Service Brands: A Less Expensive - and Faster - Way to Franchising Success
Editor’s Note: While this article was written for those considering an entry into franchising, it contains some very useful information and ideas for existing franchisees looking to diversify. Franchisees in the food sector might especially benefit from the author’s focus on service brands: how they are less expensive than most food brands and have a much shorter time from signing to startup since many don’t require a retail site – or even a storefront. It may also be useful for service brand franchisors seeking new franchisees in 2021.
The pandemic’s unprecedented disruption has affected every aspect of our lives, including the way we work and the feeling of security that comes with employment. As the dust settles, many people find themselves looking for a career change for more security and a better work/life balance. You might think that the only way to get there is by taking a long road back to school or by going through the pains of starting a new business from scratch, but franchising offers another, more direct route.
Back in April 2020, unemployment hit an all-time high. Although we have seen a recovery, the U.S. unemployment numbers remain well above their pre-pandemic level of 3.5% in February 2020. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of January 2021 the number of unemployed people was 10.1 million, or roughly 6.3%.
Those lucky enough to have kept their jobs have had to adjust to a new way of working. Many of us have worked remotely over the past year and are anxious to get back to our former routines. For others, however, returning to a “normal” 9-to-5 grind might seem less than ideal. The idea of enduring a long commute or having a rigid schedule might not be as appealing as it was pre-Covid. According to a Gallup Poll, nearly two-thirds of U.S. workers who have been working remotely during the pandemic would like to continue to do so. (Of course, not all employers agree.)
After getting a taste of a flexible schedule and having had some time to reflect, many people are seeking new ways to work. Franchising offers an accelerated way to make a career change with tons of options. Whether it’s for a better work/life balance or more financial freedom, investing in a franchise has been the answer for people who want change and want it now.
What most people don’t realize is that you can be up and running in some franchise businesses in a matter of weeks. Yes, weeks. When most people think of franchises, they typically imagine fast food restaurants or big box gyms that take significant investments of time and money to get started. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With some franchises, after signing a franchise agreement, you just need to go through training and you’re ready to open for business.
There are many turnkey, uncomplicated franchise opportunities out there. With them, you can quickly get started with your own business and benefit from the same type of support and proven business model that comes with larger, more complicated franchises. Here are some great options.
1) Fast startups (3 to 6 months)
Franchises that don’t require retail space, but need some type of professional office space, can be launched in a matter of months. Senior care is one example. This feel-good business can be both rewarding and lucrative – and it is in demand. As Baby Boomers age, the need for quality home care continues to grow. In fact, the U.S. home care market is expected to expand from $100 billion in 2016 to $225 billion by 2024.
Depending on the brand, some senior care franchises provide home care services such as personal grooming and light housework, while others offer more specialized services such as nursing care. No matter the services offered, franchisees don’t have to obtain a special medical background to own a senior care franchise, but they will have to hire and retain quality employees who are qualified to provide these services.
Cleaning services are another type of franchise that use a business office and can also be launched fairly quickly. Both residential and commercial cleaning services offer steady, repeat business. As with senior care, the success of a cleaning service franchise depends on a reliable team. These businesses that can be scaled easily and over time to very large operations with more than 100 employees.
2) Faster startups (4 to 6 weeks)
Some home service franchises can be started within weeks. They are often home-based and typically have a low cost of goods. Depending on the brand and business model, franchisees could have as few as one or two employees. Many brands lend themselves to a mix of B2B and residential clients, creating multiple revenue streams.
Some of the simplest to operate home services franchises include window cleaning, drywall or screen repair, and fabric restoration. These are all opportunities where you can start off small and scale at your own pace. Many home services franchises require a car or van that must be wrapped in branding. While this may add to startup time and cost, a wrapped vehicle serves as a mobile billboard and creates brand awareness – and potential customers – wherever you go.
Mobile personal training and tutoring services also lend themselves to rapid startup. In both cases, franchisees can work out of their home and manage several full- and/or part-time employees who conduct the services at clients’ homes. In both cases, they offer repeat business and feel-good work where the franchisee and their employees can truly make a difference by helping others.
3) Fastest startups (2 to 4 weeks)
Home-based franchises are probably the fastest to get started and offer opportunities in many different areas. But don’t let the name fool you. Even though they are called “home-based,” that doesn’t necessarily mean you will always work from home. Many, such as business consulting franchises, are sales-based and require the franchisee to get out and meet with potential and existing clients.
Business consulting is one sector that typically doesn’t require hiring employees or investing in any special equipment or vehicles. Typically, after a training period of two to four weeks, you are ready to roll. What does take time, though, is building up a clientele. To do that, networking is essential. Business consulting franchises are best suited for people with business and sales acumen.
If you’d rather work with children than business clients, some educational enrichment franchises offer super-fast startups. With a lot of them, after training, franchise owners can open for business by themselves and scale at their own pace by adding a few part-time employees. Overhead is usually low, with only a handful of inexpensive items needed to get started. For example, some enrichment programs teach science, art, or engineering concepts.
Franchisees will invest in simple items such as building blocks, art supplies, or craft items. Typically, the franchisor will provide a turnkey, start-up kit that comes as part of the franchise fee. Think of it as a “business in a box.” To build up a client base, franchisees will need to visit schools and day care centers to educate decision-makers about their services. In most cases, the programs are run out of the client’s location, saving tons in overhead.
Taking the first step
Launching a franchise can be quick and easy. In contrast to going into business by yourself, a franchise already has branding, a proven business model, and a system to follow. With the support and guidance of a franchisor, you could be on the road to change and franchise ownership in a matter of weeks.
Of course, before you get on a fast track to career change, you must decide on a brand. The best place to start is with some online research and then by seeking the help of a franchise consultant who can present suitable opportunities for your interests, investment level, and desired work/life balance. And similar to Realtors, the services of a trustworthy franchise consultant are free to franchise seekers.
As fast and easy as it all may sound, probably the hardest part of making a career change is taking that first step. So, what are you waiting for? As Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
Don Daszkowski is the Founder of the International Franchise Professionals Group (IFPG). The IFPG trains individuals to become Certified Franchise Consultants and earn money selling franchises. IFPG is a membership-based organization of franchisors, franchise consultants/brokers, and other franchise professionals who help potential candidates in the process of buying a franchise. Contact him at 888-977-4374 x106.
Share this Feature
Comments:comments powered by Disqus
- Multi-Unit Franchising
- Get Started in Franchising
- Open New Units
- Featured Franchise Stories