The Journey From Professional Hockey Player to Franchisee
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.
Boyd Kane played professional hockey for a whopping 16 years. So, unsurprisingly, when he was ready to leave the world of professional sports, he didn't have much business experience. For Boyd and his wife Sharlene, franchising offered the perfect support system for entrepreneurs without much experience in the industry. Here's what they've learned as Tailored Living featuring Premier Garage franchisees.
Name: Sharlene and Boyd Kane
Franchise owned: Tailored Living featuring Premier Garage, in Southern Saskatchewan, Canada
How long have you owned a franchise?
We started in September 2014.
We loved the idea of owning a franchise and being able to leverage a company with strong brand recognition. We also wanted an opportunity where we could have overall support from the entire business system. We were really hoping to start our own business but wanted it to be something we felt passionate about.
We found out about Tailored Living through our friend who owns the Budget Blinds franchise here in Regina. We met with the Tailored Living corporate office, which is part of the Home Franchise Concepts brand, and loved the people. They offered so much support and training in regards to the business side of things. We really loved the business concept and the product offering the Tailored Living franchise provides. We knew all too well how our own home and garage needed organization and storage, so it seemed like a great fit.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
Before we bought Tailored Living, Boyd was a professional hockey player and Sharlene was a stay at home mother. We have two small daughters and moved around a lot due to Boyd's career.
Boyd moved to Regina, Saskatchewan to play junior hockey when he was just sixteen years old. He then went from here to play sixteen years of professional hockey, spending time in the NHL (National Hockey League), AHL (American Hockey League) and KHL (Russian Hockey League). We knew hockey wouldn't last forever, but feel so lucky to have had that experience.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
For us, Tailored Living featuring Premier Garage was a perfect fit. We were hoping to work together and do something we both really loved. Boyd loves carpentry and even thought about taking a trade. Sharlene had a commerce degree from the University of Saskatchewan and was hoping to do something in marketing or interior design.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
The franchise fee was approximately $50,000, but we also needed garage flooring equipment for the Premier Garage (floor coating) side of the business at roughly $25,000, a truck and trailer for $60,000 and some other things. The overall investment was closer to $150,000.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
We got a lot of advice from the other Tailored Living featuring Premier Garage franchise owners. Clint Dawson, who owns the Central Alberta Tailored Living, was really helpful through the entire process and is still a great support today.
Every franchisee Boyd spoke with was so great about lengthy phone conversations regarding the entire business. They seemed very honest with how things were going and what we might be able to expect. Boyd went to the corporate office and actually met some of the company owners. He got to actually see the product and the people behind it. So, a lot of the research was very much hands on at the Discovery Day trip that spanned over several days in Orange, Calif.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
For us it was the unknown of running a business. Obviously coming from a life of hockey we didn't really know a lot about how a business worked. Again, that's where the support from a franchise comes in. They are always willing to help and we have some really great people around us.
The biggest challenges have included marketing, advertising and probably the insanely long hours you invest in getting the business going and doing the best you can for your customers. We would like to think we are both very hardworking, so having any moments where we aren't thinking about the franchise from every angle is extremely impossible.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
The best advice we could give is to talk to other franchise owners in a market similar to yours. They are the ones living the day-to-day life of owning a franchise. Also, gather information about who will make up your support team, from accountants to business owners to friends and family. A big surprise for us is the amount of people who are willing to help you get going and offer advice.
What’s next for you and your business?
The next six to 12 months is about growth. We want to grow our business substantially, but still maintain our personal contact and customer service with our clients. It's important for us to get people to recognize what Tailored Living featuring Premier Garage can do for them. So many people say to us, "oh we didn't realize you could do that." Hopefully we can get our name out to our customers and help them organize their lives!