As the economy booms, franchise systems are seeing exponential growth. In early 2018, the International Franchise Association projected franchise sector growth would outpace the rest of the U.S. economy. Franchise locations were expected to grow 1.9% in 2018, and employment to grow 3.7%, again outpacing the rest of the economy. In addition, the IFA expected franchise businesses to increase output by 6.2% to $757 billion. Researchers largely credited tax reform and regulatory relief for instilling optimism and confidence among franchise owners, and future owners.
Recently, Entrepreneur released its list of fastest growing franchises in 2019 and some restoration franchises made the cut! Restoration 1 ranked #48, 911 Restoration ranked #77, 1-800-Packouts ranked #110, and PuroClean came in at #127.
To take a closer look at the true growth and evolution of franchises today, R&R reached out to several – both well-established and newer to franchising, to gain their insights and growth projections.
- Gary Findley, CEO of Restoration 1
- Janny Tran, Marketing Manager, 911 Restoration
- Steve White, President & COO, PuroClean
- Tom Duff, Founder & CEO, Mastertech
- Craig Gjelsten, VP of Operations, Rainbow International - a Neighborly Company
1. Tell me a little bit about the background of your franchise.
Restoration 1 was founded in 2008, and began franchising in 2010. Our brand started as an independent company and moved to franchising years later. It wasn’t until Gary Findley took over as CEO in 2016 that Restoration 1 took off by smashing franchising goals and expanding across the country. Currently, there are 255 franchises open or in development throughout the U.S. and about 1,100 employees. We specialize in an array of restoration services for residential and commercial properties, including water, fire, smoke and flood damage, sewage cleanup, storm recovery, mold remediation, biohazard cleanup, carpet cleaning, odor removal and crime scene and trauma cleanup.
We started in 2003 as an independent company. With our success, we wanted to start franchising because we recognized how we can help independent contractors reach their goals through the system we created for ourselves. Sharing success with others and being a helping hand is our goal. Working together and not against one another. Today, there are more than 180 territories and 850 employees across the board. We do full-service restoration with a focus on water damage, mold removal, fire and smoke damage restoration, and more.
PuroClean was founded in 2001, and has always been a franchise company. Right now, there are more than 280 locations across the U.S. and Canada with about 250 franchise owners and 1,500 team members. PuroClean provides water damage remediation, flood water removal, fire and smoke damage remediation, mold removal, and biohazard cleanup to commercial and residential customers. Some franchise offices offer reconstruction services, as well as other ancillary services.
We were founded in 2015 but didn’t really start advertising until 2016. The company started as an independent company and franchising sort of happened more organically than anything else. We were featured on HGTV & DIY Networks in a show about going after bad contractors. The show lasted five seasons (I think) and we started getting phone calls from all of the country asking if we offered franchises. Most people were interested because of our strong, corporate brand and thought we were a much bigger company. There are currently nine franchises with between 60 and 70 employees. Our core service offering is mold! I started Mastertech because of the health implications stemming from mold illness. Mold made me very sick as a child, so I know first-hand what it’s like to suffer from mold. Oddly enough, when I started the company, I wasn’t truly aware of the “water damage” industry as I now know it. So you could say we started kind of backwards. Our franchises do offer water damage mitigation but our focus is on the environmental cleaning sector. Our main services are mold remediation and inspections – and that’s our niche’. We also offer crime and death scene cleanup, hoarding cleanup – and of course water damage mitigation. Some of our franchises also offer full restoration and build back, carpet cleaning and asbestos removal.
The original carpet cleaning and dyeing company, Rainbow International, was supported by the hard work of Don Dwyer, Jack A. White (current Rainbow International vice president of technical services), and their first employees. From there, it evolved quickly. Because of leadership’s willingness to embrace transformation, the company began expanding service offerings and became a property restoration franchise. Today, Rainbow International is part of the Neighborly family. Franchisees have connections with other Neighborly brands all over the nation, and these brands are committed to helping other Neighborly brands through marketing cross-promotions and shared knowledge. Today, Neighborly consists of 22 brands supporting nearly 3,700 franchisees which generate $2 billion in annual system-wide sales.
2. Did your franchise network grow in 2018? If so, how much?
In 2018, Restoration 1 opened 73 locations and expanded in five new states, ending the year with a record-setting 249 locations in 37 states.
From 2017 to 2018, 911 Restoration grew 29.7%, by adding 41 new units.
We added 30 new locations in 2018.
Yes, all the locations started in 2017 or 2018.
In 2018, Rainbow International added 34 franchise locations in the U.S. and three in Canada. Our franchise owners employ over 2,000 employees across their independently owned and operated franchise locations.
3. Do you expect to keep adding franchises? Are you willing to share your 2019 goals/projections?
Our plan is to keep adding franchises with the goal to reach 500 locations in the next three years. We also plan to add more complementary brands, like we acquired bluefrog Plumbing + Drain, to our network with the hopes of creating an umbrella company of services.
Yes, our goal is to grow our system by 30%. We want to add another 36 locations this year.
We are continuing to add locations with 16 already awarded in the first quarter of 2019.
Yes we do. We actually turn more applicants down than we accept because we want the right people and the right culture amongst franchise owners. Our goals are to add two or three franchisees per quarter.
Yes. The goal for 2019 is to add 45 new Rainbow International franchise locations and we are on track to meet this goal.
4. What do you attribute to the successful growth of your network?
Our brand has been successful because we’ve designed our business to be effectively turn-key, with a low investment, zero overhead and without the added expenses of a brick and mortar building. Our franchisees use their talents as networkers, alongside our proven system and the tools that we provide, to become established in their communities as the go-to restoration business. That’s why our franchise attracts former stockbrokers, corporate executives, veterans and tradesmen alike, all of whom have equal success. Restoration 1 is a simple business to understand and it’s even easier to own.
We are a big believer that using technology can help simplify the day to day of our franchisees and get them more focused on business development and profitability while we take care of lead generation. With our years of experience that we have in digital marketing, lead generation is how we get our franchisees off the ground running from the start. We were one of the very first restoration companies that did PPC marketing – with over a decade of experience managing hundreds of campaigns we are at the forefront of the game.
What sets PuroClean apart from any other franchise opportunity is our servant leadership. Our executives lead by example and always make themselves available to franchise owners; we have created a “family” culture that franchise owners highly value. Our relationship with franchise owners is the most important aspect of our mission and we make it a priority every day to demonstrate this. We are committed to serving them as they serve their communities, and we are proud to be doing very well in both areas. Additionally, the way we manage our territories is key to our success. We have open-border market policies, exceptional regional directors engaged with franchise owners daily, a strong community of franchise owners, and an executive leadership team with decades of experience.
Strong brand, strong advertising, strong training systems and a very strong support system. My strengths are in marketing and sales training. But I couldn’t do it all and I realized I had some weaknesses. Two years ago, I partnered with Eric Green to take Mastertech Franchise Systems to new levels. Eric is an owner/operator of Mastertech of North Jersey and is now a partner in the franchise system. He is a business coach by trade and has been in service industries for years. Eric teaches much of our technical trainings and complete operations courses and specializes in teaching profit-first accounting to franchisees.
First and foremost, we attribute the successful growth of our network to having engaged franchise owners that represent the brand well and support one another. At the corporate office, we maintain several teams that support our franchise owners in different areas. We have a team of Franchise Business Coaches that each have an assigned number of business owners to support. Through this model, we provide regular business coaching in the areas of recruiting and retention, marketing and sales, operations, and financial analysis and benchmarking through regular communication, including site visits. We maintain a technical team with more than 125 years of combined experience that is available to assist franchise owners and their staff with technical support. Our account services team provides support of our software systems, Xactimate review and conducts educational webinars on estimating best practices. The Neighborly marketing division has nearly 100 employees serving in various capacities to support the marketing efforts of franchise owners across the brands through local marketing support, communications and PR, digital services, video and creative services. We also have a business development team that identifies and sells national and regional agreements for water, fire, mold, contents and rebuild services performed by our franchise owners.
In addition, we continually provide the latest restoration industry information and technology to our network through training events, such as the three regional workshops we conducted this year in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Illinois.
5. Anything else?
At Restoration 1, we are absolutely committed to the success of our franchise owners, providing them with everything they need to quickly ramp up their businesses and become established in their communities over the long-term. Our proven and award-winning business model has helped several first-time entrepreneurs without any experience in the restoration industry achieve remarkable results. The American restoration industry has grown to an astonishing $215 billion annual market, and this points toward a skyrocketing market for home and commercial restoration in the coming years. Our team is gearing up for the demand as we continue to be one of the fastest-growing restoration franchises in the country.
Our passion is to see our franchisees succeed and continue sharing the success with new franchisees that join our family. Our foundational franchise philosophy at 911 Restoration is that everyone deserves a Fresh Start. Here at 911 Restoration franchise, we believe that anyone can change the world, make a difference, and create a better future for both themselves and others. With this franchise philosophy in mind, we like to think of ourselves as difference makers rather than simply a disaster restoration franchise.
The PuroVet program is dedicated to helping U.S. military veterans secure their future as independent owners of a PuroClean franchise. Through the program, veterans of the U.S. armed forces save 25% off the initial franchise fee – a savings of $12,500. PuroClean also secured additional savings for veterans from MatchU Franchising, who will reduce their commission by 25% for all veterans the company matches with PuroClean. All new franchise owners also benefit from attending courses at our $1.5 million state-of-the-art training facility and our Online Academy which offers 24/7 access to learning.