Leaving the Competition to Become a Franchisee

Leaving the Competition to Become a Franchisee
Image credit: Peter Foradas
Peter Foradas

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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 ktaylor@entrepreneur.com.

Peter Foradas had plenty of time to figure out if a BlueGrace Logistics was a good fit for him. Before opening his own franchise, he had been selling against the company for five years, working in sales and management for Worldwide Express. His position as an industry insider allowed him a behind the scenes look at the franchise before investing. Here's what he's learned.

Name: Peter Foradas   

Franchise owned: BlueGrace Logistics in Indianapolis, Ind.

How long have you owned a franchise? 

For 20 months.  

Why franchising?

Franchising offers an opportunity to skilled, entrepreneurial minded, business professionals seeking rapid growth within a niche market without exhausting time, energy, and money into technology, infrastructure, and marketing. Franchisors typically provide training, professional consultation and industry news and updates to franchisees. It’s an excellent approach to hit the ground running.

Related: How This Couple Created the Largest Tutor Doctor Office in the World

What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?

Before purchasing a franchise with BlueGrace Logistics, I spent five years in outside sales and management for Worldwide Express. Because of the extensive sales training and exposure I received in markets like Chicago and the coastal Carolinas, I was recognized nationally as a top sales performer in small parcel and LTL freight shipping.

Why did you choose this particular franchise?

I chose BlueGrace Logistics because of its reputation and innovative approach to the market. Bobby Harris (CEO) believes in a diverse culture, which allows for creative minds to work collaboratively in an open forum. As a result, a unique stream of communication and ideas are born, which tend to be extremely relevant to our distinct customer base. Teaming up with a young company is conducive to huge growth opportunities and vertical mobility. 

How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?

$75,000: total

Initial FDD Cost: roughly $50,000

Operating expenses: roughly $5,000

Working capital: roughly $20,000

That’s it.

Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?

I acquired my knowledge of BlueGrace Logistics as a result of selling against them for five years. Because of my ties to the industry, I was able to lean on reputable sources to support my opinions. I stray away from online reviews and forums.

Related: Instead of Spending $100K on College, This Entrepreneur Took Out a Loan to Open Her Own Business

What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?

Although not unexpected, cash flow and hiring. If you’re not prepared to turn down business, you need to find another line of work. It’s increasingly important to “cross your T’s and dot your I’s” when you partner with any business. As a franchisee, we have an obligation to meet our financial agreement to pay our invoices and royalties ON TIME. Non-negotiable. Those same terms and conditions are imperative to identify before you ever process a P.O. with a new client. The allocation of your cash within your business must be structured properly and managed daily!

Recruiting and hiring is a full-time job in and of itself, and can be very expensive. Let’s be honest, we didn’t get into logistics to be a professional recruiter. However, if you become one, lights out. It takes an abundance of time to find the “perfect fit”. I’m not sure the “perfect fit” exists, but I know if you’re looking in the right places, utilizing your local universities/colleges and social networks, you can get very close.

What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?

Ask questions. It’s important to have a clear and concise understanding of the goals of the company, the expectations they have for you as a franchisee and your legal and financial obligations to the franchisor. If this is your first franchise, don’t forget: you don’t know everything. Patience and perseverance will be a key to your success. Be prepared to go through tumultuous times caused by variables you have no control over. Master the variables you can control. Believe in processes and create a playbook. Establish achievable goals, reward yourself for reaching them, and have a vision of what your company will look like long term.

What’s next for you and your business?

I’m currently expanding into a new market with the intention of hiring two account executives in 2015, as well as a business development manager.

Related: What You Can Learn From a Failed Franchise Investment

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