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.
Coming from a career managing multiple locations for a large franchise company, Greg Kingsbury had a leg up on operating a franchise himself.
Just shy of a year ago, the U.S. military veteran signed on with Better Deal Printing, founded in 2001 by Lawrence Curell, a disabled Army veteran. Initially started as a home-based, business-to-broker printing company, it has evolved over 15 years into a full-scale production operation that currently serves clients in 21 countries on four continents.
Curell's drive behind the business was to give back to the veteran community and help veterans become business owners in the high-growth area of print, promotional products and corporate apparel. The company offers reduced franchise fees for veterans and disabled veterans. It is competitive by offering lower royalty structures and by owning the manufacturing companies that produce a large portion of the products that the franchisees sell.
Better Deal Printing was officially franchised in 2015 and has been growing fast with plans to add another 50 franchises in the next five years to the system.
Below, Kingsbury describes just how perfect a fit this franchise was for him and his confidence of future growth within the company.
Name: Greg Kingsbury
Franchise owned: Better Deal Printing of Northern Arizona
Q: How long have you owned a franchise?
Q: Why franchising?
Being part of a franchise offers the benefit of a support system which is valuable to start of your new business and ongoing support throughout the life of your business. I was able to walk into a ready-made business with a proven concept, which makes it easier to get started.
Q: What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I have been managing multiple locations for another large franchise company for the past six years. Before that, I was a national marketing director for International Event Promotions Company.
Q: Why did you choose this particular franchise?
With my other position, I had the opportunity to work directly with Better Deal Printing (the production side) as a vendor to provide quality print products to my customers at very affordable pricing. My business relationship with Larry Curell evolved into an opportunity to move into owning my own business without going broke in the startup phase.
They really worked with me to make it affordable and easy to be able to own my own business. Beyond that, the support they offer is second to none. They are always available to me and are proactive and concerned with making sure I am successful.
Q: How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
$13,000 estimated. $10,000 of this expense was the franchise fee for buy-in to Better Deal Printing. The remaining $3,000 covered a new computer, software, business insurance and minimal office supplies and equipment to get going.
This is a “work out of my home” business, so the major things that typically eat at your finances (like a brick-and-mortar building) weren’t an issue here. My house and my car are my office.
Q: Where did you get most of your advice / do most of your research?
Having been a part of a major franchise for many years, my experience became my own advice.
Q: What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
Taxes and paperwork. Although I managed other people’s businesses for most of my adult life, I had never owned one. I could not have imagined how important every piece of paperwork was going to be to create a solid paper trail with my finances. Better Deal Printing made it easier, as they have vendors and support in place with discounted pricing negotiated.
Q: What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Research the company. Read and understand your contract -- there is a lot of legal stuff in there. Find a great accountant to get you set up correctly from day one. Make sure this is something you really want to do for a long time. You don’t want to buy into something and find out you hate it. That’s what working for other people is for.
This is your business -- and you should love it! Overall, if you are wanting to be your own boss, this is a really inexpensive and safe (safe as owning a business can be) path to follow. Most of the ground work has already been done for you. You just have to put forth the effort to build strong relationships within your area, and good things will happen.
Q: What’s next for you and your business?
Well, I’ve brought on a new independent sales consultant to help me grow my local market and spread out a bit. Beyond that, I am hoping to open another location within the next three years and hopefully one more before I hit the five-year mark.
Grow, expand, enjoy. What else could I want?