9 minute read

Taking Care of Business

Taking care of Business

Business and technology are some of franchising’s best-kept secrets

by Jill Abrahamsen

While food and fitness might be some of franchising’s better known offerings, business and technology brands are on the rise. Many come with recurring revenue streams, flexible hours, and great customer retention. Add the support and training a franchise system brings, and you may just have the perfect business.

Want a business you can run from home? Check out Schooley Mitchell on page 47. This innovative franchise is designed to save companies money on operational services, such as courier, merchant services, and telecom. It’s an easy sell since the customer doesn’t pay a dime unless savings are realized. Want to turn heads? Look up in the sky and you may see a BirdsiVideo drone doing its magic. With a wide base of applications, drone technology is in demand and has a customer base that includes farms, schools, resorts, and real estate agents, just to name a few. Find out more on page 48.

Boring B2B opportunities are so yesterday. On the following pages you will find six innovative brands that are far from business as usual. Could one of them be for you?

JUST LET ME DO IT! COMMERCIAL SERVICES

COMMERCIAL BUSINESSES HAVE TO STAY OPEN TO STAY PROFITABLE. When something stops working or needs repair, shutting down is not an option. Business owners want a reliable service that can get the job done quickly and efficiently, without interfering with their day-to-day business. Colleen and Curtis Pyle recognized that need when they launched Just Let Me Do It! Commercial Services back in 1997.

You could say the Pyles are a dream team. Curtis always worked in the service industry, as a general contractor and as a repairman for air conditioning and refrigeration. “I have always been mechanically inclined,” he says. Colleen is a self-described “construction brat,” who spent her childhood helping her dad with projects. “Watching my dad build with his hands, and then marrying Curtis, I learned so much about the business. It’s almost second nature to me,” she says.

A commercial handyman service, Just Let Me Do It! Commercial Services takes care of all kinds of jobs from carpentry, plumbing, electrical, drywall, painting, and more. “You name it, we can handle the job,” says Curtis. “This is an extremely niche market and one that’s in demand.” In fact, the business kept growing until they had six corporate locations.

THE MOVE TO FRANCHISING In order to scale the business further, the Pyles decided franchising was the way to go. “The beauty of this business is that franchisees walk right into established relationships and are placed into a preferred status. They can get to work quickly, with jobs waiting for them on Day One. Our franchise partners don’t have to worry about marketing and advertising,” says Colleen. “Essentially, it’s a turnkey business. We take care of the day-to-day business: answering phones, emails, and tracking jobs from start to finish. We have state-of-the-art software that helps us stay at the top of our game.” The couple draws on their backgrounds in order to keep customers happy. “We have incorporated a strive-and-thrive attitude within the business and our customers trust that we’ll get the job done,” Colleen says.

The client base includes large chain stores, major retailers, big box stores, restaurants, and convenience stores. “We have strong relationships with our clients and have become their preferred go-to vendor nationally,” Colleen says.

Offering franchise opportunities since 2018, Colleen runs the franchising end of the business and Curtis runs operations. They’re certain this business concept is something special. “There’s nothing like it out there. The start-up is low and the margins are high. Plus, there’s a huge demand for the services we offer,” Pyle says. The pair attributes their success to the culture they created. “We foster a fun atmosphere where people love coming to work,” Pyle says. “We treat our employees like family, and our core value is ‘we care.’” For more information, contact colleen@justletmedoit.com or visit www.justletmedoit.com.

SHOE SHINE GUYS

CORPORATIONS LOVE TO OFFER PERKS THAT ATTRACT AND RETAIN EMPLOYEES and John Early built a business around that premise. His mobile franchise brings shoe-shining, shoerepair and leather restoration services to corporate offices. Talk about convenience: Corporate employees work in their offices while a Shoe Shine Guys crew comes in, collects and shines shoes, then delivers them back the same day. Soon after launching the business, Early quickly landed major accounts like Merrill Lynch and Ford Motor Company. “It wasn’t a hard sell. It’s a win-win for these companies. Human-resource staffs love it. We are adding value to their benefits package, and it costs them nothing,” says Early. “We provide convenience for their employees.”

The Shoe Shine Guys set a regular day to come to a job site. “We walk right into the office, collect shoes, and shine them out in the van. It couldn’t be easier. People hand us shoes right off their feet. They don’t even need to leave their desks. In other offices, a closet or basket is set up in the lobby. They know we are coming. We send an email reminder the day before. On a typical day, we might shine about 40 to 50 pairs of shoes,” Early says.

Another revenue stream is shoe repair and restoration. “This is a very profitable part of the business. We get our franchisees set up with vendors and outsource this service. While we are on-site shining shoes, our customers will bring in shoes and purses that need to be fixed. We collect them, repair them, and bring them back within two weeks. Most of our customers are extremely busy professionals. It’s one less errand for them. They are grateful for the service,” Early says.

Now offering franchise opportunities, Early wants to award territories to a particular type of professional. “Our ideal franchisee is a real people-person, who wants to be an owner-operator and very involved in the business. They have to like people. We’re all about customer service and building relationships.”

For more information, visit www.theshoeshineguys.com

SCHOOLEY MITCHELL

BUSINESS OWNERS HAVE PLENTY TO WORRY ABOUT. THERE'S PAYROLL AND healthcare, hiring and retaining employees, taxes, the economy, keeping ahead of competition, technology breakdowns, and more. So when it comes to paying bills for services like courier and telecom, business owners don’t always have the time to examine invoices or the market with a careful eye. In fact, companies are shelling out a lot more for services than they should. “On average, companies pay 35 percent more than they need to for operational services such as courier, merchant services, and telecom,” says Dennis Schooley, founder of Schooley Mitchell.

Schooley knows how to dig deep when it comes to expenses. He recognized a need for a specialized service for business owners who don’t have the time to inspect all vendor invoices and compare the best offerings for the best deal. He launched Schooley Mitchell, which acts as a go-between for businesses and vendors, helping companies get reduced rates on operational services such as courier, merchant services, and telecom. Working on a contingency basis, the client only pays a portion of the savings realized through Schooley Mitchell’s advice. “We get paid by sharing in the savings. It’s a risk-free service for our clients,” says Schooley.

“We have very successful franchise partners,” says Schooley. “If you’re motivated and willing to go out and talk to people, you will do well.” The company provides all the training and specialized tools needed to run the business.

“This is a very rewarding opportunity. We help people save money. Every business needs our service and we have saved companies millions in some cases,” says Schooley. “The sky’s the limit for franchisees.”

For more information, visit www.schooleymitchell.com

BIRDSiVIDEO

DRONES MAY SEEM LIKE A SPACE-AGE NOVELTY, BUT THEY ARE ALL AROUND us and used in many applications. They’re not just a trend, either. Drones are big business. In fact, the commercial drone services industry is estimated to grow to $8.4 billion by 2025.

A commercial pilot, flight instructor, and executive in the aviation business, Josh Kneifel saw huge potential in drone technology. So he did some research. “I went out and bought a drone for fun and also to see what it could do. Before I knew it, I started a business.”

Kneifel’s company, BirdsiVideo offers an array of services to many different industries. Real estate agents and resorts and hotels hire the company to take aerial shots of properties. Many businesses, like car dealerships and restaurants, can use drone services for promotions and ads. Cities and schools enlist BirdsiVideo to capture community events.

Drones help farms work smarter by providing a bird’s eye view of crops. With drones, farmers can gain insight into heat stress, water use, and plant metabolism. Another side of the business conducts infrastructure inspections, including building facades and roofs, cell towers, wind turbines, bridges and electric power lines. Using specialized equipment, BirdsiVideo uses thermal imaging and other techniques to reduce the time, costs, and risks associated with asset and infrastructure management.

Franchisees get the full training and the certification they need to run the business. “We’re FAA certified and fully insured. We pride ourselves on delivering the best aerial imaging and data consulting services at a fraction of traditional costs,” says Kneifel. “This is a great business opportunity, with huge growth potential.”

For more information, visit www.birdsivideo.com.

BIRTHDAYPAK

TALK TO PAUL BERMAN FOR FIVE MINUTES, AND YOU’LL BE EAGER TO OWN A BirthdayPak franchise. As CEO and co-founder of the company, he exudes passion and enthusiasm for his business. “BirthdayPak is advertising that works,” says Berman. The premise is very targeted direct marketing, that gives the end user valuable gifts to celebrate a life event, their birthday.

BirthdayPak delivers gift cards for high-end restaurants, day spas, and select retailers to the mailboxes of affluent women on their birthdays. “There is a strong emotional element to this. Life events, such as birthdays, are proven triggers for higher spending,” Berman says. “We are giving women an excuse to pamper themselves.”

Franchisees enjoy a straight-forward business model. They go to local businesses and sell the limited gift card spaces that are available. Each BirthdayPak features a maximum of 8 choice businesses. “The average selling price for advertisers is $300 to $400 per month, which is a very palatable price point for local business owners,” Berman says. Each month, a “BirthdayPak” is sent out to a different group of affluent women on their birthdays. “The advertiser reaches a new audience each month. There’s no other platform like this.”

Once a franchisee sells the ads, BirthdayPak corporate takes care of the rest. “We do all the backend work, from graphics, production, and marketing to data analytics. We have a team of really smart people working behind the scenes,” Berman says. After “BirthdayPak” is received, the recipient enters her activation code online which sets the digital part of the business in motion. Reminders to use the gift cards are sent out as well as special messages throughout the year, like a Happy ½ Birthday, Happy Valentine’s Day, Happy Mother’s Day, etc. “That is our secret sauce. Our data takes the guesswork out of the equation and provides a low-cost print and digital solution to our clients. It’s super targeted and incredibly effective.” Berman is looking for motivated investment partners, who are willing to follow a system. “This can be a very rewarding business. We make people feel good on their birthdays. I can’t even tell you the number of “thank you” letters we have received from recipients. It’s a great feeling.” For more information, visit www.BirthdayPakFranchise.com.

LENDIO

BROCK BLAKE HAS ALWAYS HAD AN ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT. RIGHT OUT of college, he won a Shark Tank-like competition which awarded him $50,000 to start his own business venture. Through his journey into business ownership, he came across folks like himself who had great ideas, but needed financing to get them off the ground. Recognizing a need to connect capital with aspiring entrepreneurs, Blake launched Lendio in 2011, with a mission to fuel the American dream of business ownership.

Unlike traditional banks, Lendio offers a variety of loan options through its marketplace model. “In business lending there are many different ways to get a loan, but banks typically offer only one loan product. The application and approval process can be time consuming and frustrating for borrowers,” Blake says. “That’s where we come in. What we do with loans is similar to what Expedia does for travel—everything is in one stop and in one place. Our process allows customers to comparison shop without the hassle.”

Launched in 2017, the Lendio franchising program allows franchisees to reach out to lenders at a local level and act as a matchmaker between lenders and business owners in their community. Lendio franchisees make money by getting a percentage of the loan at closing. Blake describes the opportunity as a “business in a box.” A home-based model, Lendio franchisees get all the training, marketing materials, and tools they need to hit the ground running. However, to be successful at this business, franchisees need a certain set of soft skills. “We are looking for partners that are outgoing, motivated, and have good relationship-building skills.”

A feel-good business, Lendio continues to build on Blake’s mission to make the dream of business ownership easier to achieve.. “We make money by helping people. What could be better than that?”

For more information, visit www.lendio.com.