Years spent working as a manager for electronics retailer The Good Guys gave Kurt Davey the one insight he needed to jump into entrepreneurship as a franchisee for Quik Internet, an Internet service provider. With a steady stream of people lining up to buy personal computers from the stores he managed, Davey, 34, noticed most customers wanted a computer merely as a tool to get on the Internet. "I saw there was a market [for online providers]," says Davey. "And of course, you can't do anything without seeing some kind of reference to the Internet--whether you're watching a news program, a financial program or even a commercial."
In early 1998, Davey became a Quik Internet franchisee, thanks to financing from his personal savings. He was ready to log on when his phone company severely glitched--knocking out power to the crucial T1 lines that connected his San Diego location to the Web, mail and news servers at Quik Internet operations headquarters in Irvine, California. The 21 days supposedly required to fix the problem stretched to 60, and Davey spent hours on the phone each day attempting to iron out the situation. "It was a nightmare getting the phone company to actually provide me with service," he recalls.
For Davey, whose Quik Internet of San Diego, North County, is finally buzzing, with projected year-end sales of $225,000, the focus stays on providing his clients with the kind of customer service his phone company didn't. "That's really the key to making one of these franchises work," Davey says. "It's about getting out there and talking to your customers, taking a sincere interest in providing them with a higher level of service than your competitors, and building a relationship with them."
With 56 units, Quik Internet is looking for franchisees worldwide; start-up costs range from $50,000 to $60,000. Visit http://www.quik.com/007 or call (888) 784-5266 for more information.