If you're investigating franchises and inclined to ask owners, "How fast can I expect to ramp up?" meet Chuck Reger, ProTect Painters of Covington, WA, southeast of Seattle. He opened for business the end of this February, and he's already 25% ahead of plan. "I'm working seven days a week, but it's my own choice," he says. "You can work as hard as you want to in this business." We wanted to know more and caught up with Chuck in between presenting estimates to his customers.
ProTect Painters: How's business?
Chuck Reger: I'm busy, which is good. I've done better than I thought I would. (I'm sure I'm doing better than the Home Office thought I would, too.) My goal for the year is $200,000 in sales.
PP: When candidates call you for validation, what do you tell them?
CR: Yes, I'm making money. The toughest part of the business-and it's not that tough-is finding painting crews. Work through Sherwin-Williams and Behr (Home Depot) and you won't have a problem. You have a lot of freedom and autonomy. And, yes, I would do it again.PP: When candidates call you for validation, what do you tell them?
PP: What's driving customer leads?
CR: We're aggressively marketing everywhere from church bulletins to Valpak couponing, but the most effective lead source is through the Internet. Almost 70 percent of our leads are coming from our search engine marketing programs.
PP: Who are your competitors?
CR: CertaPro is our only direct competitor. If we go up against each other, sometimes they are lower and other times we are lower. But it's not about price all the time. It really comes down to who hits it off best with the customer-speaking with the customer, providing useful information, and following up.
PP: What do you like best about what you do?
CR: I like working out of my house and meeting with customers.
PP: What traits make for successful ProTect Painters owners?
CR: The ability to connect with customers, getting crews to trust you, and being honest and ethical.
PP: What's a typical day in the life for you? My first task in the morning is to create a spreadsheet of my leads. From there, my day and time is pretty flexible: I'll present two or three estimates, meet on job sites with my crews, probably visit Sherwin-Williams and Home Depot, check in with customers and handle administrative duties, and put my feet up and take a nap.
CR: How do you spend your free time? If I had free time, I'd be working on my golf game. I am better at time management, getting quicker and more efficient in what I'm doing. That's important because I have season tickets for Oregon football. I'll go to as many games as I can. GO Ducks!
Chuck is a good example of what is possible in this business. If you follow the operating system and invest the time in growing your business, the return on your effort can be quite rewarding. Talk to one of our franchise development managers and learn more about how you can make the grade on that ramp up