Bernie Brozek, president of Fresh Coat Painters, said he reads a lot of the messages the company’s franchisees get from potential customers and those overwhelmed spouses are a boom for business.
“It’s funny,” Brozek said in a recent interview from the Fresh Coat headquarters in Cincinnati. “A typical one will read: ‘Dear Fresh Coat, my husband started the project and, unfortunately, a year later he hasn’t finished it’.”
But, a lot of people turn to Fresh Coat for their painting projects just to save themselves time, too. “The service is inexpensive,” Brozek said, “so rather than doing it themselves, people are quite willing to hire professional painters.”
Even during times of recession, he noted,Fresh Coat has been able to increase its business, as people value spending their time doing other things rather than tackling projects like painting.
“Often people will misjudge how much work actually goes into painting a room and they’ll start a project only to call in the professionals later, much like the aforementioned spouses. For certain kinds of painting, like exteriors, special
equipment is required.”
Fresh Coat does all kinds of painting for customers. If they want stripes, sponge painting, or they want cabinets painted, Fresh Coat will do all that.
And if customers want help with their paint designs, Fresh Coat will connect them with the company’s main paint supplier, Sherwin-Williams, which has design centers to help customers choose colors and help them with paint designs.
10 Years in Business
Fresh Coat has been around for a decade and has been franchising for seven of those 10 years. Brozek himself has been with the company for four-and-a-half years. With 30 years of experience in the franchising industry, Brozek has worked for Pepsico and was COO of Sport Clips.
With 120 franchises across North America, the company does interior and exterior painting of both residential and
commercial properties. “We are the only paint franchise that does not use subcontractors,” Brozek said. “We
use all our own employees.” “The best thing about hiring permanent employees rather than sub-contracting, is that the permanent employees take great pride in their work because they are with the company long-term and they share in the responsibility of doing good work.” Hiring its own employees also allows the company to perform background checks on employees to ensure they’re not sending any unsavory people into their customers’
homes. “We do a lot to make sure the person entering your house is a solid person,” Brozek said. That’s not to say that the franchisees themselves have to be painters. While the company does hire professional painters to put color to wall, franchisees come from a multitude of backgrounds. The main criteria they should meet is to be business
savvy. “Fresh Coat has a lot of veterans and women as franchisees, plus a lot of people who came from sales positions and other business backgrounds. Sometimes a person is looking to switch careers out of necessity or just to get into a new field and Fresh Coat gives them a great opportunity to do that” Brozek said.
The franchise is in 27 states, spread heavily throughout Texas, the northeastern US and Florida and has just gotten into the Canadian market. The company also has interest from overseas, which it is exploring.
Franchisee Support “In order to help its franchisees stay competitive, Fresh Coat has an operations manager for every 25-30 franchisees. Typically with franchise businesses, there will be one operations manager for 50-100 franchises, so Fresh Coat’s level of support is above average.”
The operations managers are responsible for making sure the franchisees stay profitable. They make sure the brand is being represented properly and they drum up business for franchisees.
When someone is approved for a franchise, they first start with Fresh Coat’s Jump Start program. With this program, the new franchisee is getting their website together and already getting interest even before they start their training. It lasts for about two weeks and franchisees do this training themselves at home, learning about internet marketing and how to promote their business to potential customers. “I like them to have leads coming in, people wanting quotes while they’re still training,” Brozek said.
Once they’re website is up and running, they come to Cincinnati for a week of hands-on training. After that, they receive ongoing training and support on a monthly basis.
Franchisees can get started with Fresh Coat for under $50,000, Brozek said, because it’s home-based, meaning there’s no capital costs for a physical location. Some franchisees do grow to a point where they require a location, but everyone starts off from home. For business-minded people, Brozek said, Fresh Coat represents a great opportunity. “Franchising is great for people who have that desire to become an entrepreneur, but who want a turnkey system that works,” he said.
And, as long as there are overwhelmed spouses and unfinished painting projects out there, Fresh Coat will have an endless supply of business. For more information visit: www.freshcoatpainters.com