These Two Factors Are Leading the UPS Store's Rapid Expansion The UPS Store holds steady at #4 on the Franchise 500 for the second straight year, by relying on two key intangibles.

By Carl Stoffers

entrepreneur daily

This story appears in the January 2024 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Courtesy of The UPS Store

To view our entire 2024 Franchise 500 list, including category rankings, click HERE

Started Franchising: 1980

Total Units: 5,570

Cost to Open: $101.8K-$476.99K

If you have worked in policing or firefighting, The UPS Store had a new deal for you in 2023: It offered discounts on franchise fees to help you open your own shop. That's part of the company's ongoing effort to widen its franchisee pool, as it expands beyond its preexisting program that has offered the same incentives to veterans and people from underrepresented groups. "As we look to grow our network, we have programs in place to help us attract diverse owners," says Michelle Van Slyke, the brand's senior vice president of marketing and sales.

This initiative helps the store to be relevant in more communities. "When we look at our customer base from 10 years ago compared to where we are today, there have been dramatic changes in diversity," Van Slyke says.

The results speak volumes: With growth and sales up, The UPS Store stayed strong at No. 4 on our Franchise 500 — the same ranking it had last year. This is its 41st consecutive year ranking in the Franchise 500, its eighth consecutive year in the Top 10, and its 34th consecutive year at No. 1 in its category.

Related: The 50 Franchise Companies Doing the Most to Champion Diversity

But in addition to its focus on who owns its locations, The UPS Store is also making big changes in the stores themselves — increasing efficiency for busy customers.

As shoppers have gotten used to avoiding lines at many grocery stores and pharmacies with self-

checkout, The UPS Store saw an opportunity to offer the same zip-through service when shipping packages. Following a major redesign of the stores over the past few years, the franchise started installing self-serve kiosks on-site in 2023. Already, they're in more than 1,500 of their 5,570 locations. "We're finding it to be very successful," says Van Slyke. "We've had about 11.5 million transactions, so we think it's an area where we can satisfy the customer and be convenient."

The UPS Store is now also working to ease another friction point for customers: returns. UPS, its parent company, recently announced plans to acquire Happy Returns from PayPal. The startup's new software and reverse logistics capabilities will enable The UPS Store locations to offer box-free, label-free returns. As it rolls out this new feature, the reliability of the UPS name is a major asset, says Van Slyke: "Instant credibility there. No one quite has our bundle of goods and services."

Related: How to Become a UPS Driver — Which Now Pays $170,000 a Year When Including Benefits

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Carl Stoffers

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior Business Editor

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