Home Services Franchising – January Feature Article
The one thing you can never get more of is time … but is that true?
If you hire someone to do something for you, that then frees up your time. It’s using this simple philosophy that home service franchises ply their trades.
When you can affordably offer the opportunity to give people back the time they lose on mundane chores, you’ve got a large pool of customers to draw from.
As the economy continues its recovery from the last recession and people start loosening up and getting comfortable with spending disposable income regularly again, the home services industry will only continue to grow.
What is a Home Service?
It’s simple to identify what would constitute a home service. Is it something you’d put on your chore list? If so, it is likely there is someone you can pay to do that job.
Cleaning, carpet cleaning, pool cleaning, home repair, pet grooming, home delivery, junk removal, security … the list goes on and on. Anything that people find a pain to do themselves, they will be willing to pay to have done.
In the International Franchise Association’s Franchise Business Outlook for 2014, the organization predicted that revenues in the Personal Service franchise sector (where most home services fall under) would expand by 3.7 percent in 2014 Because they are primarily tied to houses, home services are affected by the real estate market. When the market is good, there is a need for these services whereas when the market slows, so too can a home service franchise’s business.
The Spice of Life
One of the best aspects of the home services franchising industry is the amount of variety it offers.
Outdoor Living Brands, for example, has four different home services franchises under its brand umbrella, yet they are all different. Archadeck builds decks and other outdoor features, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives does landscape lighting, Mosquito Squad pummels pests and Renew Crew revitalizes outdoor home features.
But the home services franchising industry also includes:
• home care assistance;
• home inspection;
• home moving;
• junk removal;
• lawn care;
• pet home services;
• moving and storage services;
• at home seniors care and more.
From general home care like painting to extremely niche types of service like barbecue cleaning, the home services franchising industry has something for everyone who wants to get involved.
In its list of 2014 Franchisee Satisfaction Award winners, Franchising Business Review cited home services franchises as gaining in popularity. And another trend in franchising that is helping more people realize their goal of owning and operating their own business is that some higher investment franchises are now offering lower investment packages. MaidPro, for example, has introduced the lower-cost “Select Model” option for candidates with less than $50,000 to invest in a franchise.
“We’ve seen that lowering the minimum investment and offering additional financing has really helped potential franchisees start a MaidPro, when in the past they would not have been able to do so,” CEO Mark Kushinsky pointed out.
Other franchises like pest extermination franchise Truly Nolen have gone in the other direction and have actually upped their entry level fees to ensure that their franchisees are in a position to be able to succeed.
A bit of welcome news for potential franchisees in the home services sector is that more franchises are starting to offer their own internal financing systems, like Weed Man. This is to ensure that if the franchise identifies a good potential candidate that it can bring that candidate on board without having to worry about them not being able to procure funding from elsewhere. Sometimes this just means having people who help franchisees locate funding and other times the franchise itself will help with startup funding.
Put a Spin On It
If anecdotal information is anything to go by, franchises that have a unique spin on a traditional service are a great opportunity.
When co-franchisees Harry Ehrlich and partner Jay Gallant opened their WOW 1 Day Painting franchise in New York State, they were overwhelmed with the response from the public.
“In August, we’re probably going to hit three times our projections,” Gallant said in early 2014, “and I thought we were being a little aggressive with our projections.”
The twist on traditional service that WOW 1 Day Painting offers is right there in the name. Whereas other painting companies will send a small team and paint over several days, WOW sends a large team to paint over just a single day.
The two co-franchisees cited the superb support from the parent company as part of the reason they were so successful. WOW is partially owned by one of the same people behind the wildly successful and ubiquitous 1-800-Got-Junk?
Another franchise with a unique twist is the Men in Kilts window washing service. But, don’t let the cute gimmick fool you, the business goes beyond simple Scottish fashion.
“At some point, you have to get over the kilts and focus on differentiating the business. Our service goes far beyond the gimmick,” CEO Tressa Wood told Franchise Business Review.
Franchise Support Key to Success
The amount of support that a franchise gives to its franchisees is a key factor in determining how successful it will be. The more training, support and marketing help a franchise can offer to its franchisees, the better it will make them and the better it will make the franchise system as a whole.
WG Storage and Delivery in Texas, for example, provides both on-the-job and classroom training in Austin for its franchisees and continues that training in the franchisee’s territory. WG also helps new franchisees find a facility location, helps them get their trucks in order, helps them buy the necessary equipment and assists them with the hiring process. Once they’re set up, WG continues to help out franchisees with marketing and strategic planning.
Some franchises lend support to their franchisees by way of administrative services. Game Truck, which hosts video gaming parties, has its Power Ups team, which takes care of mundane administrative tasks for franchisees for a small fee. Plus, it also has a national sales team that fields inbound calls for its franchisees so they never miss a call and can concentrate on running their business.
When deciding on a franchise to buy, the support offered is one of the most important items to consider. Solid support is an indication that the entire franchise system in place is healthy and that the franchise has everyone’s best interests in mind.
At-Home Senior Care
Perhaps the biggest opportunities in home-based franchising are in the seniors home care market, specifically. The aging population of baby-boomers is going to need some tender loving care as they progress into their twilight years. But, they also want that TLC in their own homes rather than having to go somewhere else for it because it’s often more comfortable and more affordable.
An ABC News report says the growth of non-medical at-home care will be huge. This type of care can include assistance with bathing and grooming; help getting in and out of bed; help with housekeeping, meal preparation and laundry; and will be necessary for more people in the future.
By 2020, the number of home health and personal care aides will swell by 1.3 million—a 70 percent increase from 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And they’ll likely all be needed, as every day more than 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65, according to Synergy HomeCare CEO Peter Tourian.
That’s a lot of opportunity waiting for entrepreneurial-minded people.
Most Satisfying Franchises
For home services franchises, Heaven’s Best Carpet Cleaning and MaidPro took the top two spots for franchisee satisfaction in the Cleaning and Maintenance category of 2014 Franchisee Satisfaction Awards from Franchising Business Review. In the Home Services category, franchisee satisfaction was tops at:
• CertaPro Painters
• Budget Blinds
• Miracle Method Surface Refinishing
• WOW 1 Day Painting
• Surface Specialist Systems
• ASP – America’s Swimming Pool Company
• Pillar To Post
• Go Mini’s
• HandyPro Handyman Services
• The Glass Guru
• Granite Transformations
In the Senior Care category, Home Instead Senior Care and Visiting Angels took the top two spots.
Whether you choose outdoor yard maintenance, indoor cleaning services, seniors home care or you find a more specialized niche to fill, home services franchises have a business opportunity to offer everyone. Most also have deals for veterans. If you enjoy making people’s homes more liveable, a home services franchise may be right for you.
About the author : A former journalist, Rob Swystun, has been writing professionally since 2006 and now concentrates on freelance writing. He lives in Winnipeg and is currently an Athabasca University student studying for a BA in Communications.
:image courtesy of Granite Transformations