Fdm june2018

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FranchiseDictionary FranchiseDictionary FranchiseDictionary FranchiseDictionary Going FranchiseDictionary Mobile JUNE 2018




A leap of faith pays off for THE ABC’S OF FRANCHISING Shoe Shine Guys CEO John Early



The hottest thing in franchising


Cousins find success with lobsters and sharks




A former fire chief finds a new way to help people

Mom and daughter duo take cupcakes on the road

BE YOUR OWN BOSS! The World’s First VR Enabled Franchise Tradeshow

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Unleash Your Inner Entrepreneur! The Great American Franchise Expo is the USA’s premier regional franchise expo series. Experience the power of virtual reality and tour the world’s top franchise brands from the expo floor. Educate yourself with the largest and most comprehensive series of seminars on franchising and business ownership. ______________________________________________________ • Choose from hundreds of concepts in dozens of industries. • Meet franchise law experts to guide you through the legal process. • Learn about financing options to fund your new business. • Interact with quality franchise company executives.

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F r a nJune c h i 2018 s e E x3p o

Take Your Business To Go • Unique In-Demand Business • Low Investment • Fast Startup • Mobile Business • Hands-On Training • Recurring Revenue Streams • Continued Marketing Support

Franchise Opportunities Available

John@theshoeshineguys.com • (734) 645-2286 • www.theshoeshineguys.com




kən�tents/ noun

1. Your June lineup of stories and features 2. An amazing resource for franchisees



18 18 18

16 30


9 10 15 18

20 52 60 62

Letter from the Editor Buzzword What’s trending in franchising.


The latest headlines in the franchise industry.

Franchisee of the Month A retired fire chief finds a new way to help people.


How a college sophomore started a multi-million dollar business.


Pete Nash on franchising.


Trending businesses you want to know about.

Last Word Why TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® keeps growing.

June 2018 5




24 Confessions of a Food Truck Addict 26 Going Mobile


What makes food trucks so irresistible.

Bring your business to the customers instead of waiting for them to come to you.

43 Hit the Road 46 Convenience Works

How mobile franchising drives success.

Mobile franchising offers a new level of convenience.

48 Support Staff 50 Overrated: The Wow Factor 54 What’s the Hottest Brand Out There? 56 Franchise Funding 58 Success from the Start The built-in help that comes with a franchise.

When buying a franchise you want to know one thing: Can it make money?

The hottest brand is the one that aligns with your goals.

The do’s and don’ts of financing.

Smart decisions you’ll want to make early in the franchising process.






Trust • • • • • • • •

Low Investment Protected Territories Hands-On Training Online Training Website and SEO support Scheduling Software Customer Call Center Marketing Support

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Franchise Opportunities Available

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on the cover

FranchiseDictionary FranchiseDictionary FranchiseDictionary FranchiseDictionary Going FranchiseDictionary Mobile JUNE 2018




A leap of faith pays off for




The hottest thing in franchising


Cousins find success with lobsters and sharks




A former fire chief finds a new way to help people

Mom and daughter duo take cupcakes on the road

Shoe Shine Guys CEO, John Early, is in the fast lane for franchise success.

FranchiseDictionary Publisher/Editorial Director: FranchiseDictionary Jill Abrahamsen FranchiseDictionary editor@franchisedictionarymagazine.com FranchiseDictionary Executive Editor: Mary Lynn Mitcham Strom FranchiseDictionary THE ABC’S OF FRANCHISING





Associate Editor: Maria Tattoli Web Designer: Audra Defalco

Contributors: Janice Charles, Christopher Conner, Michelle Hummel, Rich LeBrun, Pete Nash, Zeke Rodriguez, Eric Schechterman, Tom Scarda, Susan Scotts, Todd Weiss, Lisa Welko Marketing/Sales: Ruby Valencia (888) 315-9549, ext. 503 ruby@franchisedictionarymagazine.com



Contact us: 197 State Route 18 East Brunswick, NJ 08816 info@franchisedictionarymagazine.com

franchisedictionarymagazine.com 8


Entire contents copyright ©2018


\�le-tər \ noun

1. A welcome note from our editor 2. A brief overview of what’s in this issue

In my family, I’m the shopper. I buy clothes not only for myself, but for my two up-and-coming fashionistas, as well as for my comfort-above-all else husband and son. And that’s not all I buy: I purchase groceries, school supplies, sporting goods, gardening tools, gifts, pet-care items, beauty products, and just about everything else under our roof. No matter what the purchase, I’m always in the market for one thing: Convenience. These days, that’s not hard to find. Businesses are coming to me, making purchasing a product or service as easy as answering my front door. Mobile businesses are in demand, and the franchise industry has caught on to that fact with on-the-go companies that offer a lot more than your standard carpet cleaning or paint job. Now, you can get just about anything from a business on wheels. Need your shoes shined? Call The Shoe Shine Guys, who will come to your home or office to make your favorite oxfords look new again (read about their road to success on page 26). Need a creative idea for your preschooler’s party? Call the FUN BUS® (page 30), and they will bring the party to you. Best part? The action takes place in the bus that’s parked in front of your house, so no mess to clean up. But as great as mobile franchises are for overloaded moms like me, they are even better for franchisees. Without brick-and-mortar locations, franchisees benefit from low start-up costs, high profits, and quick returns on investment. No wonder why so many franchisees are hitting the road (learn more about these out-of-the-box thinkers throughout this issue). And since they’re still part of a franchise model, they get support, training, and systems at their fingertips. Now how convenient is that? All the best,

Jill Abrahamsen Publisher/Editorial Director editor@franchisedictionarymagazine.com

June 2018 9


\ 'bəz-'wərd \ noun

1. A compilation of franchising trends 2. What franchise experts are talking about

Say goodbye to the Old Franchise Model

» 10

COMPARING TODAY’S NEW, IMPROVED FRANCHISE MODEL TO THE mom-and-pop version you used to know is like comparing a smart phone to an old Bell rotary phone—the old model just can’t compete. Franchise outfits industry-wide are dialing in to a slick growing industry. In fact, the industry is expected to expand by 1.9 percent in 2018, compared to 1.6 in 2017, according to the International Franchise Association. So why is franchising expanding? And why is now the perfect time to buy into a franchise? Three key factors are creating a perfect storm for success: Private equity, technology, and ease of ownership are making franchising an easy, low-risk way to make a living. Here’s how.


PRIVATE EQUITY Cash-rich private equity firms are investing heavily into franchise concepts. The influx of money into a small, emerging franchise company enables the franchisor to invest heavily in technology, employees, and systems. This makes the concept more sophisticated and thus appealing to an experienced, professional audience. A fatter bankroll allows companies to hire competent managers to head up franchises. It also allows companies to add support personnel to onboard and train new franchisees. Because the franchisor doesn’t have to sell franchises to pay corporate monthly bills, they can be more selective about who they award licenses to, adding strength to the equity of the company for the long haul. TECHNOLOGY Like the rest of the world, franchises have access to advanced, cutting-edge technology. Even in newer franchises, it’s not uncommon to see state-of-the-art call centers, on-line management systems, automated scheduling systems, GPS, and consumerfacing smart phone apps. This means that franchises can do business more efficiently and often with less effort. Technology also plays a part in customer satisfaction, because customers have convenience at their fingertips. For example, restaurant customers can make reservations on line or order takeout through high-tech apps.

EASE OF OWNERSHIP More capital means more technology—and technology makes it easier to operate many franchises remotely or on a semi-absentee basis. Sure, this adds obvious flexibility, but it also cuts down on risk. As a result, the prospect pool of managers with rich corporate experience becomes larger and gives franchisors more opportunities to award licenses and grow quickly. A franchise system that is enjoying a cash injection from a private equity investment firm has significant competitive advantages over non-franchised businesses and also over poorly operated franchises that may have been passed over by investment firms. So right out of the gate, the franchise is primed for success, likely able to achieve ‘household name’ status in far less time than ever before. For a savvy potential franchise buyer, investing with a well-positioned franchise means an easier exit strategy and a more lucrative payout when the time comes to sell. So, if you’re sitting on some investment money and thinking about changing your career or diversifying your investments, the franchise industry may be the way to do it. There’s never been a better time. With new technology and seasoned executive employees at your disposal, you can dip a toe into ownership, keep your job, and minimize your risk. For more information on franchise trends, please visit Tom@tomScarda.com.

Show Time

JUNE SHOWS The trade show season winds down in June and picks up again in the fall. But before franchisors take the summer off, they close the season with the International Franchise Expo (IFE), a huge, can’t-miss show. The Franchise Dictionary magazine team will be exhibiting at IFE along with hundreds of top franchise brands. You will also find informative seminars and workshops. If you are able to make it to this great event in New York City, please stop by and see us. We’ll be at booth #577. Register at www.ifeinfo.com and use promo code FRANDICT for free admission.

International Franchise Expo www.ifeinfo.com May 31-June 2, 2018 The Javits Center New York, NY

Stop by our booth #577

Franchise Consumer Marketing Conference 2018 www.franchiseconsumermarketing.com

June 19-21, 2018 InterContinental Buckhead Hotel, Atlanta, Georgia Here, industry leaders and marketing innovators come together for two and a half days of strategic sessions, interactive workshops and networking opportunities.

June 2018 11



ple forget facts, but they remember stories. Share an emotionally-engaging story about a real customer having success with your product.

Be the expert. Join

LinkedIn groups and Google+ communities. Share your blog posts and answer questions to establish yourself as an authority.

Be a problem solver.

Make a list of the problems your company solves and share them.

Be consistent: Social Me-

dia posts should be done frequently with this in mind: “Make me think, make me laugh, inspire me, or teach me something new,” —Michelle Hummel Michelle Hummel is CEO of www.webstrategyplus.com


Technology is Moving Managers to Franchising As technology finds its way into every aspect of Corporate America—and the labor force becomes smaller as a result— managers and senior executive positions are often cut due to the increased efficiency that technology brings. Where there were five levels of management between the CEO and staff, there now might be two. More often than not, these mid- to upper-level management positions aren’t replaced, and professionals between the ages of 45 and 65 are left with nowhere to go. Enter the franchise market, which is seeing a surge of interest from all levels of management, especially in professionals between 45 and 65, who see owning a franchise as a

way to secure their futures into retirement. Speed to market, strong ROI, and being able to put professional skills to use are huge attractions to the industry. It’s an ideal marriage because the franchise model is designed to match up to the skills found within this age group. With strong brand recognition, the latest marketing strategies, and a management team of seasoned experts, a franchise owner is given the right tools to make wise decisions. So while technology might be leveling managers in the corporate world, it’s giving birth to franchise owners, who add a new level of professionalism to the industry, and creating new opportunities for success along the way.

Rich LeBrun helps small to medium sized companies with strategic planning, executive coaching and leadership training. Contact Rich at Rich@TheFranchiseConsultingCompany.com

Franchise consultants are often asked, “What is the hottest franchise opportunity today?” With more than 3,000 franchise brands in almost every category and at every investment level, the franchise industry offers an overwhelming amount of choices. Some entrepreneurs want to buy into a brand with strong earning potential, a robust clientele, and one that fits with their lifestyles. Others, however, are passionate about entrepreneurship as a way to give back to the community. Still others are focused on specific financial goals. So, what’s the hottest brand out there? It depends. Some brands grow faster than others. Some categories are sexier than others. Some company cultures are more fun than others. The best brand for you is one that aligns with your goals. So forget about the “hottest” brands. The better question is, “Which franchise brand is right for me?” Here’s how to tell. Know who you are. Ask yourself what Is important to you. What are your personal goals? What are your passions? What about your financial goals? Do your passions align with your financial goals? What is your skill set? Strengths? Weaknesses? Knowing who you are in this business will help you narrow your choices. Don’t worry about experience. Good news: You don’t need to have experience in any potential franchise category. Today’s franchisors provide training and education in every facet of the business models. If they can’t demonstrate how they support franchisees, or if they can’t show you the tools and processes that are in place to prepare and support your business, cross them off of your list. There are too many good franchisors out there to waste your time with disorganized or ill-conceived ones. contactus@webstrategyplus.com

May 2018 13


contactus@webstrategyplus.com FranchiseDictionaryMagazine.com


\�əp- dāt\ noun �

1. The latest headlines in the franchise industry 2. Quick news bites to inspire you

Going Green


GREENE TURTLE SPORTS BAR & GRILLE® SUPPORTS PROTECTING MARINE LIFE BY SKIPPING THE STRAW In an effort to protect marine life—including their mascot, the green turtle—The Greene Turtle Sports Bar and Grille® started going straw-free since World Turtle Day, May 23. More than 500-million plastic straws are used each day in the United States. By going straw-free, The Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille® is saving more than 7-million plastic straws from entering the ecosystem. Biodegradable straws, provided by Aardvark straws, will be available for certain beverages and upon request.

June 2018 15

up•date In brief ATHLETIC SUPPORT

As part of its sixth annual Wisconsin Sports Awards Scholarship Contest, Wisconsin-based Cousins Subs® and its Make It Better Foundation awarded four high school seniors with $20,000 in scholarships. Adam McAvoy of Oshkosh and Stephanie Peitersen of Oconto Falls are the first-place prize winners. Each received a $7,500 scholarship.


To celebrate National Donut Day—Friday, June 1—Duck Donut customers will receive a free classic donut with no purchase necessary. This includes a bare, cinnamon sugar, or powdered-sugar donut. Each customer will also receive a buy-one-get-one-free donut coupon (redeemable before June 17, 2018).


Pet Project COLDWELL BANKER’S NEW AD CAMPAIGN PROMOTES ADOPT-A-PET.COM Get the tissues out. Coldwell Banker’s new ad campaign, “Old Dog, New Dog,” will make you cry. Or, maybe it will make you go out and adopt a dog. The brand’s latest ad captures the heartfelt story of an affiliated agent giving back to her community by helping shelter animals find homes through the “Homes for Dogs Project,” a joint effort between Coldwell Banker brand and Adopt-a-Pet.com. “Old Dog, New Dog” tells the story of a local pet-adoption event, part of the annual “Homes for Dogs Project,” from Coldwell Banker and


Adopt-a-Pet.com. At this event, a real estate agent is working with a volunteer who points out an older dog among the puppies. As the volunteer explains that older dogs have a harder time getting adopted, a young girl sees the old dog and is immediately drawn to him. Later, at a tea party in the girl’s home, she makes a toast to her best friend, Cooper, the rescue dog. Cooper is dressed in his Sunday best, his outfit complete with a top hat and tie, and both Cooper and the girl are beaming as they take in the joys of their new home.

For the Birds The Wild Bird Centers of America, Inc., a specialty retail bird store franchisor, recently launched its newly revamped website and e-store: www.wildbird.com.

The colorful new site allows Wild Bird Centers to reach out to a larger audience while enhancing the shopping experience for customers.

For Lease

5,000 - 23,340 SF Industrial/Flex

Possible retail or wholesaler 11,640 vehicles per day on Market St. NJ Transit stop at building


For More Information: John Sawyer, Sales Associate 201 488 5800 x195 • jsawyer@naihanson.com

235 Moore Street • Hackensack, NJ 07601 | 10 Lanidex Plaza West • Parsippany, NJ 07054 | naihanson.com

June 2018 17

fran·chi·see \ fran-chī-zē, -chə-\noun

1. An outstanding franchise owner 2. A retired fire chief finds a new way to help people





By Jill Abrahamsen

ou might not think a career in public safety would necessarily prepare you to manage a business, but it did for FASTSIGNS® owner, Russ Mason. As Fire Chief, Mason relied on his leadership and relationship-building skills to be effective as the top decision maker for Central County Fire and Rescue in St. Peters, MO. Those same skills led him to success in business ownership. Working his way up the ranks from Firefighter to Fire Chief, Mason dedicated his life to protecting the community. During his tenure, he made it a priority to build relationships with community leaders. My job was to keep things safe. “You don’t want to meet people for the first time during a crisis.” After 38 years on the job, Mason was ready for a change. He was interested in franchising, and did his due diligence in finding a good fit. “I looked at all different brands, but kept coming back to FASTSIGNS.® They have great systems in place. The level of what they give you to get started could never be done on your own. My wife and I call it a ‘business in a box.’” Taking risks is nothing new to firefighters, but making the move to business ownership was more of a calculated risk for Mason. “The training and 18






Former fire chief, Russ Mason and his wife Jan (1), help their community with their FASTSIGNS® business. The Masons donate services to local charities including Ella’s Lemonade Stand (2) and the Crisis Nursery (3). They also offer free welcome home banners for returning service personnel (4). Mason spent 38 years in public service (5) before moving to business ownership.

support corporate provides is comprehensive. It doesn’t stop after the initial training. They have tons of on-line classes you can refer back to as you’re running the business. They help in every step of the process, including negotiating lease agreements. It was a smooth transition,” he says. Mason continues to support Central County Fire and Rescue by donating services for their fundraising events. He is also proud to provide “Welcome Home” banners to returning service people. “It feels good to give back,” Mason adds. Four months after opening in December 2015, Mason brought his wife, Jan, on board to handle local sales and marketing. “She is an active member of the chamber of commerce and that relationship

has been instrumental in getting our name out there to local businesses.” Giving back is equally important to Jan, and she has worked with charities, including St. Louis Crisis Nursery, Community Living, Inc. and Habitat for Humanity. She uses the business to help these charities raise money. “While we can’t give to every single charity, it’s nice to help the ones that are close to our hearts,” Mason adds. FASTSIGNS® now offers a reduced franchisee fee of $23,750—a savings of 50 percent—to first responders and veterans, including paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers, sheriffs, and firefighters. For more information, visit www.fastsigns.com

June 2018 19

en·tre·pre·neur änn-trə-p(r)ə-'nər\noun

1. One who manages and assumes the risks of a business 2. Recognizing a need paid off at an early age for Joe Keeley


By Jill Abrahamsen very incoming freshman has success in mind when he heads

off to college. For most, that success isn’t usually realized until well after graduation. But in Joe Keeley’s case, it worked a little differently. Before his junior year, Keeley laid the groundwork for College Nannies Sitters & Tutors®—now the largest in-home childcare and tutoring company in the country. Back in 2001, just finishing his freshman year at the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minnesota, Keeley was looking for a summer job to make some extra money. He came across an ad that said “hockey player wanted to care for two active boys.” It was enticing for the student-athlete. “Only in hockey-crazed Minnesota would you see such an ad,” he recalls. But after talking to the family, Keeley realized that they were looking for much more than just someone to play hockey with their boys; they were looking for a role model. “I was their nanny, chauffeur, coach, and referee. It was a brilliant idea on the family’s part to recruit a hockey player. The boys looked up to me and listened. My influence on the boys made them a stronger family,” he adds. Neighbors took notice of Keeley and soon inquired about friends who could work with their children. At the same 20


time, Keeley’s friends started asking if his employers knew other families that needed help. “That’s when the light bulb went off for me,” Keeley says. As a business student specializing in entrepreneurship, Keeley knew that great businesses were started out of a need. He recognized that need and, in his sophomore year of college (2001), started the first College Nannies, Sitters & Tutors®. Offering franchising opportunities since 2005, the company is now in 30 states with 185 territories awarded to 82 franchisees. In 2016, Bright Horizons Family Solutions® purchased the business from Keeley. Now serving as general manager, Keeley has everyone wondering what his next move might be. “I am still very much engaged and involved in this business. There is still so much potential. As long as people keep having kids and math is still hard, there will be demand,” he says. Keeley attributes the brand’s success to keeping true to the core values he set for the company early on. College Nannies,

College Nannies Sitters and Tutors® employs a network of more than 5,500 nannies, tutors, and babysitters. Founder Joe Keeley started the business as a college sophomore.

“Doing well and doing good

are not mutually exclusive.”

Sitters & Tutors® helps families find the perfect nanny for them. “We provide positive role models for their children, not just childcare. Our goal is to make families stronger and our franchisees successful. Doing well and doing good are not mutually exclusive,” he adds. While the core values of the company haven’t changed, the company has grown and added technology over the years. “We offer babysitting and tutoring services and use an app to help families find qualified, screened sitters at a moment’s notice,” Keeley says.

Keeley feels very strongly about to whom he’ll award territories. “They need to be aligned with the purpose of building stronger families. This is a great business for people who have strong ideals and like to interact with their community,” he adds. As for Keeley, he is not really willing to brag about what he accomplished at such a young age. “I’d love to think this was all a great master plan, but it was more organic in nature,” he says. For more information, visit www.collegenanniesandtutors.com

June 2018 21




June 2018 23

I can’t believe I just ate all that. But it was sooooo good.





By Jill Abrahamsen ven if I’m not the slightest bit hungry, I simply cannot pass by a

food truck without ordering something. These restaurants-on-wheels are irresistible to me. My addiction stems from childhood, when the ice cream truck drove me wild. At the sound of its bells ringing, I would dart into the street to flag the driver down. My parents didn’t always appreciate my enthusiasm. Practical to a fault, they would say, “But we have ice cream in the freezer.” But whatever was in the freezer could not compare. Getting something from the ice cream truck was just better. It wasn’t so much the ice cream that was so special, it was the experience. The idea of getting anything from a colorful store on wheels was thrilling. Now, as an adult, I get that same excitement from food trucks. Like the ice cream trucks from my youth, they promise something new and fun, and I’m always enticed by the mystery of what’s cooking inside. The food is surprisingly good. Today’s food trucks offer fare that’s way more sophisticated than your typical burgers and hot dogs, the old mobile standbys. You can find everything from Tex-Mex to healthy salads, smoothies, even crepes. In some cases, old staples may even get re-invented, as is the case with Kono Pizza’s cone-shaped pizza. (Yes, cone-shaped pizza is a thing. Check it out at http://konousa.com.) Franchisors are hopping on the food wagon and introducing some interesting

options for investors. Without expensive build-outs or high rents, food trucks offer an attractive alternative to typical brickand-mortar locations. Another bonus? You can bring your business to your customers—instead of waiting for them to come to you. Street festival or parade in town? There’s bound to be a hungry crowd. Food trucks are so popular, folks are willing to wait in long lines just to get a taste of what’s inside. Beyond the food, the sights and sounds coming from these trucks make you feel like mini carnivals are rolling by. Many trucks play festive music and offer interactive experiences. Wrapped in colorful graphics, the attention-grabbing trucks serve as mobile billboards, too. A restaurant and marketing vehicle all in one— now, that’s pretty clever. For customers, the mobile concept is super convenient. But it also makes business ownership flexible and affordable. Franchisees aren’t restricted to restaurant hours; you can work full- or part-time and even keep a seasonal schedule. Best of all, you get to serve joyful, enthusiastic customers—ones who don’t need permission from their parents to indulge in a treat.

June 2018 25




Bring your business to the customers instead of waiting for them to come to you.


By Jill Abrahamsen

he idea of a mobile business is hardly a new concept. Long before Amazon and the Internet, folks received daily visits from on-the-move professionals. There were ice deliveries, milk carting, even house calls from doctors. While times may change, convenience is always in demand. Today, mobile franchises may be the hottest things on wheels. With low overhead and quick startups, these businesses offer affordable buy-ins and high-profit-margin potential. Home services, like landscaping, painting, and window washing, continue to enjoy steady growth in mobile franchising, but now innovative models are coming on the scene from many business sectors. Here, we talk to mobile franchisors who are ruling the road. Take The Shoe Shine Guys, for example, a shoe service on wheels that caters to corporate executives. Then there’s FUN BUS®, where preschool gyms are built inside old school buses and drivers bring the fun to energetic kids everywhere. We also talk to two “Shark Tank” winners. The mother-daughter team behind Wicked Good Cupcakes are hitting the road with their “cupcakes in jars,” while the real-life cousins of Cousins Maine Lobster bring fresh lobster well beyond New England. Considering hitting the road with a mobile business? The out-of-the-box thinkers on the following pages will tell you how they put their wheels in motion. So start your engines and rev up your Google maps—after all, you never know where inspiration might lead.



John Early


JANET EARLY WAS A LITTLE CONCERNED, BACK IN 2010, WHEN HER husband, John, came home and told her he was done with his 25-year career in the financialservices industry. He had just put in his notice. “Sitting at a meeting one day in my corporate job, it was like a light went off. I just knew I was done,” says John. Even more concerning, he didn’t have a new career plan in place. “I asked him what he thought he’d do next and he said ‘I don’t know, maybe I’ll shine shoes,’” says Janet. “So I said to him, ‘as long as you are praying about it, and you think that is the direction in which we should go, then we will be fine.’” Shoe-shining is not exactly what most people think of when they think of lucrative careers, but John had been contemplating a model that could make it a very profitable business. “I’d actually been thinking about starting a shoe-shine business for a really long time. Quite a few years earlier, my younger brother had gone around shining shoes in offices to make a few extra bucks. I kept thinking about how I could take it to the next level,” says John. Take it to the next level, he did. Just four months after giving his corporate notice, John launched The Shoe Shine Guys, a mobile franchise that brings shoe-shining, shoe-repair and leather restoration services to corporate offices. “I bought a truck, found some customers, and started shining shoes,” he says. Talk about convenience: Corporate employees work in their offices while John’s crew comes in, collects and shines shoes, then delivers them back the same day. John’s corpo-

June 2018 27

COVER STORY Emerson Middle School in Livonia, MI, had a shoe drive which contributed to the Shoe Shine Guys ongoing shoe collection for charity (left and below). John at work in the fully-equipped truck (right). Excellent customer service is priority-one for The Shoe Shine Guys (far right).

John Early


rate sales and marketing background helped him grow the business right out of the gate, and he 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 John. “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’s the ultimate in convenience. 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,” John 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,” John says. “We also do corporate events and even weddings. In those cases, we charge a flat fee and set up a booth. People love it. It’s kind of a novelty.” Now offering franchise opportunities, John 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



“I bought a truck, found some

customers and started shining shoes.” and building relationships.” Training is two weeks and includes one week in Michigan and another on site at the franchisee’s location. “We come out and teach how to set up the business and build a customer base.” John was so happy with his career changes, he started writing a daily blog about it. A publisher took notice of his writing and asked him to create a book. “I never did anything like that before, but I decided to go for it. Writing it all down was very cathartic,” he says. The book, 10 Bits of Wisdom From The Shoe Shine Guy: A Transformed Life, (https://www.amazon.com/Bits-Wisdom-Shoe-Shine-Guy/dp/1943092370) describes how the financial-services industry prepared him for business. John talks about his transformation and the impact it had on his life and the lives of those around him—especially his wife and kids. Community service has alway been important to the Early family, and they use the business as a vehicle to help others. “We collect used shoes and donate them to charities worldwide. It’s an easy way to make a difference,” says John. As for John, he has no regrets about leaving his corporate job. “It was the best thing I ever did. At some point you realize that there is more to life than climbing the corporate ladder,” says John. “You have to enjoy what you’re doing and be able to spend quality time with family. This business allows you to do that.” For more information, visit http://theshoeshineguys.com/how-it-works

June 2018 29


Stacey Kimmins



your business does double duty as a moving billboard. And as much as a wrapped van can grab attention, imagine what a shiny, bright green, 45-foot school bus with colorful graphics can do. “Many of our leads come from folks who saw our buses on the road or parked at a preschool,” says Stacey Kimmins, CEO of FUN BUS®. This business in a bus is the ultimate in mobile franchising. It brings fun, fitness, and learning to children in schools, daycares, at birthday parties, and special events. FUN BUS® is an interactive program that fosters a love of fitness and focuses on developing gross motor skills. Kimmins purchased the business from the original founder in 2014. She saw huge potential and FUN BUS® is on the road to significant growth with a shiny green fleet of 36 buses in 10 states. With the slogan of “passion and fun equals profitability,” Kimmins seeks franchisees who want to focus on growing the business to multiple buses. These retired school buses have been refurbished and transformed into magical play gyms, complete with slides, tunnels, and equipment, music, and lesson plans to get started. Franchisees reap the benefits of quick start-up, multiple revenue streams, reoccurring revenue and strong scalability. Plus, being mobile means no expensive leases, so owners enjoy low overhead and quick ROI. But according to Kimmins, the best part of FUN BUS® ownership is, “Having the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of young children by providing a healthy and safe environment for skill development and smile creation!” For more information, visit www.funbuses.com/franchise



FUN BUS® franchising offers a business in a bus. With this turn-key model, franchisees are hitting the road with their businesses in no time. Preschoolers get to have a blast while developing gross motor skills with colorful, safe fitness equipment (above left). The gang from the South Shore, MA location, pose for a picture after an afternoon of fun.

“It feels great to make a

positive impact on children.”

June 2018 31


Matthew Rivera



can bring big returns. Matthew Rivera learned this when he became the first franchisee for The Inspection Boys®. He liked the business model so much, he purchased the company from the original founder within a year. “I saw a huge opportunity. The Inspection Boys® has enormous potential, with low investment, big margins, and quick ROI. I knew I could make this really successful,” says Rivera. While franchising is fairly new to Rivera, the inspection business is something he knows well. He has worked as an inspector for several years and has been running an inspection school (nyhomeinspectorschool.com). “I know the ins and outs of this business and what you need for success,” he says. Being new has advantages, too. “We can award huge territories with no competition.” The company is on the cutting edge when it comes to marketing. “We keep up with the industry and know how to get leads. We are using the latest in search engine optimization (SEO) and social media to promote the brand. Gone are the days when all the leads came from Realtors. The industry is cutting out the middleman and going towards Web services like Zillow. It’s constantly changing,” he adds. Rivera is looking for owner-operators who want to be involved in the business. “Whether they are working the jobs or managing the daily operations, they need to be hands-on. We are all about service and teamwork.” Franchisees come to New York for a week of training and then Rivera’s team flies to the new territory to get the franchisee up and running. “We give them all the support they need and more,” he says. “Their success is our success.” For more information, visit https://inspectionboys.com 32


Scott Walker



if you have children or pets. Oblivious to their surroundings, kids often come charging through slider screens. Dogs can be big culprits, too. If Fido sees something exciting outside, he’ll put a hole in the screen without considering the consequences. And while fixing screens is relatively easy in the scope of home repairs, you still need to find the right person to do the job. Screenmobile® solves that problem. They come to a customer’s house and fix the screen right on the spot. “We make it easy for homeowners. They just have to pick up the phone. For potential franchisees, it’s a very simple model and a business that’s in demand,” says Scott Walker, president and CEO of Screenmobile®. Walker got his start by helping in his father’s handyman service. After getting dozens of inquiries about fixing screens, he realized he could create a separate business that focused solely on screens. At first, Walker built a screening table and started repairs right out of his garage. “I like to compare our company to Apple and Microsoft, since we’re all California-based companies that started in garages,” he jokes. He launched the brand in 1984 using a tent trailer and started fixing screens right on the spot. “It’s a truly mobile business, and the best part is that our vehicles are constantly getting us jobs. I can’t tell you how many leads we get simply by doing work outside a customer’s home,” he adds. After 34 years in business, the company now has 110 locations in 23 states. Walker attributes the company’s long-term success to a simple formula: convenience and professional service for customers and low overhead and high-margins for franchisees. “We offer tremendous support and education for our franchisees. It’s an investment in long-term success for all,” says Walker. For more information, visit www.screenmobile.com

June 2018 33


Jesse Johnstone



car is not exactly a welcome surprise. Often these fixes mean replacing furniture or leaving your car at the dealership. Canadian-based Fibrenew® offers an on-site solution for these problems. They come to the customer, match the color and get it taken care of in the same day. “It’s not just a residential service. We restore and repair leather and vinyl upholstery on boats, airplanes, restaurant furniture, dental chairs, office furniture, you name it,” says Jesse Johnstone, vice president of operations at Fibrenew®. You might think that it would take years of training to master this skill set, but Johnstone says he teaches franchisees everything they need to know to operate the business in the initial training period. “While having some type of mechanical ability is definitely recommended, there is no special background required,” he says. “The person should enjoy working with his hands and have some creative skills.” Most franchisees are owner-operators and hopefully enjoy being out and about all day. “This is not for someone who likes to sit behind a desk for long periods. A good business acumen and people skills also help franchisees succeed. This is the perfect position for someone who likes to exercise every muscle career-wise,” says Johnstone. The Toronto-based business started in 1985 and began franchising in 1987, slowly pushing through Canada and then New Zealand. Territories were first awarded in the U.S. in 1999, and there are now more than 245 locations worldwide. Johnstone believes the mobile model is the key to success. “It keeps the overhead way down. The highest costs for franchisees are the vehicles. Our franchisees can choose whatever vehicles they like. Some have full-sized vans and others have MINI Coopers. A franchisee in New York City runs his business with just a bicycle and a utility trailer,” he says. Fibrenew is a business to feel good about. “We keep items from going into landfills. You have to be happy about that,” Johnstone says. For more information, visit www.fibrenew.com 34


Reddybearmobile.com 516-299-8007

Cimberly Molbegat TEDDY BEAR MOBILE

FEELING GOOD ABOUT WHAT YOU DO IS A BIG MOTIVATOR FOR PEOPLE who go into business for themselves. And feeling good is what Teddy Bear Mobile is all about. With the goal of “making smiles happen,” the business started as a way to give back to the community. Designed to be a part-time operation, Teddy Bear Mobile offers a create-your-own-stuffed-animal service that travels to schools, parties, events, and fund raisers. “The applications are endless. We’ve done events at zoos, county fairs, corporate events and camps,” says Cimberly Molbegat, who founded the company. Molbegat is looking for investors who align with her mission. “We know after speaking with someone for 15 minutes if he or she will work out. This is not a business that will replace a job. While several people are making a considerable income running Teddy Bear Mobile, profits are not our focus. This is a low-cost investment that offers a feel-good opportunity, not a get-rich-quick type of deal,” she says. Twenty-five percent of all proceeds from the company’s STUFF CANCER Bear is donated directly to pediatric cancer charities and blood-cancer swabbing initiatives. With every five animals purchased, the company donates a stuffed animal to a child undergoing treatment in a local New York area hospital. After 12 years in business, the company has donated thousands of stuffed animals to children undergoing treatment of serious illnesses. The company has perfected its model and is now offering licensing opportunities. “We provide extensive training and support. We train investors in every aspect of the business, from building target lists for prospecting to marketing. We’re with them every step of the way,” Molbegat says. For more information, visit www.teddybearmobile.com

June 2018 35


Tracey Noonan & Dani Vilagie WICKED GOOD CUPCAKES

LOOKING TO FIND A WAY TO SPEND MORE QUALITY TIME TOGETHER, TRACEY Noonan and daughter Dani Vilagie, enrolled in cake-decorating classes back in 2010. Not only did they get the mother-daughter bonding they craved, but taking that class started the Massachusetts natives on a journey that would end with running a multi-million dollar cupcake business. The pair’s baked treats got such rave reviews from friends and family that it inspired the duo to open the first Wicked Good Cupcakes shop in 2011. In Boston slang, “Wicked” means awesome, and the product is true to its name. Word got out that the mother-daughter team had a special product and the orders started rolling in. With requests to ship these fresh-baked cupcakes all over the country, they needed to find a way to keep them fresh longer. The solution? Mason jars. They keep the cupcakes fresh for 10 days, and you can freeze them for six months. The duo hit it big when they presented their business on the ABC reality show, “Shark Tank.” They struck a royalty deal with Shark Kevin O’Leary (a.k.a., Mr. Wonderful), who helped grow Wicked Good Cupcakes to one of the largest cupcake brands in the United States. In 2018, the duo started offering mobile franchising opportunities. Still baked from scratch at the Hanover, Massachusetts headquarters, the cupcakes are shipped to franchisees, ready-to-go and packaged in the collectible mason jars. “We have it down to a science. There are no baking skills required, but franchisees should be personable and enjoy being out and about to be effective in this business.” The mobile model has been very well received. “We’ve been to weddings, festivals, corporate events, you name it. Customers love the cupcakes—and the jars,” says Noonan. For Tracey and Dani, it’s been a sweet ride and a wicked-profitable one at that. For more information, visit www.wickedgoodcupcakes.com



June 2018 37


Sabin Lomac & Jim Tselikis


REMINISCING ABOUT THEIR CHILDHOOD IN MAINE, COUSINS SABIN LOMAC and Jim Tselikis look back fondly on family gatherings and the mainstay dish that was front and center at every barbecue, holiday, and pool party: Lobster. Food, family, and business opportunities were the topics of conversations between the two back in 2011, when Jim made a visit to Sabin at his home in Los Angeles. Struck by the food-truck craze that had taken Los Angeles by storm, they decided to take on a “passion project.” They pooled their resources and debuted the first Cousins Maine Lobster truck in 2012, selling traditional lobster rolls, lobster tacos, tater tots, whoopie pies, and other traditional Maine fare. “We make Maine lobster an affordable luxury,” Tselikis says. “We were hoping to break even, but before we even opened the truck, we had more than 75 people waiting in line,” he says. That first evening generated $7,000 in sales and an offer to be on “Shark Tank.” They refused at first, but eventually appeared on the show and made a deal with Shark Barbara Corcoran, who recommended franchising as a way to grow the business. “We didn’t even know what franchising was at that time,” says Tselikis. Right out of the gate, the pair had thousands of requests from potential franchise partners. They started out with a select group of 10. “We didn’t want to grow too quickly. At the end of the day, we want good, ethical people to become part of our family. People who will treat this business like it’s their baby, just as we do,” Tselikis says. Training is a thorough process including approximately six days in Los Angeles, where franchisees learn how to run the business. Franchisees then head to Maine where they fish with Maine Lobstermen, and learn about Maine’s unique sustainability practices. “The Maine lobster industry is the only certified sustainable lobster fishery in the world. We want our franchisees to become experts on the subject, and there’s no better way than experiencing it firsthand,” Tselikis says. Now with 32 trucks in 16 cities, the Cousins have added brick-and-mortar locations and are franchising those as well. “It’s high-end food in a fast-casual setting. We want everyone to have that real Maine lobster experience wherever they are,” Tselikis adds. For more information, visit www.cousinsmainelobster.com 38


June 2018 39


Gerod C. Black


HAVING YOUR CAR DETAILED AND HAND-WASHED IS AN AFFORDABLE luxury, but finding time to do it is not always easy. Recognizing that, the folks at Johnny on the Spot Mobile Wash (JOTS) created a solution. They come to where the cars are—offices, corporate events, country clubs, golf courses, fundraising events, you name it—and clean cars on the spot. The service extends to RVs, boats, even airplanes. “What’s nice for customers is that all they need to do is order the service and the rest is taken care of,” says Gerod C. Black, CEO and co-founder. “So while customers are working, playing golf, or relaxing by the pool, their car is being cleaned, with no disruption to their day,” he adds. With a menu of services, customers can choose from a basic wash, a deluxe wash with detailing “the Johnny Signature,” or specialty services like ceramic coating. Catering to high-end vehicles, JOTS does everything by hand, so no worries about the scratches you might get from traditional drive-through car washes. Franchisees should have a business sense and good people skills. “The best use of an owner’s time is to be out developing relationships,” Black adds. Franchisees can partner with corporations, country clubs, and golf courses, and they can schedule regular times for washing. “This means repeat business. Our ‘Johnny Club’ offers incentive to use the service regularly,” he adds. Training includes a week in Oklahoma City, where franchisees will learn how to manage daily operations, plan routes, and learn the business. Vans are outfitted with a generator, power washer, and a 200-gallon water tank. “It’s truly a turn-key operation. We give franchisees all they need for success,” Black says. For more information, visit www.jotsmobilewash.com



June 2018 41


REFRESH? Champagne tastes? Beer Budget?

WE CREATE FOR YOU: BRANDING / LOGOS / BROCHURES WEBSITES / IMAGING / ADS / SEO - SEM Mention “The Franchise Dictionary” for a complimentary assessment.


Hit The Road I

How Mobile Franchising Drives Success

f your idea of a mobile business is confined to flower or pizza deliveries, it’s time to get up to speed. Mobile franchises run the gamut from lawn-care to dog-washing. And right from the start, these on-the-go businesses are headed for success, thanks to low start-up costs, minimal employees, flexible hours, and easy access to customers. Strapped for time, customers appreciate convenience now more than ever. Mobile franchises bring all kinds of services right to a customer’s doorsteps. Environmentally friendly lawn-care, house painting, appliance repair, food trucks, dog washing, even arcades can be run from the road. According to the International Franchise Association, mobile franchising is one of the fastest growing sectors in the franchise market. Whether your interests are in food services, home-care, auto-care, or almost anything else, there’s a mobile franchise opportunity out there for you. Here are a few categories that are performing well—and projected to do even better.

by Lisa Welko, Certified Franchise Executive


June 2018 43

Hit The



Ways to go Mobile

» Pest Control

WHAT THEY DO: Bugs might be trouble for homeowners, but for entrepreneurs they mean big business. Mobile pest-control services are flourishing. With one call, a pest-control professional will arrive at your home and work to eliminate mosquitoes, bees, rodents, termites, tics, and birds. Pest-control business owners often hire and train professionals to get rid of the bugs and then run their businesses from a small office or home. INDUSTRY FORECAST: According to statista.com, the pest control services industry is expected to grow by 4.5 percent in 2019 and even more later on. “A Strategic Analysis of the U.S. Structural Pest Control Industry,” a report conducted by Specialty Consultants, predicts that the industry will reach $10 billion in service revenue in 2020, due to an increased demand for mosquito and tick control, as well a growing need to fight off bed bugs, spiders, and ants.

» Landscaping

WHAT THEY DO: Landscape franchises provide landscape care and maintenance services to residential homes and commercial properties. These companies take care of the grounds, cutting grass, mulching, and trimming and planting trees, shrubs, and flowers. Many landscapers also help with outdoor construction, building decks, fences, retaining walls, gardens, and walkways. In the winter, they often switch gears and offer snow-plowing services. INDUSTRY FORECAST: The 2017 National Association of Landscape Professionals’ Industry Growth Initiative, a study by Harris Poll, found 52 percent of homeowners contract professionals to help their landscapes look better; 41 percent to save time; 30 percent to enjoy their yards more; and 12 percent for the environmental benefits offered by professionals. The 2017 “Landscaping Services U.S. Market Research Report,” by IBISWorld, shows that the landscaping industry has annual revenues of $82 billion, with an annual growth of 4.8 percent. We’ll give this a green thumbs up.



» Fitness

WHAT THEY DO: We know, we know. You have the best intentions but you just can’t seem to get yourself to the gym, right? No problem—and no more excuses, either. Now, the gym comes to you. A trainer arrives at your door, brings all the equipment, and you get to workout in the convenience of your own home. INDUSTRY FORECAST: According to IBISWorld, the fitness market will grow at 1.5 percent between now and 2022, and franchise brands will grow about twice that fast. Talk about pumping you up!

» Food Trucks

WHAT THEY DO: Mobile food franchises bring food to various neighborhoods, and nothing’s off limits. Food trucks deliver ethnic cuisine, hamburgers, pizza, salads, smoothies, and ice cream. Some trucks store previously prepared food and sell it from the vehicle. Others trucks are set up so a chef cooks dishes on the spot. INDUSTRY FORECAST: In 2015, the U.S. food-truck industry was valued at $856.7 million, according to statista.com. The industry is forecasted to increase by another $140 million by 2020. Are you hungry yet?

Listen to Lisa: Mobile franchising The investment is low. You can buy into a mobile franchise for generally less than $200,000. Given the low number of employees, the chances of decent returns are good. If you’re new to franchising, a mobile business is a great way to dip your toe in without expensive build-outs and a ton of moving parts. Work could be seasonal. Some mobile franchise businesses are seasonal, which can be a turn off for candidates. But generally, these businesses aren’t paying 12 months of rent or employee salaries either. This can mean more money per hour and a quicker return. You also have more time to plan and market.. Low-rate loans are available. With prices for mobile franchises around $80,000 to $200,000, you’ll likely be able to secure a low-rate equipment loan to finance some of your purchase. Banks and online lenders offer equipment financing that is secured by the vehicle or equipment. Make sure to work with a qualified lender who knows the industry. Lisa Welko helps aspiring business owners determine which specific franchise opportunities align with their strengths, goals, and values. For more information, visit www.integrityfranchisegroup.com

June 2018 45

Mobile Franchising:


WORKS by Christopher Connor


o matter which business you’re in, you can bank on one simple fact: Today’s consumer wants more and more convenience. Residential and commercial customers want products and services quickly and conveniently, and they have a hard time waiting for just about anything. The days of going to a store and aimlessly walking around aisles are gone—who has that kind of time? Now, shoppers want to order goods and have them swiftly appear on their front doorsteps. Fortunately, the franchise industry understands the value of convenience, and almost in every category, businesses are altering their original models and creating mobile platforms that deliver it. Mobile franchises literally take their businesses on the road for the sole purpose of making life more convenient for customers. And across the board, franchises have been able to adopt to mobile platforms effectively and create models that can operate businesses entirely from vehicles—and profit greatly from doing so.



“Businesses are altering

their original models and creating mobile platforms that deliver convenience.”

There’s good news for franchisees, too. They can start a mobile business without high-fixed expenses–the initial investment tends to be $100k or less—and realize a strong return in a shorter time period. The mobile franchise model has particular upside for a motivated, sales-and-marketing driven franchisee, who is willing to go out and get the business. Sales are no longer beholden to the business location; a franchisee can be as aggressive as he would like in finding new customers and generating new business. There are two distinct categories of mobile franchises—one that is focused on the residential consumer and one that is focused on the commercial consumer. Neither is necessarily better than the other, but each has unique characteristics and operating models, which make it a better fit for certain franchisees depending on personalities and experience. What’s most impressive, though, is the wide variety of concepts that have hit the road. ON-THE-MOVE RESIDENTIAL Residential-oriented mobile franchises are businesses that are focused on individual buyers. This could mean mobile technology-fixing, such as mobile computer or iPad repair for Mr. and Mrs. Jones. But these think-outside-the-box businesses go well beyond the norm. The Brake Squad, for example, provides on-the-go brake-repair services to residential customers who have two cars and live in the suburbs. The Shoe Shine Guys bring shoe-shine services to customers at home. Mobile residential service franchises are dependent on consistent marketing to drive new customers on a regular basis. This is a great business concept for go-getters who thrive on getting the word out. They are reliant on excellent

franchise marketing systems to keep leads coming their way, as new customers are a huge part of their business success. ON-THE-GO COMMERCIAL The commercial mobile market works more on developing relationships with fewer customers, but maintaining those relationships over time. This business concept depends greatly on repeat business and tends to grow business with a smaller number of overall customers. In this version of mobile franchising, technology, systems, and operating consistency can determine the success of the business. Dynamic Dental, a dental-tool repair company, has gone mobile with a custom vehicle designed to carry the equipment, technology, and inventory needed to go to a dental office and repair equipment right there on site. This model allows a franchisee to get into business at a low cost and build a consistent, residual revenue model by providing convenient and professional services to dentists at their offices. Similarly, the ProChef model brings knife repair and restaurant-supply services to restaurants on a mobile and regular basis. By establishing a route of service, the franchisee develops relationships with a group of restaurants in their market and then sets up a consistent route to visit those restaurants each week or month depending on volume. Finelines Auto Painting provides on-site repair work so that a car dealer doesn’t have to staff a full-time painting staff at the dealership. All of these, Dynamic Dental, Finelines, and Prochef have had incredible unit-level volume validation thanks to strong operating franchisees who are able to grow and develop business with only a handful of customers. Contact Chris at chris.conner@fmsfranchise.com

June 2018 47

Support Staff The unique part of franchising is that you get built-in help—so make sure you use it.


By Janice Charles

hile franchises may not be a one-size-fits-all proposition,

people often purchase them for the same reason: Franchisors provide systems and support, which helps newbies and veterans jump start their businesses. Ongoing support also helps businesses grow.



“When considering

a franchise purchase, make franchisor support part of your research.”

This means franchisees should have a huge advantage over small-business owners from the get-go. But the reality is sometimes they don’t because potential franchisees overlook the importance of this support. Big mistake. In fact, a franchisor’s ongoing support should be a huge selling point in your franchise purchase —and lack of it, should be a deal breaker. BUYER BEWARE When considering a franchise purchase, make franchisor support part of your research. Ask upfront, “Tell me about the support you provide for my initial training as well as ongoing support.” Also, ask to talk to the operations director, where you will be operating your business, to get a feel for how he supports existing franchisees. These days, many franchisors are cutting positions or “trimming the fat” in their organizations. Unfortunately, the first to go is franchisee support—and it’s also the last place anyone should cut. Support is why franchisees buy into a franchise in the first place. Along with speaking to franchisors, speak with current franchisees. They are a wealth of information and can provide honest perspectives that you can’t find anywhere else. During your “due diligence” period, ask franchisees about the support they receive from franchisors. Inquire about how existing franchisees

work together and how the franchisor facilitates this collaboration. Also, get an understanding of how many franchisees the staff supports. Is it realistic? If it’s 50 franchisees to one support person, then you know the system is flawed. Be specific in your questions so you can avoid surprises as an owner. WORKING TOGETHER Once you are up and rolling, your franchisor should be coaching you on a regular basis. That support should seamlessly help you to duplicate the franchise model you purchased. This support can be as little as once a month, but always know exactly who to call if unexpected problems arise, so you can seek help on a moment’s notice. Once you have a support contact in place, discuss how to maximize efficiencies in your new business so you can maximize profitability. Work with your franchisor on your profit-and-loss statement, and ask for areas of opportunity based on what he sees with other franchisees. Never be afraid to inquire about—or demand—support from your franchisor. Your franchise royalties entitle you to this service. As a business owner, you want to do everything you can to make your business profitable—and the more successful you are, the more successful your franchisor is, too.

Janice Charles is a franchise consultant in Broomfield, Colorado, with more than 35 years of franchising experience in operations and marketing. She was raised in a McDonald’s franchise family. Her father, Bob Charles, invented the “Happy Meal” and the first double-booth, drive-thru concept. Contact her at janice@thefranchiseconsultingcompany.com or 303-319-5186.

June 2018 49


The Wow Factor When buying a franchise, you want to know one thing: Can the business make money?

Some business ideas sound interesting. What self-motivator hasn’t thought of becoming a life coach? What organized person hasn’t dreamed of event planning? And what animal lover hasn’t contemplated opening a doggy daycare? But while hobbies are wonderful ways to pass the time, sometimes it’s better to let them bring you joy and let your business bring you income. Being lured by a company’s “wow factor” is dangerous.

like dry-cleaning facilities and fitness centers often have sophisticated systems that generate sales and marketing and track billing in a timely manner. Adequate systems make franchising very appealing—and a good one can provide staying power and increase potential income. If you’re considering franchise ownership, look at the company’s viability and see if you have the skills to operate it successfully. Always, look at the systems in place and see what kind of support you get from the franchisor. Often, an owner can deal with the day-to-day challenges, and systems provided by a franchisor can help with big-picture things like budgeting, purchasing, and marketing. Efficient systems and support increase earning potential and add a level of sophistication to any small business. Who needs hobbies, anyway?

KEEP IT SIMPLE When I evaluate a business opportunity, I look at the potential. Does the business have staying power? Is there a long-term need for a product or service? Next, I examine the business model—does it work? Could it be improved? And of course, what I want to know most of all: Does the business make money? The truth is, it’s often the simple business ideas that have the most staying Todd Weiss, CFA is a leader in the franchise power. And by “simple,” I mean those and coaching industries. Contact him at: with straightforward services. Businesses Todd@TheFranchiseConsultingCompany.com 50


Thinking about buying a franchise? Call us rst. “Just like a realtor can help you nd a home, the experts at The Franchise Consulting Company can help you nd and understand your franchise options.”

WHAT WE DO We help you identify, investigate and get educated about franchise businesses. Like a realtor, our services are free of charge to you as our fees are paid by the seller. MARKET LEADER The Franchise Consulting Company is the market leader for entrepreneurs structuring a comprehensive investigation to analyze the franchise options available to them. EXPERIENCE With over 2000 years of collective experience helping individuals purchase, operate and exit franchise businesses, we invite you to leverage our knowledge of franchising. FREE OF CHARGE If you are thinking about owning a franchise, reach out to us and we will connect you with one of our 100+ local consultants across the USA. Free of charge. SPECIAL OFFER Reference this ad to your consultant and receive a FREE copy of The Franchise MBA - the #1 Bestseller Refe and Amazon’s highest reviewed book on franchising.

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June 2018 51


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1. A Q&A session with an industry expert 2. Pete Nash on franchising

Pete Nash has successfully owned five franchises and has


consulted and coached more than one thousand clients. After experiencing virtually all areas of franchise ownership, Nash uses his background to help others explore business ownership. Contact him at PeteNash@thefranchiseconsultingcompany.com

How has franchising changed since you started in the business?


Franchise growth has been exponential over the last 20 years. As a result, many investors add franchise ownership to their portfolios. Today there are more than 3,100 franchises in more than 90 strategic industry classifications. But while there are more choices, the search to find a franchise is more complicated and challenging. Of course, everyone starts his research with the Internet. However, between misinformation and information-overload, the process can be overwhelming. More than ever, it makes sense to work with a franchise consultant, who will help marry your goals, needs, and expectations to your income and lifestyle. Consultants also focus on “skill sets” that can be transferred from corporate positions to franchise ownership. Although counterintuitive, most franchises prefer that franchisees do not have previous industry experience. This way, the franchisor can train without outside bias. Franchise consultants save their clients both money and time, and most importantly, they offer an additional “filter” when exploring franchise ownership


Is franchising a good fit for everyone? There are times when a person might not be a good fit for a franchise. Someone who is a “rugged individualist,” who only wants to do things his own way and doesn’t want to be part of a system isn’t a great candidate for franchising. In this case, a responsible consultant would discourage franchise ownership. Finances can be another deterrent. A franchise consultant will examine a buyer’s finances and help determine if a person has enough capital to buy a franchise. Finally, it is important to have spousal support and approval.




How do you help clients narrow their choices? The best way to help a client narrow her choices is to get to know the client. Understanding what a client is looking for in the experience, in terms of professional culture, interests, strengths, weaknesses, and financial expectations, helps pair her with the right opportunity. You also have to match a person’s skill set with the right company. Once a franchise consultant understands a prospect’s skills and background, he can recommend compatible opportunities.


Is there such a thing as a “safe purchase”?


Like choosing a life partner or finding a corporate job, there are no guarantees. No one can predict the future. The key to success is to treat the “discovery process” (evaluating a franchise) seriously. Listen to the franchise development executive, ask good questions, talk to existing franchisees and make use of “discovery day.” The goal is to make an informed decision, not an emotional one..

What qualities do you look for in a brand?


When evaluating franchises, there are several important areas to consider. Many want a strong and proven brand. The classic example would be McDonald’s. However, more mature brands are frequently too expensive with no territory available. On the other side of the spectrum, a pioneer brand, or a new brand, can offer ground-floor opportunities. This might mean a higher risk initially, but also a larger reward. It’s always important to talk to current franchise executives. If the business model looks good, it may be worth pursuing. In most cases, the ideal franchisor is one that has multiple franchisees in place and available territories. Remember familiar brands were once pioneer opportunities. McDonald’s fell into this category in the 50’s and 60’s. Whether a franchise is mature, pioneer, or somewhere in between, the key is to make sure that a potential owner has the ability and skill set to successfully drive and operate the franchise. Also, the prospect should be comfortable with the franchise and the executives as well as believe in the product or service. Once that’s in place, you have an opportunity to be very successful.

June 2018 53

What’s the hottest brand out there? Forget about what’s hot. Find a brand that aligns with your goals


By Zeke Rodriguez

ranchise consultants are often asked, “What is the hottest franchise oppor-

tunity today?” With more than 3,000 franchise brands in almost every category and at every investment level, the franchise industry offers an overwhelming amount of choices. Some entrepreneurs want to buy into a brand with strong earning potential, a robust clientele, and one that fits with their lifestyles. Others, however, are passionate about entrepreneurship as a way to give back to the community. Still others are focused on specific financial goals.



“As you dive into your research,

ask existing franchisees about their experiences with the franchisor.” So, what’s the hottest brand out there? It depends. Some brands grow faster than others. Some categories are sexier than others. Some company cultures are more fun than others. The best brand for you is one that aligns with your goals. So forget about the “hottest” brands. The better question is, “Which franchise brand is right for me?” Here’s how to tell. KNOW WHO YOU ARE Ask yourself what’s important to you. What are your personal goals? What are your passions? What about your financial goals? Do your passions align with your financial goals? What is your skill set? Strengths? Weaknesses? Knowing who you are in this business will help you narrow your choices. DON’T WORRY ABOUT EXPERIENCE Good news: You don’t need to have experience in any potential franchise category. Today’s franchisors provide training and education in every facet of the business models. If they can’t demonstrate how they support franchisees, or if they can’t show you the tools and processes that are in place to prepare and support your business, cross them off of your list. There are too many good franchisors out there to waste your time with disorganized or ill-conceived ones.

BE HONEST Expect lots of probing questions during your consultation with your franchise consultant. Answer candidly. An open exchange of information will help you discover what’s most important to you. (Even you might be surprised!) Ask questions of your own, too. As you dive into your research, ask existing franchisees about their experiences with the franchisor. They can provide unique perspectives and insights on business models and tell you about the franchisors. Take the time to contact as many franchisees as possible, and ask them plenty of questions. Whether you love or hate what you hear, you’ll be glad that you heard it. TAKE NOTE OF THE COMPANY CULTURE A franchise consultant can give you a sense of a brand’s image and also tell you about an executive team’s reputation. You can also get a strong sense of corporate culture from existing franchisees, so be sure to ask them about it. Moreover, most franchisors hold Discovery Day (sometimes called Meet the Team Day), when you meet with executives, founders, and other prospective franchisees. Would you like associating with these folks over the next 10plus years? The answer to that question alone will be very telling.

Zeke Rodriguez is an accomplished business advisor with a unique blend of experience and depth of knowledge in franchising, finance, corporate law, and management consulting. After leaving the world of mergers & acquisitions and corporate governance, where he helped restructure holding companies and negotiated dozens of acquisitions, Zeke spent several years raising capital for early-stage companies. Contact him at Zeke@TheFranchiseConsultingCompany.com

June 2018 55




by Eric Schechterman

ntrepreneurs figure out how much they can afford to spend before finding the right franchise, right? Not exactly. In fact, people often tell me they found the right business, then struggle to figure out how to fund the opportunity—which is completely backwards. Do you look for a house before getting pre-qualified for a mortgage? Of course not! Ensuring you have the right funding in place can be the difference between long-term success and failure. Start off on the right track by following these key guidelines.

DO CONSIDER all funding options. Some of the more popular include franchisor-specific financing programs, SBA loans, traditional loans, alternative lending, and home-equity financing. You can even utilize your retirement funds without penalties through a Rollover as Business Startup (ROBS) structure.

DO DECIDE if you want to be a multiunit owner. Some franchises will only accept you if you are willing to commit to 3 units. If you are interested in owning multiple units, then you’ll need to consider a multiple unit funding strategy from the start since how you fund your first unit affects your ability to fund future units.



DON’T GIVE UP if you were rejected by a bank. Many candidates go to their local banks assuming they would be the best places to start securing loans. Then they get turned down once or multiple times and give up. In reality, it could just be the bank isn’t interested in the concept you are pursuing. Find a funding partner who works with multiple lenders—and knows which lenders prefer which concepts—and you can increase your chances of securing the right loan. DO GET PRE-QUALIFIED. Why wouldn’t you want to find out how much funding you might pre-qualify for in advance? You do this with a home, why not a business? By getting pre-qualified through a funding provider, you can better identify which franchise concepts you can afford. Some pre-qualification programs are even offered free of charge. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE how much funding you’ll need. One of the leading causes of small business failure is under-capitalization or insufficient funding. Most new business owners need more working capital than they anticipate, so make sure you have enough of a buffer to help with any unexpected operating costs.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK and get your financial house in order. Both franchisors and lenders have certain minimum criteria when it comes to approving franchisee candidates. For example, some franchises require a minimum net worth and a certain amount in liquid assets. Do your financial homework in advance—find out your credit score, calculate your net worth, even update your resume—to see if you’re compatible from the get-go.

DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. There are a lot of steps—and a lot of professionals—involved when it comes to funding a franchise, so you want to make sure you leave yourself enough time to get it right. If you don’t start early to shore up funding for your franchise, you might lose out on your dream opportunity.

As part of FranNet of Boston, Eric Schechterman works closely with clients to understand their goals, values, lifestyles, and interests. He coaches them through the franchising process and helps determine if franchising is a good fit. For more information, contact Eric at eschechterman@frannet.com

June 2018 57

SUCCESS from the Start By Susan Scotts


ost franchisees want the same thing: To be successful. After all, financial independence— and of course, the ability to be in charge of your time—gives you a sense of control over your future. Why work to make someone else wealthy? The secret to becoming a successful franchisee is to make smart decisions from the get-go. The following questions can help you decide if buying into a franchise is the right move for you— and get you off to a great start.



What business should you own? This question sounds simple enough, but there’s a lot to consider before you answer. First, identify your income, lifestyle, wealth, and equity goals. Next, figure out if you prefer to work as a hands-on business owner or if you’d rather oversee the business as a semi-absentee or absentee owner and merely manage the day-to-day managers. Finally, think about your customers. Do you want them to come to you? Or, do you prefer to network and find customers yourself? Creating an opportunity that

Can you afford to start your business? About 95 percent of businesses that fail do so because they are under-capitalized. Understanding your financial situation prior to investing can help put your mind at ease regarding spending. Do you have access to start-up capital? Can you support yourself during the early months? Keep in mind, there are many options available for funding a business besides liquid cash (SBA loans, 401k rollovers, unsecured loans). An alternative career coach can lead you to resources who can assist in

“The key to being a successful franchisee is to make smart decisions from the get-go”

lets you draw on your natural strengths and previous professional experience is a formula for success. However, the hurdle that many people face is they continue to do only what they’ve done in the past, or they feel they have to love a product or service to sell it. That kind of thinking can get in the way of a great new career. To avoid that pitfall, consider enlisting an alternative career coach, who can help solidify your goals and manage your expectations. Best of all, a coach will help you think outside the box and identify potentially smart franchise options that you may have prematurely dismissed. Is there a market for your business? Think about how your business satisfies a need or solves a problem. Next, see if there are potential customers in your area. Who are potential competitors? By understanding how your product or service is unique, you can understand your market. Talk to your franchisor. A good one will help you determine if there’s a market for your business in your area.

determining the start-up costs, operating costs, your household budget, and the initial investment you’ll have to make to position yourself well financially. Does the business support your income, lifestyle, wealth, and equity goals? Speak to owners who have already invested in the franchise. Are they achieving their personal, business, and financial goals? Remember just because they are earning a certain amount doesn’t mean you will, too. On the flip side, though, you could also earn more than they do. Are you willing to follow a system and work hard? Are you a motivated self-starter? Are you ready to put time, energy, and resources into your business? Building a business is not easy and you must be willing to invest time and effort. Also, in terms of franchises, it helps if you’re someone who can follow the rules. The most successful franchisees adhere to a proven franchise system.

Susan Scotts is an alternative career coach at The Entrepreneur’s Source. Drawing from three decades of experience, she can help you determine if a franchise is the best way to achieve your personal income, lifestyle, wealth, and equity goals. Contact her at 561-859-9110 or coach@susanscotts.com

June 2018 59


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1. Trending franchise businesses you want to know about 2. A great place to show off your franchise


Deck Medic® Since 1990, Deck Medic has established itself as the number one outdoor wood restoration company in the Chicagoland area. Deck Medic® has its own line of proprietary cleaners, strippers, and 100-percent oil-based stain that can only be purchased by franchise owners. Excellent customer service and the trademark Five-Step Wood Restoration Process sets Deck Medic apart. For more information, visit www.mydeckmedic.com

Looking for a homebased franchise with a low investment and high return? Snapology® provides the tools to operate and manage a thriving business. Based on collaborative principles, Snapology® has a flexible model that allows business to grow while incorporating your goals. Snapology® is a partner for STEAM programs, offering fun, hands-on learning classes in schools, community centers, and homes. For more information, visit www.snapology.com

® 60

Dryer Vent Squad®



Dryer Vent Squad® provides a valuable, inexpensive service to homeowners that saves time, money—and could potentially save homes and lives. Since approximately 80 percent of all U.S. households have a clothes dryer, there is a huge base of potential customers. Dryer vents need to be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. Dryer Vent Squad® takes away the worry and lets families reclaim time and money. For more information, visit www.dryerventsquad.com

I Know Science® The Patch Boys®

Midtown Chimney Sweeps® The hearth industry is one of the fastest growing franchise opportunities in the United States. By investing in Midtown Chimney Sweeps®, you are not only purchasing a proven business model and marketing system, you are ensuring that you get and keep customers. The hearth industry is currently worth more than $2 billion, with 52 percent of all U.S. households having at least one fireplace. Midtown Chimney Sweeps® is the first chimney sweeping franchise in the U.S. to meet that demand. For more information, please call 844-SWEEP-NOW or visit our website, www.midtownsweeps.com


Want to run a homebased business with low overhead and high profit margins? Check out The Patch Boys®. America’s most trusted drywall-repair company, The Patch Boys® takes care of damaged drywall caused by clumsy accidents or water damage. These jobs are usually too small for contractors, and most homeowners don’t have the time or skill to take care of drywall repairs themselves. When you join The Patch Boys® family, you become a part of an entrepreneurial community that works together to advance the brand. For more information, call 844-99-PATCH, or visit www.thepatchboys.com

Exploring Today… Innovating Tomorrow! I Know Science® STEM Center and Toy Store is indispensable for families looking for top-notch experiences, offering year-round, quality STEM programs, cutting-edge toys and entertainment. From birthday parties to camps, after school programs to purchasing kids’ favorite toys, customers love a business they trust. The IKS business model is innovative and leading-edge, unique in its delivery, and profitable. As an IKS franchisee, you are connected to a network of resources including ongoing training, marketing support, toy inventory, proven curriculums, exclusive territories, and more. For more information, visit www.iknowscience.com



June 2018 61

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1. Great advice for any new business 2. Why TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® keeps growing

A moving company moves forward The simple steps that led to lasting success

1. Make customer service a priority: With a slogan of “Moving people forward to their next steps in life,” TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® cares about the customer’s experience and it shows. With a 96-percent referral rate, the company gets most customers through word of mouth. Movers are trained professionals, who are background checked and drug tested. 2. Support the community: TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® holds a long tradition of community service. Through their Movers for Moms® campaign, franchisees partner with local shelters, schools, and other community organizations to collect goods that will make Mother’s Day special for moms living in shelters. 3. Make your franchisees happy: Consistently making Franchisee Business Review’s list for franchisee satisfaction, the company offers tremendous support for their franchise partners. 4. Grow careers: TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® promotes from within. Seventy-five percent of the company’s management staff starts out in entry-level positions, and onethird of the company’s franchisees begin in front-line positions as movers or customerservice representatives. 5. Keep growing: As the nation’s largest local moving company, with more than 380 locations worldwide and more than 2,600 trucks on the road, the company enjoys continuous year-over-year growth. In fact, the company hit 100 months of consecutive growth this April. For more informaton, visit https://twomenandatruck.com 62





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May 2018 63


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