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.
Imagine a hiring job that never ends -- and imagine loving it. That's the picture for Tracey Hamilton, a Minneapolis-based franchisee with Patrice & Associates, a nationwide network of restaurant and hospitality recruiting offices -- with more than 600 jobs to fill at any moment. Hamilton had been a senior director with Express Scripts, the nation's largest pharmacy-benefits management organization. But she yearned to lead her own business and chose Patrice & Associates as the right fit, because, "I had the experience needed to spot quality leaders." She also yearned to lead a true family business. So she brought into the business her best "recruits" of all: daughters Sarah Nagle, 25, and Erin Nagle, 23.
Name: Tracey Hamilton
Franchise owned: Patrice & Associates Hospitality Recruiting, the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs -- Minneapolis
How long have you owned a franchise?
I began partnering with local restaurants and management candidates in June 2015. The past six months have been extremely rewarding and successful.
After my extensive tenure as a leader in corporate America, I longed to be a leader of my own business and have ultimate control over my own success.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I was a senior director for Express Scripts, Inc., leading account-management teams and directors to meet day-to-day needs and long-term goals for their clients and the company.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
After extensive research about a number of franchise options, Patrice & Associates Hospitality Recruiting was my final choice because I had the experience needed to spot quality leaders and to partner with clients to fulfill their leadership needs and offer ongoing account management.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
My cost to open a Patrice & Associates franchise was approximately $58,500. That consisted of the franchise fee, of $48,000; training, $5,000; the starter kit and supplies, $2,500; and a web page, $3,000.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
I reached out to a friend who is very successful in franchising across a number of concepts, and she referred me to a fabulous woman, Karol Mercurio, a senior franchise consultant with Franchise Destinations. I also spoke with the franchisors and franchisees of each franchise I researched. And Karol Mercurio referred me to Dave Woggon, a financial consultant for business owners and franchisees, who continues to be extremely helpful in offering me direction every step of the way.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
I didn’t run across any challenge that I didn’t expect. Learning all the ins and outs of starting a business can seem overwhelming, but Patrice & Associates was not difficult at all. In addition to my franchise and financial consultant, they offer ongoing support. Overall, the success of my business is completely up to me; as long as I dig in and keep moving forward, I can expect to succeed. And thus far, I am progressing at exactly the pace I was hoping, where I am gaining new clients regularly and also successfully placing great leaders into managerial-level positions.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Take advantage of a franchise consultant. Use one that comes with great references. They are of no cost to you, and they offer a wealth of information and ongoing support. Thoroughly research any franchise you are considering, by reviewing their FDD and company history. Also, be sure to talk to other franchisees at the concepts you are considering, to confirm these franchises' successes and challenges. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, be sure you choose a market that will withstand ongoing changes and new competition.
What’s next for you and your business?
I am going to continue establishing a strong reputation with my local clients and candidates in Minnesota. I have initially built strong partnerships with my clients by keeping our lines of communication open, to assure my team; and I fully understand the unique qualities they are seeking for their next hire. My clients are successful in their own businesses because they have a focus on what talents their leaders must have; that said, I make it my business to know what that is and find those very candidates.The long-term success of my clients and candidates will equal my own long-term success.