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.
For 12 years, Justin Jacobus was in retail management, where working on weekends, holidays, and night shifts kept him away from his family. Three and a half years ago, Justin became a Minuteman Press franchisee. The change has allowed him to coach his kids’ sports teams and go to their school functions. Read on to see how he made the switch and how he made it work.
Name: Jason Jacobus
Franchise owned: Minuteman Press in Flemington, N.J.
Q: How long have you owned a franchise? Three and a half years
Q: Why franchising?
I believe franchising gives you the head start needed to be successful from the beginning. For me, the Minuteman Press home office as well as my local support team was there to show me the ropes and guide me along the way, and people like my regional vice president Jim Galasso are still there for me to this day. A great franchise like Minuteman Press, they will be there with the same support 20 years in that they gave me in this first 3.5 years.
Q: What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I have a printing background from the early 1990s, but I was in retail management for the 12 years prior to purchasing my Minuteman Press franchise. Minuteman Press enabled me to leave behind unpredictable schedules so that I could have more time with my wife and three children. Family is important to me and working nights, weekends and holidays really wore on me. Now I work Monday through Friday, am home for dinner at 5:15 pm every night, I coach my kids’ teams and attend school functions, and I can plan my family weekends and vacations accordingly.
Q: Why did you choose this particular franchise?
Being in the print industry prior to retail, I knew the name. But what sold me on Minuteman Press was the fact that the same people who started the company 40 plus years ago are the same people running the home office today.
Q: How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business? I spent roughly $60,000 to get started.
$26,000 for the franchise fee and software licensing. My shop was the purchase of an existing store.
$5,600 for rent deposits.
$23,400 for equipment and build out upgrades.
$3,000 initial paper order.
Q: Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
I asked a lot of questions during the initial meetings with Minuteman. We toured a few stores and the owners of these stores were very helpful by answering my questions. The Internet was also a great source for research. Of course, I reached out to family and friends who own their own businesses for advice.
Q: What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
Going from working in an environment where things were laid out for you to being the one who lays out and executes the plan. Being ultimately responsible for everything that happens good or bad.
Q: What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Do your research on profit margins and startup costs. Figure out a reasonable time frame to the breakeven point. Have enough startup capital to pay your bills -- including payroll, rent and utilities -- for at least four to six months.
Q: What’s next for you and your business?
The sky is the limit. We hope to continue the growth of our current location at the same rapid speed as the last three years, and we’re looking to open a second location when the time is right. Lastly, we want to continue to evolve with the current print world we live in. It’s not just letterhead and envelopes anymore, but everything from creative design and cross media marketing services to promotional products and more!