Franchise Players: How I Went From Client to Franchisee
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Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As director of employee wellness for the city of Richardson, Texas, Chad Heirholzer had plenty of experience dealing with Star Wellness, a corporate health-care screening services franchise. Easy to work with and professional, Star Wellness was one of Heriholzer's top providers. When he relocated to South Central Texas, he was in the perfect position to open his own location. While Hierholzer is still new to franchising, here's what he's learned on both the client and the franchisee side of the business.
Name: Chad Hierholzer
Franchise owned: Star Wellness in Boerne, Texas.
How long have you owned the franchise?
In my opinion, a franchise provides a little less risk because you have a proven product, with support from a franchisor.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I was director of employee wellness for the City of Richardson, Texas. We were a client of Star Wellness.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
I was a former client. During my tenure with my previous employer, I had worked with many providers in the corporate wellness industry. The professionalism and their products always made Star Wellness one of my best providers. They always made it easy to work with them.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
There’s not a lot of overhead in materials with Star Wellness. So that helps a lot. And I also came from the industry, so I already had much of what I needed. So for me, outside of a few hundred dollars in application, filling fees, etc. I didn’t need much to start up.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
I felt I was already well informed on the industry and product. I used market research to learn about the area I planned to purchase (San Antonio and surrounding areas). I’m confident that I can build this and be successful. I’m looking at needing extra financial support for about six months. After that, I plan on the business being able to support itself.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
Time. Some things move lighting fast. Some things move at the speed of cold molasses. I was really wanting to open the doors of our office in December, but wasn’t able to do so until February. It’s not that I can pinpoint one thing, there’s just a lot do in order to get ready to provide services in this line of work. Thankfully the franchisor helped to make it much easier than what it would have been if I were doing this alone.