Franchise Players is Entrepreneur's Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
After nearly 20 years in corporate finance, Michael Iannuccilli was ready to leave his position as a senior vice president at Citibank to pursue his dream of owning his own business. Becoming a Global Garage Flooring and Design franchisee allowed him to reap the benefits of his hard work though self-employment. The entrepreneur's biggest challenge: finding employees able to meet his high standards. Here's what he has learned.
Name: Michael Iannuccilli
Franchise owned: Global Garage Flooring and Design of Central New Jersey.
How long have you owned a franchise?
I have been in the business for two years.
It not only gave me a great system to remodel garages but provided a great business system to help me transition from corporate life to self-employment. Franchising provided me the opportunity to be my own boss, reap the benefits of my hard work and dedication, and gave me a direct vested interest in succeeding. Being part of a franchise also gave me the blueprint and the training needed to succeed in a field that I was not an expert in prior to joining.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
Prior to owning my franchise, I was a certified public accountant in the hedge fund industry. After close to 20 years in corporate finance, I left my senior vice president position at Citibank to pursue my dream of owning my own business. I found that business in Global Garage Flooring and Design.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
After interviewing several potential franchises, I chose Global Garage Flooring and Design for several reasons. Firstly, I feel that the garage remodeling industry is still a burgeoning industry that is taking off. Secondly, the franchise itself has a proven track record of providing a top of the line product with a minimal failure rate. Thirdly and most importantly, I chose this franchise because I was convinced that I would receive the support and attention from the franchisor, Lance Jensen, to be successful. I was confident that Lance had my best interest in mind and was dedicated to a long term relationship with one goal in mind… success.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
$25,000 franchisee fee, $35,000 equipment and inventory and $40,000 working capital.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
I received advice and conducted research using various mediums such as internet sites that provide statistic data on franchises and their success rates. I also read several periodicals and books on what to look for in a franchisor. Most importantly, I had conversations with my legal counsel regarding the various Franchise Disclosure Agreements I had an interest in and also spoke in detail with the Franchisors about their business models.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
The two biggest challenges I have faced are:
(1) Wearing every hat in the place for the first two years. I'm the accountant, the secretary, the estimator, the manager, and one of the installers.
(2) Finding employees that are as motivated, dedicated and will have the same perfectionist attitude I have towards my business and the product we deliver.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
The advice I would give to others who are debating whether or not to own a franchise is to be fearless. Follow your dreams, think it through, have a plan, work hard and you will succeed. Also, be sure to select a franchise that you are confident with, who will build a long term relationship with you, and who will provide you with the training and support needed to succeed. Your franchisor should actively engage with you and have a shared vision in developing your business.
What's next for you and your business?
With a solid foundation under us now, we need to start thinking about expansion. We have built a solid reputation through providing a quality product. This has led to an increasing amount of customer referrals, as well as an increased network of builders and contractors. In order to keep up with this increased demand, we need to get additional trucks and crews on the road.