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 email@example.com.
If you’re getting ready to deck the halls, you’ll be needing decorations. That’s where Jason Paulk’s Christmas Decor franchise comes in. When he’s not saving lives as a firefighter and an EMT, he’s bringing joy to families as a franchisee that sells holiday cheer. He’s certainly earned a spot on Santa’s nice list, and on Entrepreneur’s Franchise Players column, too. Read on to hear how his entrepreneurial family inspired him and how he’s bringing his local community together by bringing Santa’s village to life.
Name: Jason Paulk
Franchise owned: Christmas Décor by Paulk Outdoors, McDonough, Ga.
Q: How long have you owned a franchise?
I have owned by Christmas Décor franchise for 14 years.
Q: Why franchising?
I chose to open a franchise because the Christmas business is a very niche market. It made more sense to partner with a business that has proven systems laid out, and that offers support of marketing and graphics materials, as well as software and market research. Creating those assets and systems would have been a barrier to success for me as a business owner, and I couldn’t imagine starting a business without them.
Q: What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
Before opening my Christmas Décor franchise I was a firefighter and paramedic, and I still am to this day. I sought a business opportunity what would offer the flexibility to work, and to support other seasonal business ventures’ overhead costs, like office space, products and equipment, year-round.
Q: Why did you choose this particular franchise?
When I was first seeking a franchise concept, Christmas Décor was the pioneer in the Christmas decorating space, and offered the best-proven systems in the market. I knew of an existing franchise location in a neighboring town whose owners were optimistic about the brand and encouraged me to consider franchise ownership.
Q: How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
Because this was the first business that I owned, I didn’t have any existing equipment or assets to convert. I initially invested $35,000 before opening for business.
Q: Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
As someone who comes from an entrepreneurial family, I relied on my parents’ experience and advice. My father, who was a self-made business owner, and my mother, who owned a Curves franchise concept advised me to peruse franchise ownership because it provided support and the legwork of system development was already done.
Q: What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
As a new business owner, the greatest unexpected challenge I faced was being able to put faith in other people and employees. Over time, working with subcontractors and seasonal employees has gotten easier, but initially, misplaced trust lead to spending late nights correcting mistakes.
Q: What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Give it a shot. Don’t reinvent the wheel by trying to open up your own business model. With franchising, there are hundreds of other entrepreneurs who have tested and proven the franchise concept time and time again, and put their trust into it.
Q: What’s next for you and your business?
Through Christmas Décor, our team has been able to create a destination in our local community by creating a drive-through lights show at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. The attraction featured a Santa’s Village and carnival all inside a Christmas atmosphere, and we’re looking forward to tailoring it to the community’s needs, and growing it into an anticipated holiday tradition.