They say that almost every business imaginable can be franchised--and probably already has been. The franchise industry is spreading into all facets of life because the dependable products, systems and services that form the foundation of franchising are exactly what value-conscious consumers are looking for in today's tough marketplace.
As just one example of how ubiquitous franchises have become, let's take a look around a typical home to see what types of opportunities await people interested in starting a home services franchise.
Before we even enter a home, we form our opinions based on the exterior appearance of the house. There are several franchises that specialize in the year-round maintenance of the lawn, including mowing, fertilizing and pest control. Or, if a homeowner prefers to avoid the need for such maintenance, there are franchises that install artificial turf products instead.
The Exterior Appearance
In addition to the lawn, the quality and maintenance of the paint job of a home is critical to its outward appearance. There are numerous franchises that specialize in exterior (and interior) painting and maintenance of the home; in fact, there are even franchises that paint the black sealer on driveways. Don't forget the all-important gutters; installing and maintaining gutters is another specialty area of franchising.
Most homeowners enter their house through the garage, and there are a number of franchises that focus on that important space. Some offer products and services designed to help organize the garage with cabinets and shelves, and others provide special floor coatings to protect the concrete surface.
From the garage, many homeowners soon find themselves in the kitchen, so naturally there are many franchises designed to offer benefits in this area of the house. They range from franchises that renew the appearance of counters and cabinets to franchises that remodel the entire kitchen.
One decision every homeowner faces is what type of flooring to have and how to care for it. Whether they're thinking of carpet, hardwood, tile or vinyl, there is a franchise business that will provide the product and install it for them. There are also numerous specialty franchises that maintain and clean all types of flooring.
Let's not forget one of the most important features of any home--the windows. There are myriad window coverings available--and a number of franchises that will come to homeowners with all the options. And when the windows get dirty, there are even window-washing franchises to come to the rescue.
No home ever seems to have enough closet space. Thankfully, there are a number of franchises that exist to help organize closets for maximum efficiency. They help customers design closet layouts and then sell and install the products needed to make these the most efficient rooms in the house.
Over the years, bathroom styles have transitioned from a fairly sterile and functional design approach to one that is often closer to a work of art. There are franchises offering everything from fast and inexpensive cosmetic "makeovers" to complete remodeling services to make this once-dull room a focal point of the home
Homes are lived in and they get dirty. In this day and age of two-income families, it is often a necessity to hire outside help to keep the house clean. Luckily, there are numerous franchises that offer home-cleaning services. In addition to maid-service franchises that focus on bathrooms and horizontal surfaces, there are also franchises that focus on vents and other areas not so obvious to the average homeowner.
It's also easy to find franchises meant to help homeowners with everything from simple accessorizing tips to a complete interior renovation. Many of these franchises have computer graphics packages that allow the homeowner to see what the proposed results will look like before making final decisions.
As we head back outside the home, there are a few other franchise options to consider. There are franchises that focus on swimming pools and hot tubs. Others specialize in creating decks and patios, providing shade with awnings, and even building sunrooms. Finally, and most importantly to some, there are even franchises that will clean up after the dog does his business.
Franchises are available for almost every product and service you can imagine. After this short tour around a typical home, you can get a sense of just how many different offerings there are. If you've got the entrepreneurial itch, and a love for helping people improve their homes, you might just become the next new home-related franchise operator.
Jeff Elgin has almost 20 years of experience franchising, both as a franchisee and a senior franchise company executive. He's currently the CEO of FranChoice Inc., a company that provides free consulting to consumers looking for a franchise that best meets their needs.