SPECIAL FEATURE: MOBILE FRANCHISING FEATURE

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Not every potential franchisee wants to be tied down to an office. What can these wanderers do if they want to buy a franchise?

The answer is to buy a mobile franchise. There are plenty of services that lend themselves nicely to mobile franchising, where you go to the customer rather than the customer coming to you. In addition to often having low startup fees, mobile franchises allow you to work the hours you choose and work close to home, plus they don’t typically require the hiring of many employees and don’t require the purchase or lease of any real estate. Being your own employer also allows you to work in a (relatively) stress free environment.

And don’t forget those tax benefits that you may be entitled to by running your own business. You may be eligible for substantial deductions on your telephone, rent, car payments, electricity, water rates and loan repayments. So, make sure you talk to your accountant about how to set up your business in the most cost effective manner.

The Need
Mobile services cater to people with busy lives and an ever aging population who want services to come to them. People are spending more and more time working, and leisure time has become a valuable commodity, one that people are willing to pay for by paying others to do the little mundane tasks. Why not cash in on this?

One person’s quest for more free time is another person’s opportunity.

Mobile franchises are often run out of vans or even cars and cover the full spectrum of services. These highly flexible mobile franchises are so lucrative, in fact, that Express Mobile Services in Australia is completely built on franchisees investing as little as $6,000AU for a franchise in one of 26 different services, which include: several types of cleaning; dog washing; photography personal training and many others. Express claims that after the cost of materials, it is conceivable that a franchisee may earn anywhere from $44 – $150 per hour.

Statistics for mobile franchises are hard to come by because they cover such a wide variety of services. So, let’s take a look at some of the most popular ones to get an idea of what a franchisee can expect when
buying a mobile franchise.

Cleaning Based Mobile Franchises
Home cleaning services, like the name suggests, go to people’s homes and clean them, often while they are away at work during the day. You either take all of your supplies with you to the home or use supplies that are there. After you clean a home, you move onto the next one. All you really need is a vehicle and a place to store supplies if necessary and you’re set. There are no building costs to worry about.

And general home cleaning is just one of many different types of cleaning that people require that you can turn into a mobile franchise. Aside from general home cleaning, you can start a franchise to clean:

• pools,
• offices,
• carpets,
• home exteriors,
• air conditioners,
• windows and solar panels,
• barbecues, and
• vehicles.

In 2010, there were approximately 50,000 cleaning services operating in the United States, according to Franchise Help’s Cleaning Industry Analysis 2014, and they brought in about $36 billion of revenue.

The cleaning services in the report ranged from trash pickup and floor polishing to window washing. It also said there were almost 825,000 workers in the cleaning industry in 2010 with about seven percent of them being self employed.

The good news is that with a steadily aging population in the States, there is rising demand for home cleaning services and the industry is expected to experience a five percent growth rate from 2008-2018.

But, be aware that this industry is fiercely competitive because it’s relatively inexpensive to enter and doesn’t generally require specialized skills. This means just about anyone can buy a mobile home cleaning franchise. Revenue may be a bit on the low side as you have to price your services accordingly due to the high level of competition. Customer retention is also crucial in this particular mobile industry.

Pet Based Mobile Businesses
The pet business is booming. And because it can sometimes be difficult to haul dogs and cats around, people often prefer pet washers and groomers to come to them.

You can do this with a specially outfitted van that has all the tools you need to groom these animals. Some franchises will walk you through the whole process of starting a mobile pet grooming business, including helping you procure one of those grooming stations on wheels.

IBISWorld’s Pet Grooming & Boarding market research report says the entire pet grooming and boarding industry is worth $5 billion and experienced annual growth of 4.8 percent from 2009-2014.

If you don’t want to drive around in your own pet groomer mobile, pet sitting or dog walking might be a better option.

Neither of these businesses requires any equipment, meaning you can use your own vehicle for them. And, if you don’t mind doing some dirty work, you may consider a pet waste removal business.

Health and Beauty Based Mobile Business
Personal trainers, mobile massage and mobile beauty treatments are lucrative mobile franchising opportunities. With people’s busy lives, they often want the gym and the spa to come to them.

IBISWorld’s Personal Trainers market research report says this industry grew at a stable two percent from 2009 to 2014 and demand will pick up over the next five years as people will generally have more disposable income to spend on luxuries like this.

The report also says that while demand is steady in this $10 billion industry, personal trainers will have to start offering value added services to stay competitive.

That’s where making your personal training service mobile can really pay off. Whether you offer cardiorespiratory, strength, endurance, resistance training or something else entirely, your ability to come to them is a convenience that people are likely to appreciate. Similarly, people who enjoy a good massage may opt to go with a mobile masseuse over having to book an appointment somewhere. Numbers from the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) say that the industry was estimated to be worth $8 – $10 billion in 2013 and also had 300,000 to 350,000 massage therapists and massage school students in the US.

The AMTA says according to the U.S. Department of Labor in 2012, employment for massage therapists is expected to increase 20 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is faster than average for all occupations. Plus, between July 2012 and July 2013, about 35 million adult Americans (about 16 percent) had a massage at least once.

Those are pretty good numbers for an industry if you’re thinking about getting into it.

And, speaking of good numbers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says mobile spa workers will see faster than average growth through 2016 and it projects job openings for nail technicians will grow by 28 percent through 2016 while jobs for estheticians and skin care specialists will grow the occupation by 34 percent due to the popularity of facials and getting an improved complexion.

Pest Control Based Business
Creepy crawlies and those little flying vampires of summer, mosquitoes, may be the bane of many, but they can be a boon to you if you start a pest control business. Some specialize in one kind of pest, like the aforementioned mosquitoes, while others are more generalized. The nature of the business — ridding people’s property of pests — means it’s already a mobile business. If you don’t mind bugs or working with chemicals, it could be a good fit for you.

The now infamous bed bug problem that has cropped up in the news repeatedly over the last several years is a nightmare for a lot of consumers and property owners, but the little monsters have been lucrative for the pest control industry, according to the IBISWorld’s Pest Control market research report.

This $12 billion industry saw annual growth of 2.5 percent between 2009 and this year. That is likely to increase, as the housing market continues its recovery and will create a need for pretreatment termite services and regular inspections, the report says. People’s rebounding discretionary incomes will also create demand for these types of services, as consumers will spend on hotels and restaurants again, meaning these establishments will want to ensure they’re pest free.

Getting Started
These are just a snippet of the many mobile franchise opportunities out there. As the economy continues to get better and people have more discretionary income they can put towards more luxury items, services that were once put on the back burner of many people’s lives are now becoming essential to them again.

To see the bevy of mobile franchise opportunities available to aspiring entrepreneurs, do an internet search for “mobile franchise.” Once you’ve seen the opportunities available, you can narrow it down to what you’re interested in, what would be a good fit for your skills and what would be the most lucrative opportunity for your particular area.

As with most things, the key is research, research, research. Know the market you want to get into and if there is a demand for the service you are interested in providing. From there, it’s just a matter of contacting the franchise you’re interested in buying and following their franchising process.

So, don’t get tied down to the idea that you have to lease a storefront to be a successful franchisee. You can be just as successful with a mobile franchise. Now get going!

Look out for our Next special feature  Children’s Product and services in the September issue.