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.
As a U.S. Air Force veteran, Stu Reid found a franchising opportunity that allowed him to pursue his passion for home remodeling. Kitchen Tune-Up offered Stu the best of both worlds -- he could be his own boss while remodeling kitchens and bathrooms. His franchise successes have led him to take on new challenges even outside the home. From renovating the interior of a private jet to restoring the cabinets of an old houseboat, he has found his calling in making old spaces feel new again.
Name: Stu Reid
Franchise owned: Kitchen Tune-Up, Fairfield, Calif.
Q: How long have you owned a franchise?
I have owned my Kitchen Tune-Up franchise for 22 years. I purchased the franchise in August of 1993.
Q: Why franchising?
I chose franchising primarily for the training and support. I knew I wanted to start my own business, but I also wanted the training and support provided by a franchise.
Q: What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I had spent the previous 17 years as a college administrator.
Q: Why did you choose this particular franchise?
There are two primary reasons for why I chose Kitchen Tune-Up. Firstly, the services offered are impeccable. Prior to launching my franchise, I refinished furniture as a hobby and enjoyed working with my hands. At the time, Kitchen Tune-Up was primarily offering the wood-care and restoration services (not all of the remodeling options we offer now), so it was a service with which I felt comfortable.
Secondly, the support the Kitchen Tune-Up corporate team offers was and continues to be second to none. Upon discovering the franchise model, it was immediately evident that the staff was committed to the success of their franchise owners.
Q: How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
The cost of buying a franchise 22 years ago is much less than it is today. Upon launching my Kitchen Tune-Up franchise, I needed to factor in the cost of the franchise, the tools and start up supplies, the office furniture and supplies and license fees.
Q: Where did you get most of your advice / do most of your research?
Upon developing my interest in franchising and Kitchen Tune-Up, I attended several franchise fairs and worked with a franchise broker. I looked to him for franchising advice. As the Internet wasn’t easily accessible 22 years ago, most of my research was done at the library, consuming entrepreneurial- and franchise business-focused publications.
Q: What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
An unexpected challenge I experienced was working alone from home. I was used to having an office to commute to and work in every day and having colleagues by my side. To find that sense of collegiality after opening my Kitchen Tune-Up, I joined networking groups and my local chamber of commerce and cultivated friendships with other entrepreneurs in the area.
Q: What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
I strongly advise aspiring franchisees to be sure the concept they choose is something they are passionate about. If it is not something they love doing every day, it just becomes another job.
Q: What’s next for you and your business?
As we are still recovering from the Great Recession, we are diligently working back to pre-recession levels of business. Additionally, I plan to retire in three to five years, so I am working to ensure that all processes are in place, so I can successfully relay the business to a new owner.