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.
Sheetal Dalwadi comes from a long line of entrepreneurs -- her family has been involved with hotel franchises for years -- so when she opened a waxing franchise in Texas, she had plenty of experience to draw from. No matter what industry her franchise is in, for Dalwadi, the focus is always on treating people well -- both her employees and the less fortunate members of her community. Read on to hear her best advice and learn from her experience. As she says, “Always remember to share the knowledge.”
Name: Sheetal Dalwadi
Franchise owned: Waxing the City in Houston
Q: How long have you owned a franchise?
Although this is not my family’s first franchise, we’ve owned this Waxing the City market for a little more than a year.
Q: Why franchising?
I like the luxury of having systems and procedures in place for me. It makes the whole team accountable and the focus can be on profitability and people. The Waxing the City franchise appealed to me because it shares the same parent company as Anytime Fitness. Waxing the City benefits from Anytime Fitness’ best practices and the support of a world-class leadership team. Wax-only is also an emerging franchise category in a growing part of the beauty industry.
Q: What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I was a Director of Operations for Dalwadi Hospitality Management, which my family created to manage all the hotels we own. Diversifying our portfolio with Waxing the City just made sense as there’s an element of hospitality and making people feel their best involved with waxing.
Q: Why did you choose this particular franchise?
Waxing the City appealed to me for several reasons:
We wanted a franchise that resonated with our business philosophy of putting people first. Waxing the City treats their employees and franchisees well. Giving back to the community is also important to us, so we encourage our employees to give back, too. Waxing the City fosters a similar culture and our studio locations will operate the same way.
The product and technique is truly one of a kind with two types of wax that are formulated in Spain and the technique is the most painless that I have seen. This has appealed very much to clients at my two locations, where I have almost a 100 percent re-book rate.
Transparency of information from the franchisor is another reason. The FDD gives a good detailed estimate of the capital requirements.
They are humble and offer flexibility from franchisee to franchisee.
Q: How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
In addition to the initial franchise fee, I spent about $300,000 on real estate and build out. This includes architect and design fees, signage, insurance and furniture and equipment among other things.
Q: Where did you get most of your advice / do most of your research?
I am lucky to come from a long line of entrepreneurs, so a lot of my advice comes from my parents, uncles and siblings as well as friends who are also entrepreneurs. I spend a lot of time with like-minded people. I research different periodicals, too. Another big resource for me was other franchisees and the franchisor.
Q: What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
There was only one unexpected challenge for me: Location. The retail market is hot in Houston! We were up against many offers for our space. But we got it and it’s worth it.
Q: What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Be passionate about the franchise because you are going to make sacrifices and work long hours. However, these will be efficient and productive hours if you are working with a franchise that has systems and procedures in place like Waxing the City does.
Don't be afraid to speak your mind to the franchise if it is for the greater good of the franchise. The good ones listen and work to make things a better place for everyone involved. Always remember to share the knowledge.
Promote goodwill in your community. It goes a long way and it just makes you feel good!
Q: What’s next for you and your business?
We are planning a second phase of openings in the spring/summer of 2016. We expect to be successful with the Waxing the City systems we have in place and look to help the community as we have done in the past, not just by providing 60 to 70 jobs, but also through volunteer efforts at local nonprofit organizations.