Gregg Prescott worked with Motorola for 10 years, five years designing and selling two-way radio systems, then five years distributing the company's products. During that time, Prescott, 37, and his partner, Steve Brodack, 37, were looking for a business of their own and found the ideal opportunity in commercial cleaner Jan-Pro's master franchisee program. As master franchisees, they're responsible for selling individual franchises, coordinating training and providing support services to franchises in a specific geographic territory. The partners currently have about 80 franchisees in their Delaware Valley system, which covers southern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania.
We spoke with Prescott about what it takes to be a master franchisee and why he loves it.
Franchise Zone: Why did you want to be a master franchisee?
George Prescott: We were looking for a service business that was sales- and marketing-driven, as both of us primarily have sales experience. The Jan-Pro master program was exactly what we were looking for.
What does being a master franchisee entail?
Basically, we divide [responsibility] into two parts--my partner handles outside sales and oversees our sales department, and I handle franchise sales and the daily operation of the business. We secure contracts for [our franchisees], and train them on handling those contracts and performing the actual services. Then we help manage and follow up with them and their customers to make sure everything is going the way it's supposed to and [that] the customers and franchisees are satisfied.
What were some challenges in starting up the business?
Our biggest challenge was that we didn't know too much about the janitorial business and franchising when we started, which is why we went to a master franchise type of plan. Jan-Pro provided all that information for us, so we could just focus on growing the business. Our challenge was just [facing] the unknown [of] when you start a new business and aren't exactly sure what to expect, but it's been strong since we started and it continues to be so.
Do you have any prior managerial experience that helps you as a master franchisee?
Absolutely. I have a background in sales management and general management. That definitely helps, from an administrative standpoint. The main focus of the business is sales, selling franchises to people who want to own their own business.
For you, what are some of the highlights of being a master franchisee?
The biggest reward is really getting to have an impact on people's lives. We are able to take somebody who would not necessarily be able to get into their own business, and make them successful with our program. We've done that time and time again with people who have limited capital and working knowledge of how to operate a business, but have the desire to own their own business. You can take people like that and really help them grow a good-sized business that supports their family. That's the best part of this business.
What do you do in a typical day?
I meet with franchise owners--either existing franchise owners or prospective franchise owners--follow up with customers and just take care of the business, making sure the bills are paid and people are where they're supposed to be.