Franchise Buying Guide

The Future is Now

Getting In on the Action
Presented by Guidant Financial
Guidant Financial specializes in helping entrepreneurs purchase new franchises using their retirement funds.

Becoming a tech franchisee might be appealing, but can also be intimidating due to the fast pace of the industry. However, there are a few key facts that might ease your qualms.

First of all, franchisees can set up shop right from their homes, since most of the services offered by these tech franchises require franchisees to go directly to their customers, not vice versa. CTCE's franchises are all homebased, and Reaves of Computer Troubleshooters USA estimates that 90 percent of his company's franchises are run from home. Reaves says potential franchisees like the homebased option since it helps keep startup costs low.

For Hamilton, being homebased was a definite selling point when she was considering purchasing her CM IT Solutions franchise; in fact, she was even more attracted to the franchise from a lifestyle perspective than a financial standpoint. Before getting laid off, Hamilton had been able to work from home for her previous job and had grown attached to the lifestyle it allowed her to have. "I had been working from home for 18 months," says Hamilton. "The whole idea of going back to the corporate grind was really nauseating for me." More than four years later, Hamilton is still working from home and loves it. However, she cautions people who are thinking of doing the same to examine whether they have the space to be able to live and work out of the same place as well as the discipline to clearly separate work time from personal time.

Secondly, contrary to what you might think, being tech-savvy is not necessary for becoming a tech franchisee. More important than personal expertise is finding dependable and knowledgeable employees who are capable of handling service calls. Though Hamilton is a tech whiz herself, having worked for 20 years in corporate IT organizations, she largely depends on her team of five part-time employees to tend to her customers' needs and stay up-to-date with all the technological developments. By building a skilled team, Hamilton has also been able to build her sales to a projected $200,000 for 2005, experiencing nearly 100 percent growth year after year.

Finally, the structure and support of a franchise system can greatly assist potential franchisees who fear the consequences of striking out on their own in such a rapidly changing environment. A franchise system is crucial for helping tech franchisees stay current. CTCE has a team of people regularly updating its curriculum and developing new materials as emerging technology is introduced-including robotics, digital cameras and microscopes. Expetec and other franchisors use online forums to keep franchisees up to speed with developments.

Times Are A-Changin'

In this era where spam fills our inboxes and new viruses are capable of instantly wiping out a wealth of valuable information, staying abreast of technology has become crucial for computer users of all kinds. Technology can open the door to success for a business, but being ignorant of the dangers and being unprepared to deal with problems can shut the door just as quickly. Franchises offering tech consulting, services and training are growing rapidly, offering more opportunities than ever. And franchisees of those businesses will find that the skills they possess and the solutions they provide can be as valuable as gold.

On Your Mark, Get Tech, Go!

Pumped up about starting your own tech business? Begin your research here with the following franchises:

Children's
Children's Technology Workshop
(416) 425-2289
www.ctworkshop.com

CompuChild
(800) 619-5437
www.compuchild.com

Computertots/Computer Explorers
(888) 638-8722 / (281) 256-4100
www.computertots.com

Internet
InstantFX
(605) 225-4122
www.instantfx.biz

Netspace
(800) 638-7722
www.netspace.com

WSI Internet
(905) 678-7588
www.wsicorporate.com

Training
CM IT Solutions
(512) 477-6667
www.cmitsolutions.com

New Horizons Computer Learning Centers
(714) 940-8230
www.newhorizons.com

Miscellaneous
Computer Medics of America Inc.
(907) 694-0371
www.computermedicsofamerica.com

Computer Renaissance
(863) 669-1155
www.compren.com

Computer Troubleshooters
(770) 454-6382
www.comptroub.com

Concerto Networks Inc.
(866) 551-4007 / (619) 501-4530
www.concertonetworks.com

Data Doctors
(480) 921-2444
www.datadoctors.com

Expetec
(888) 209-3951
www.expetec.com

Friendly Computers
(800) 656-3115 / (702) 458-2780
www.friendlycomputers.com

Geeks On Call America
(757) 466-3448
www.geeksoncall.com

Rescuecom
(800) 737-2837
www.rescuecom.com

Soft-Temps Worldwide
(800) 221-2880
www.stfranchise.com

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This article was originally published in the May 2005 print edition of Entrepreneur's StartUps with the headline: The Future is Now.

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