PRESS COVERAGE – CONSTRUCTION EXECUTIVE
Franchising Can Expand Business Offerings to Improve the Bottom Line
Published: November 20, 2019
By: Matthew Ferrer
Commercial buildings can be some of the most complex and challenging structures to plan, build and maintain. General construction contractors usually just see the planning and building element to this industry and, in doing so, leave millions of dollars on the table. Today, existing building owners are maximizing their building performance affordably, through efficient products and proper maintenance. That’s not to say there’s a slowdown or reduction in renovations or new construction project—in fact, the sector is booming.
However, property managers, business owners, and building managers are looking for some of the same efficiency benefits renovations bring but at a fraction of the cost. How can contractors seamlessly add this area into their existing business? The answer may lie in a robust business model: franchising.
Usually understated, franchising is an area of small business enterprise that is often overlooked. Yet, according to the International Franchise Association, franchise businesses employ nearly 8 million Americans and, in 2018, franchises put more than $400 billion into the economy. On average, there are nearly 750,000 established franchise companies operating in the United States and franchising is the country’s largest job training program, fostering highly skilled positions in a variety of different industries. The impact of franchising is substantial and could be the bolt-on business you’re looking for.
To put it simply, franchising can be an opportunity to grow an existing business. It’s a fairly simple process too. A person needs to find a property owner who is interested in a product solution to address an issue. He or she has an historic designation on their property that limits the ability to structurally improve the building, whether it be for sound proofing, energy savings or thermal comfort. The builder owner desperately wants to replace windows, but are not allowed to. A product solution would be window inserts that go over the existing window, which provides the benefits of a window replacement, at a fraction of the cost with easy installation.
If a contractor hires the project out to an external business or, worse yet, just gives the lead to another company, it could lose hundreds of thousands per year in lost projects. Franchising is a way to turn those losses into revenue.
Let’s take a look at another example. A contractor has completed a large multi-use commercial project. A year in, it’s speaking with the property manager of this high-traffic business park and they state many of their tenants are complaining about the lack of accessibility to electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. This time around, the contractor has a franchise company with a trained team to assess the types of chargers and networks needed, so it can provide stations directly to the property at great margins. As a licensed contractor, installation is quick and easy.
HOW DOES FRANCHISING WORK?
Once a contractor identifies the solutions to its customers’ need, it should find a franchise model to meet that need. A good place to start is to find a franchise that offers multiple solutions and provides the necessary training, tools and dealer programs to get the company capturing business immediately. There are service based franchises, product-based franchises and hybrid models. All of them are built to plug and play into an existing business by leveraging established relationships, operational support and expert training.
Contractors are already committing and reaping the benefits of franchise brands. In addition to training and proven business models, franchising can also introduce a business to new industry growth sectors, supplement its current offerings and help market operations as sustainable. The biggest intangible benefits may lie with the national and global brand name recognition as well as access to an established network of existing franchise owners who can provide best practices and mentorship. Plus, franchises have mass purchasing power with select vendors. This added service to customers can set a contractor apart from its competitors and help hedge against slowing economic indicators and development investment.
In an expanding market, the timing is ideal to begin the process of exploring and choosing a franchise model. Talk with the team about it. Understand where franchising can fit in the business. When the right opportunity is found, move forward with confidence.
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