In our recent “Franchising 101: How to Buy a Franchise” article, a franchise consultant told us that there were more than 3,000 franchise concepts available in more than 50 industry segments, with 650,000 individual franchise outlets up and running.
After the interview he put us in touch with Virna Hudson, a co-owner of a Fresh Coat Painters franchise in Tracy, California. He talked to Hudson about what led her to choose this specific franchise, and how it’s working out.
ISBB: How did you find the right franchise to buy?
Hudson: My husband, Cliff, and I both had extensive business experience. I worked in office management in the medical and pharmaceutical fields for over 18 years; he had been a New Products Development manager in the semiconductor field for over 25 years. We wanted to find a business that would meet our needs and plans for the future. We wanted a business that was not a mom and pop shop but a legitimate tool to meet our future long-term goals. Buying a franchise gave us instant name recognition, a backbone for structure, guidance, and a tool to run a painting business.
When we were researching what type and kind of business we were going to invest in, my husband did a SWOT analysis of the painting industry and other potential industries. He discovered that painting was a $91 billion a year industry with 70 percent of all companies no bigger than 2 to 3 painters. Also Fresh Coat Painters was listed in the top 10 of the best franchises to buy at the time. So after looking at four other painting franchises and not being painters ourselves, we decided that this was the one for us. Purchasing this franchise was the best fit for us because of the support they offered and the price point compared to other types of franchises.
What other franchise types did you consider before buying this one?
We had considered an auto oil changing shop, a coffee/bagel shop, and something else in the restaurant industry. Cliff’s uncle had run a painting company for 30 years and had enjoyed some success. So my husband said, “With an MBA and the experience you had of previously running a business with your mother, imagine how successful we could be running painting franchise of our own.”
Has owning the painting franchise met your revenue and growth expectations?
Yes! We were recognized nationally last year for the highest sales growth of any Fresh Coat Painters franchise: 99% in 2010. We started off with two painters and now have ten! Also on board with us are three commercial estimators and a bookkeeper. I run the business while doing the marketing/sales and residential estimating, while my husband does the commercial estimating and operations. We also have two foremen for project management.
What kind of painting jobs have you done?
On the commercial side, we’ve painted the O’Reilly Distribution Center in Stockton, a Toys “R” Us store, and a Burlington Coat Factor in Elk Grove, as well as a Best Buy Mobile in Roseville and Galleria Mall in Sacramento. And on the residential side, we’ve painted hundreds of homes, both interior and exterior, as well as new kitchens, plus bedroom and bathroom remodels.
How would you recommend franchising to a friend?
I definitely recommend it, especially if you don’t have a concept of what it takes to run a business. A franchise gives you a plan. Your job is to follow it. You don’t want to have to reinvent the wheel. They lay it all out for you and all you have to do is follow their plan.
For more advice about franchising or to speak to Virna Hudson about her experiences as a franchise owner, visit her Fresh Coat Painters Website.