Month: July 2015

Our personal journey to buying a franchise

Mike and Laura

We never looked back.

We would like to share with you our journey to buying our first franchise with this three part series.

We bought our first franchise (YTD we have owned 6) back in 2001 pre 911. The economy was about to go through a Tech Bubble and we lived in Northern Virginia – just about a perfect storm. There is never a perfect predictor of how outside conditions can influence your outcomes.

I knew my job at US Office Products was going to disappear as we were purchased by Corporate Express and I did not fit their corporate mold and Mike knew his days were numbered as the Tech Startup he worked at was cutting fat in order to be sold (laying off employees with false stock promises). This was in May of 2001.

At that time we began to look at our resumes riddled with jobs that lasted 3 to 5 years and the thought of having to look for another job every few years was most unappealing. That was the beginning of the “new economy.” We needed to break the cycle.

We took inventory of our skills and experiences. We did a SWOT analysis. We searched the internet. We visited some franchise brick and mortars. We researched and researched and then we asked my Dad for advice. We bought a book about franchising and read that cover to cover. Then we began to trust our instincts.

Our First and Only Corporate Visit

At the time it seemed to be a waste of time. We understood the concept – non-medical in home care for seniors. We knew it was going to involve managing a lot of people. We knew they had a system in place and other franchisees were successful even though it was a new franchise. We jumped in our car and decided to take a road trip out to Dayton, Ohio to visit Comfort Keepers. Why not combine seeing America and have a little fun on the way (I fell in love with the city of Pittsburg, it is really a neat city).

We drive up to the office building excited. We were not sure of what to expect and what type of dog and pony show we were about to see. Clustered together with some other couples we were herded into the conference / training room and the founders began to talk about how their company started and the need the fulfilled in their community. We began to relate their experiences with our own family members and saw how we can make a difference in the lives of others. SOLD.

More Research

Were we being too hasty? We had only visited 1 franchise and there was one more like it we knew about. Why not look at the competitor? What was their corporate culture like? We seemed to fit in with Comfort Keepers. Calls were made to some of the franchisees, we asked my Dad, who is a CPA to look at their Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet for us and to give us questions to ask about the soundness of their company.

We still had jobs. We were beginning to hate what we were doing and how we were being treated. The thoughts of taking control of our lives was dominating our conversations. The fear of doing something new would always bring us back to the fact that we still had jobs. One by one our colleagues began to disappear. Mike and I realized the clock was ticking faster and it was time to say yes.

If you would like to begin your journey, we are here to help. Take the first step and complete a no obligation application. We will work closely with you during the entire process to help ensure your selection of the franchise that is right for you.