Franchise Players

Virginia Pharmacist Turns to Dry Cleaning as First-Time Franchisee

Virginia Pharmacist Turns to Dry Cleaning as First-Time Franchisee
Image credit: shutterstock
  • ---Shares

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 franchiseplayers@entrepreneur.com.

Krishna Gondi has been a successful pharmacist for over a decade at CVS. His passion was and still is medicine, but he couldn’t resist the urge of entrepreneurialism that strikes some a little later in life than others. He was always a fan of ZIPS Dry Cleaning and thought it was the perfect business model with its one-price garment cleaning and same-day service. Here he describes his adventure as a first-time franchisee. 

Related: When Visions of Sugarplums Dance, This Dental Fix Rx Franchisee Is on His Way

Image credit: Krishna Gondi

Name: Krishna Gondi

Franchise Owned: ZIPS Dry Cleaners in Woodbridge, VA.

Q: How long have you owned a franchise?  

Eight months

Q: Why franchising? 

Franchising provides you with a proven business model and eliminates most of the risk involved when starting a business. I saw franchising was the fastest and most efficient way to build a business with my lack of entrepreneurial experience.

Q: What were you doing before you became a franchise owner? 

I was and still am a pharmacist for CVS. I have been a pharmacist now for 11 years.

Q: Why did you choose this particular franchise? 

I was actually a ZIPS customer and was just always impressed with their concept. I started doing my own research and began thinking that it would be a perfect fit for me to venture into becoming a business owner. I realized ZIPS was changing the face of dry cleaning industry with their efficient, user-friendly operating system which handles volumes four times higher than traditional cleaners. After meeting with the staff at the ZIPS corporate office, I realized how focused they are on customer satisfaction and delivering high quality which aligned with my goals.

Related: Despite a Major Move, From Mortgages to Steaks, This Franchisee Never Bit Off More Than He Could Chew

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

About $950,000.

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

I did most of my research by reading online articles and various business magazines. I did talk to a few business owners who I knew were in different industries to get some advice on day-to-day business operations of their business. Staff members at the corporate office of ZIPS were very open to my questions and gave me advice on anything I needed as were other ZIPS franchisees who I called.

Q: What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise? 

One of the biggest unexpected challenges was definitely financial setbacks I had.  For example, the architect we had quoted us a price but ended up being almost double what was quoted. You have to be prepared for something like this. Thanks to my own family and friends, I was able to meet those financial needs, but was definitely unexpected. The other hardship was actually finding a location. Finding the right location is already difficult in itself, but trying to find one that would allow a dry cleaners was very tough.

Q: What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise? Advice I would give would have to be two things. One, make sure you do all your research and know what you are getting into, that way you have a lot of knowledge and eliminate any surprises that could have been prevented. Last, no matter what arises, do not give up. While starting a business can be very stressful and sometimes you just want to throw your hands up -- don’t. The reward in the end is much greater.

Q: What’s next for you and your business?  

My ultimate goal is to open multiple ZIPS locations in the future, but my immediate goal is to open my second location in 2016.

Related: This Franchisee's Goal of Owning His Own Plumbing Business Was No Pipe Dream

Edition: December 2016

Get the Magazine

Limited-Time Offer: 1 Year Print + Digital Edition and 2 Gifts only $9.99
Subscribe Now