By Lourdes Aguila
United Energy Partners
3333 Iowa St.
St. Louis, MO 63118
(800) 467-8887, (314) 664-0300
DESCRIPTION: Energy-efficient light-ing and controls for commercial use
BUSINESS STARTED: 1990
FRANCHISING STARTED: 1995
NUMBER OF FRANCHISEES: 13
TOTAL START-UP: $75K
SEEKING: Nationwide, Canada, Mexico and Europe
In today's cost-cutting climate, United Energy Partners (UEP) is a natural. "Thousands of dollars are wasted every day due to inefficient lighting," says company president Tony Portell, 39.
UEP helps customers see the light by offering to initially pay for retrofitting their lighting systems. UEP projects the energy savings each client should see, then lets them pay from that monthly savings. If the company saves less than projected, UEP refunds the difference. That guarantee has put UEP and Portell on the road to a bright future.
"We've never had a client save less than projected," says Portell. Clients including the U.S. Postal Service, JC Penney and McDonald's accounted for 1995 systemwide sales of $3.5 million.
Franchisees do the building analyses; the home office prepares the proposal and handles all the administrative work. No engineering background is needed, says Portell; franchisees just need to be comfortable selling.