COLORS ON PARADE ~ BRINGS THE BODY SHOP TO THE CUSTOMER

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Jeff Cox

For franchisees who like to be on the go, Colors on Parade offers an opportunity to own a business and never have to set foot in an office.

Jeff Cox, president and CEO of Colors on Parade, estimates that the business is about 98 percent mobile franchisees.

“We have a few fixed locations, but for the most part our guys are in mobile vans, trucks and trailers,” Cox said during an interview from the business’ headquarters in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Established in 1988, Colors on Parade’s main service is to quickly and conveniently do minor surface repairs to vehicles. The real selling point of Colors is that the company comes to you instead of you having to take your vehicle into a body shop.

This is great for car dealerships and fleet owners who don’t want their vehicles spending a long time at a body shop. With Colors, the company shows up and within a couple of hours, a repair can be completed vs having a vehicle spend an entire day or more in a body shop.

“We were trying to improve upon the convenience associated with body shops and the time that it costs the customer when cars are unavailable,” Cox said. “So, going to the customer gives us the fastest turnaround for the customer.”

On top of that, Colors strives to minimize the area of the vehicle that they work on, Cox pointed out. Whereas in a body shop, a scratch on a bumper would likely mean taking the entire bumper off and replacing it, Colors on Parade will just work around the area of the minor damage.

Most of Colors’ work revolves around those dings and scratches that accumulate over time rather than damage done from a major accident, Although most of Colors on Parade’s work comes from the aforementioned dealerships and fleets, the company is growing in the direct-to-consumer market, too, with about seven percent of sales coming from that market.

 Franchising

The company started franchising in 1991, said Cox, who has been with Colors since 1996. It has about 230 franchisees operating 280 mobile units. The vast majority of them are one person operating a single mobile unit, Cox explained, but some choose to start their own little fleet and hire employees to operate other mobile units, which they manage, often while still running one of the mobile units themselves.

Some Colors franchisees opt to open a retail outlet, Cox noted, but they are not obligated to.

The company currently operates in 25 states, concentrated mostly in the south and northeast with operations in Chicago and Detroit.

The most popular way for potential franchisees to get involved is to do an apprenticeship with an existing franchisee. This way, they can get a few weeks of on- the-job training and then take a three-day certification course in Myrtle Beach and basically start immediately afterward.

“They’re able to get back and start their business pretty quickly,” Cox said.

The alternative is for a potential franchisee to come to Myrtle Beach and do two weeks of training, followed by another few days of training in their area with one of Colors on Parade’s Area Developers.

Franchisees can be trained in one of three areas, Cox said, those being: paint repair, paintless dent repair or interior repair.

The operator franchise fee is $5,000 and the equipment costs around $13,500. Franchisees supply their own vehicle, which is usually a cargo van, but can be a truck and trailer in more rural settings.

The company has an arrangement with Ford Motor Credit Company for franchisees to buy the equipment and vehicles — which can be used as long as they look presentable — as a package.

A franchisee does not need any automotive experience, Cox said, but should be physically fit and be prepared to work in the elements.

Oh, and they should also like being on the move.

For more information visit: www.colorsonparade.com