From the March 2002 issue of Startups

Steve Gilliam thought Colors on Parade offered a good service, performing on-site automotive surface repair and restoration, and wanted to join the franchise. But he wasn't interested in driving a van and handling repairs. Instead he wanted to put his sales and marketing background to good use as an area developer.

Gilliam first began as an area developer in Houston in 1997 and added a Memphis, Tennessee, location last fall. As an area developer, Gilliam provides administrative, supervisory and billing support to Colors on Parade operations franchisees (those who handle the repairs and restoration work) in his two regions. "While I enjoy the technical part of what we do, I really enjoy the business administration and the growth of a system," says Gilliam. "My job is basically helping small franchises get on their feet and become successful and see them grow. It's just tremendously satisfying to see [them accomplish their goals]."

While other area developers operate their franchises from home, Gilliam has an office supporting Houston-area franchisees and is currently looking for space in Memphis: "We've just found that the larger you get, it's better to have a central location."

The franchisees Gilliam oversees are homebased, sending their Colors on Parade vans to car dealerships and rental car companies to do minor glass, paint and body work. Says Gilliam, "Our role is to provide them with the advisory services that help them become successful."