Get on the Bus, Gus
Quik Internet (corporate name Quik International) has been offering franchises since 1996; about 95 franchisees in the United States now provide Internet access to subscribers in protected territories. The beauty of the system is that the franchisor has handled the acquisition, configuration and management of the expensive and technical part of being an ISP. This business model permits the franchisee to concentrate on sales and service without the huge investment.
One of these services, offered by each franchisee, is free classroom training on various Internet subjects. Otherwise, Quik franchisees garner sales by charging $19.95 a month for an Internet connection and also from building commercial Web sites and hosting at varied rates. Quik franchisees are required to maintain a business office, and, from what I've learned, you can break even when you're hosting about 550 customers. This concept seems to go over well in secondary markets, such as smaller towns, where there is not a glut of ISPs throwing copious amounts of money at advertising.
I spoke with Stephen Brazier, a 35-year-old franchisee who abandoned his accounting career for a taste of business ownership after his wife, Elise, was offered a professorship at Northeast Texas Community College, leading them to move to Mount Vernon, Texas, in 1998. Brazier has become a good example of what it takes to succeed in business, as he is aggressive, outgoing and describes himself as having a blast teaching others to use the Internet. He opened his franchise last October, and sales are now exceeding $10,000 per month. If things go as planned, he'll be in a position to take advantage of the additional territory he bargained for when entering into his agreement.