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 email@example.com.
Chicagoan Fred Haas had had a lengthy career in contruction, having renovated "everything from condos to hospitals," as he puts it. So, when Haas opted to buy a franchise, Miracle Method -- which specializes in bathtub, countertop and ceramic tile refinishing -- felt familiar, relevant to his background and right. Something else Haas credits his franchise readiness to: the naval skills he acquired during the four years he spent in the submarine service of the U.S Navy.
Name: Fred Haas
Franchise owned: Miracle Method of Chicago, Northwest Metro region, in Villa Park, Illinois
How long have you owned a franchise?
I have owned my Miracle Method since September of 2013, so two years.
Franchising gives the opportunity to get through the startup phase much faster; there is a great deal of help on the learning curve of a new business. Also, the name recognition in a franchise helps greatly. Then, when you open, you have a great deal of support from all within the company.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I was a general contractor for most of my life. I owned my own construction business for 25 years, renovating everything from condos to hospitals.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
After the recession, I knew the economic difference would impact my business. I saw the value in Miracle Method and in updating things at a reasonable cost. After doing some research on businesses that would allow me to stay within my same field of construction, I came across Miracle Method. The value of the services Miracle Method provides would be apparent to anyone, but with my construction background they were particularly impressive.
Using a refinishing process that can add over 15 years to the life of a surface, Miracle Method has made a name for itself as an authority on the subject of improving the appearance of a surface.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
The costs included $35,000 for the franchise; $10,000 for training and travel expenses before opening my doors; $40,000 for trucks and equipment; $3,000 for materials to start out with; $20,000 to lease the showroom and for the build-out of the offices; and $10,000 minimum [to provide] cash on hand until money started coming in.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
My research was done by me, personally. I felt that with my backround, I would be able to make decisions in my best interest, though I did call four existing Miracle Method franchises and talk to them.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
Every day, there is something that comes up, but that is just part of owning a business. Being able to turn these into a positive is the key to success.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Never say no. In order to grow your business and make it successful, you don’t want to turn things down. Say yes to as many opportunities as possible, within reason of course. Only you can make your business what you want it to be, so be prepared to work hard!
What’s next for you and your business?
My plans for my Miracle Method are to become the dominating player in the Chicago Metro area. Ideally, I would like to have three locations open and successful in the next five years. With the system and business plan Miracle Method has in place, combined with the money-saving services I provide that any homeowner can benefit from, that’s a goal I know I can achieve.