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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rob and Melissa Dunn worked well as a team in marriage, and after an adjustment period, they’ve figured out how to work together in business as well. Appropriate to their spirit of teamwork, the franchise they joined is called SYNERGY HomeCare. Read on to learn how they got started and the advice they have for future franchisees.
Name: Rob and Melissa Dunn
Franchise owned: SYNERGY HomeCare Yuma
How long have you owned a franchise?
We have been a SYNERGY HomeCare franchise partner for two years.
We chose franchising because we wanted to join a company with a proven business model. We didn't have a background in the non-medical home care field so teaming with SYNERGY HomeCare as a franchisor helped minimize the learning curve. Because we chose an industry leader, we were able to open the doors of a new business with years of experience to back us up. We didn’t have to figure things out on the fly. Support, systems and expertise are certainly the perks of buying a franchise.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
My wife, Melissa, was in property management and real estate while I was a general manager in the automotive retail industry.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
The growth projections regarding the demand for in-home care are incredible. Once we knew what we wanted to do and where we wanted to do it, we had to decide which in-home care company would be the best fit. The name SYNERGY HomeCare kept popping up in various publications and websites. More interesting to us were the high marks the company was scoring in "Franchisee Satisfaction". We felt if the franchisees were happy and saying good things, the franchisor must be doing something right. Once we met the team from SYNERGY HomeCare, we decided to seal the deal.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
Franchise Fee: $39,500
Grand Opening: $1000
Office Furniture etc: $2500
Computer Hardware and Software: $5000
Training in Gilbert, AZ: $750
Licenses & Fees: $190
Accountant Setup: $990
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
We did most of our research on the internet. We also spoke with other Franchise Partners in the SYNERGY HomeCare network as well as the Franchise Sales and Support Center. No amount of training replaces hands-on experience but it's great to have a large number of successful people that do exactly what we do to help navigate when something unexpected comes up.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
The most unexpected challenge was working with a spouse. The dynamic of a husband and wife suddenly becoming business partners was something we had to work through at first. After two years of working together, we've figured out most of the nuances of being life partners and business partners.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
It's cliche but you get out of it what you put into it. If you are looking for a place to put your money where you don't have to do much, then franchising may not be for you. If you're committed to working the business from the start, it's a terrific template for success. Our first two years in business we've worked hard IN our business. In our third year we're now able to step back a bit and work ON our business.
What’s next for you and your business?
The plan is to expand into additional territories and replicate the success we've had here in Yuma, Arizona.