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"People today want to feel safe and comfortable in their homes, and franchisors providing home improvements or home services are going to find consumers with open arms," says Jerry Wilkerson, president and founder of Crete, Illinois-based consulting firm Franchise Recruiters Ltd.
The possibilities are practically endless. From maids and plumbers to painters and decorators, dozens of franchises serve the homeowner.
One industry taking advantage of the home focus is storage design and installation-this category emerged in the Franchise 500® in the '80s and is experiencing growth to this day. "Most Americans are spending less of their income on vacations. My feeling is, they'll spend those dollars on things related to the home," says Bob Lewis, founder and president of the Closet & Storage Concepts franchise.
This interest in the home isn't all related to fear of traveling-the home-improvement industry has been booming for the past few years, growing into an estimated $178 billion market in 2000, according to the Home Improvement Research Institute. Couple that with Census figures indicating 70 percent of the population owns a home, and you have millions of homeowners with money to spend. "People are willing to spend money on things that they think they're going to get an immediate return [on], and that is generally in and around the house," Wilkerson says.
Mr. Handyman International is another franchise in a growing category poised to benefit from the market. Operated by Service Brands International, Mr. Handyman does everything from hanging screens to cleaning out basements. "Everybody has a list on the refrigerator of things that really have to get done," says president and CEO Greg Longe of the everlasting demand.
Market leaders haven't emerged in many segments of the industry-yet. Lewis and Longe are hoping to change that in 2002.
The Franchise Zone
Check out the companies in this article, as well as other home improvement franchises: