Sixteen years of experience as a franchise executive and consultant brought Kevin Rooney to one conclusion: All franchises face the same problems and would benefit from the same solutions if they had access to them. Rooney wanted to provide that access, and so he founded Annapolis, Maryland-based FranchiseMaster Technologies Inc. last year to make his concept a reality.
"My vision was, if we all have the same problems and operate under this unique franchise business model, I can build the platform for the franchise companies and franchise companies can access it through me," Rooney says. "In turn, they can use my support systems for their franchise owners."
That access point is FranchiseMaster.com, which Rooney unveiled at the International Franchise Association conference in February. On the site, franchise companies and franchise owners from preregistered companies receive solutions from more than 60 companies in areas like operations, accounting and finance, real estate and communication.
After a company consults with FranchiseMaster, its corporate employees and franchisees are allowed to enter the site. (Nonfranchisees can also access the site after registering.) Different "neighborhoods" are set up for franchisors and franchisees. From these neighborhoods, visitors can click through to find solutions for finance issues like budget planning or real estate questions about site selection. FranchiseMaster assesses fees for any services used, and franchisees and franchisors typically pay cheaper rates than other visitors to the site.
About 280 franchises and 74,000 franchisees are currently pre-registered to use FranchiseMaster.com.
Though the site won't launch until sometime this month, Rooney is already plotting FranchiseMaster.com's expansion. He'd like to offer franchise companies a forum for holding meetings, providing training and communicating with franchisees through the site.
"The goal of our company and the product is to provide efficiencies, communication and productivity to franchise companies and franchise owners," Rooney says. "They can access whatever they need and use whatever they need."