situations and concluded that whatever I did in life, I wanted it to create value for everyone involved. I did my research, enrolled in the Windy City Coatings Course to obtain my certification in paint formulation, and I learned an important thing: the only way to achieve permanent results when it comes to painting is to follow through from formulation to application. We launched a proprietary line of coatings, and what’s unique about them is that we’ve taken factory products and we’ve tailored them for exterior use, outside the controlled environment of the factory. Our unique value proposition is that we do more than just give homeowners a paint job - we give them a real alternative to replacement, boost curb appeal, delivering a cost-effective renovation solution. Our service offering is cost-effective and yields a positive ROI for both our customers, our franchise partners and our planet too by recycling exterior siding, doors and windows. This is the type of win-win-win we’re all about. I always knew I’d franchise my business. After transforming thousands of homes, engineering our mobile spray booth and painting chamber and developing our internal information software “The Spray-Network,” we’ve optimized our systems to create a scalable business model that could be successfully replicated across different territories.

2. What do you see as the biggest change that is going to impact the franchise industry going forward? 

This one would definitely need to be technology. Franchising ways are now somewhat outdated. The fast-paced world we live in is surrounded with newer simpler ways to do things. Our way to do more with less is through software automation. Automating different aspects and procedures is what will give you the competitive edge over the market.

3. What advice would you give to other young up-and-comers? 

This advice would be for any entrepreneur in general starting up in business not just in the franchise industry. Pay attention to your mental health! Things move quickly and you have to make sure to stay mentally sharp during the whole process not to crash at some point in time. I’m a big advocate of neurogenesis, “the science of growing your brain,” and most entrepreneurs are actually counterintuitive with this part. They get caught up in the speed of things and forget to think and reflect on how they are feeling through all this.

4. What advice would you give to your younger self? 

Ego is the enemy. At some point you think you’re unstoppable. You need to make sure to surround yourself with the right people. If you’re giving all the answers, there’s an issue. People around you need to complement your weaknesses. For this, you need to have people you can trust. That’s step one to growing your business – realizing you can’t do it alone. Having the support system around you helps to put things in perspective when your head is juggling everything at the same time.

5. What advice would you give to someone deciding to own a franchise? 

You’ll be in business for yourself not by yourself. It’s important to realize that there are advantages to getting a franchise and you’ll get processes and procedures of a proven concept yet you won’t have to go through all the trial and error the franchisor had to go through. On the flip side, you are buying into a system where you don’t have the full flexibility of making your own decisions. As the franchisor, we need to ensure the self-interest of the brand when franchisees usually make decisions that are in their own self-interest. The results can sometimes differ and the franchisees sometimes need to realize that to be able to meet half-way.