During their first few years in business, Roy and Teresa Gonzalez didn't tell anybody they were entrepreneurs. Why? Because at ages 23 and 21, respectively, the Signs Now franchisees feared that if customers knew their ages, they wouldn't be taken seriously.
"On our business cards, I was the sales representative and she was the store manager," recalls Roy. "When someone asked `Are you the owner?' I would typically say `I'm one of them' or `I have a partner.' We did that for about five years."
Roy was just out of college--and Teresa was still in college--when Roy, looking for a business he could turn into a career, read about sign-making franchisor Signs Now in Entrepreneur magazine. He started working at a franchise in his hometown of Boise, Idaho, where he found he liked working with his hands and using computers to create graphics. But because there was already a Signs Now franchise in Boise, the Gonzalezes decided to relocate to Sacramento, California, where a franchise was available.
"We were both scared," admits Roy of the 1990 move. "Our families were against it because she had to drop out of college."
No one's complaining now. At 32 and 30, Roy and Teresa have two Signs Now stores in Sacramento that currently rank 10th and 25th in systemwide sales. Their combined sales for both stores reached $850,000 last year.
Signs Now is seeking franchisees nationwide. Start-up costs begin at $36,820.