How Franchise FastLane Brands Make the Cut

How Franchise FastLane Brands Make the Cut

A Commitment to Excellence and Meticulous Vetting Accelerates Franchise Growth

Franchise FastLane, a franchise sales organization, is super-picky about which brands it will partner with. How picky exactly? Last year, Franchise FastLane painstakingly vetted around 200 franchisors but decided to partner only with eight brands to responsibly drive growth.  

Franchise FastLane understands that a brand with the right potential can quickly go from surviving to thriving. This is a core belief at FastLane, underpinning its commitment to support accelerated but responsible growth of its franchisor partners. Franchise FastLane also respects the power of the franchise business model; more than 806,000 franchise businesses account for more than $858 billion in economic output (the franchises’ total income from products and services) for the U.S. economy.   

So far this year, Franchise FastLane has selected three concepts to add to its portfolio: Anchored Tiny Homes, a family-owned business with two-plus generations of experience in building customizable accessory dwelling units; Cabinet IQ, a high-tech cabinet and countertop service; and Canopy Lawn Care, a comprehensive lawn care service that prioritizes sustainability.         

All three brands were chosen after going through Franchise FastLane’s rigorous, data-driven process that drills down into key performance indicators. This by-the-numbers evaluation takes at least three months to complete and may last as long as three years.  

Franchise FastLane’s Qualification Process 

During the vetting process, Franchise FastLane is looking for new and emerging brands that can clearly communicate who they are, what they offer, and whether their key differentiators give them an edge over their competitors. The process has the following phases: 

  • Financial analysis, which begins with thorough scrutiny of the brand’s financials, a detailed examination of its franchise disclosure document, and an analysis of the average unit economics of corporate locations. 
  • Validation, consists of detailed conversations with the brand’s executives and existing franchisees. The ultimate goal of this second phase is to determine the level of happiness and satisfaction derived from the brand’s financial and marketplace potential.  
  • SWOT analysis, an assessment of the brand’s strengths (S), weaknesses (W), opportunities (O) and threats (T). A SWOT analysis is used to determine a brand’s competitive position and to develop strategic planning. SWOT analysis assesses internal and external factors as well as current and future potential. 

Franchise FastLane CEO Carey Gille says the finely honed process, developed over a period of years, “has served us well. With so many franchise concepts entering the marketplace, it’s definitely a challenge to find those chosen few brands with the potential for accelerated growth. We are seeking and scrutinizing brands that have what it takes to start strong but also, stay strong.” 

Franchise FastLane CEO Carey Gille
Franchise FastLane CEO Carey Gille 

After the Deals Close… 

Franchise FastLane’s development directors say the hard work really begins after new and emerging franchise concepts sign agreements with the sales organization. Franchise FastLane staffers stay busy year-round as they onboard new franchisees.  

That’s a major undertaking because of the volume of new owners, says Don Tarinelli, Franchise FastLane’s executive vice president of franchise development. “Most have invested in a two to three-pack, multi-unit agreements, with each brand averaging up to 30 units sold per year, or about seven or eight during each quarter.  

“When we speak of responsible growth, it extends to making sure all of our new franchise owners have a first-class onboarding experience,” Tarinelli adds. “It’s a comprehensive process designed to work in conjunction with the brand’s executive leadership team, making sure the right relationships are in place for the full-term of the agreement.” 

Commitment to Responsible Growth 

Franchise FastLane tracks Item 20 data on its brands, a system-wide summary of year-over-year growth that provides a comparison of the total number of units sold to those still open.

The following Franchise FastLane brands demonstrate the organization’s ability to achieve “impressive but responsible growth” during 2020, 2021 and 2022: 1) All Dry Services, a water damage and remediation concept, with 502 units sold and 448 still operating. 2) Bloomin’ Blinds sold 129 new units, with 121 remaining open. 3) And Koala Insulation, Franchise FastLane’s highest-ranking brand on Entrepreneur magazine’s 2024 Franchise 500 list, sold 428 new locations, with 392 still in operation after three years.  

“All of these brands average less than a 10% closure rate, which is solid evidence of FastLane’s stringent recruiting efforts and the company’s ongoing commitment to fostering responsible growth,” Tarinelli says.  

Praise for FastLane’s Process 

John Evans, CEO of brand partner EverLine Coatings and Services, applauds the approach, too. “The recruitment process with Franchise FastLane was a fantastic experience,” Evans says. “Connecting yourself with the right partner to represent your brand in a massive strategic growth plan is critical, and I felt at incredible ease as I worked through FastLane’s process. The transparency, integrity and commitment to finding the right fit gave me the confidence that I was dealing with a team that sticks to core values.  

“Speaking with other franchisors who’ve worked with Franchise FastLane sealed the deal for me. They are first in their field for a reason. Having been on the other side of the recruitment process, they’ve delivered on everything and more with us.”  

An EverLine owner also delivers a rave review: “One of the special parts of investing in a franchise is the people you meet,” says Louisa Rosale, a franchisee in Fort Worth, Texas. “To my husband and me, Mike Samson [FastLane’s director of franchise development] and the rest of the Franchise FastLane team are all part of that family I spoke about that completely transformed our lives. The trust factor was built from the honesty, the hand-holding and the freak-out calls Mike was willing to take.  

“That’s why we’re in it for the long run, because of the people we’ve met. It’s a credit to Mike and Franchise FastLane, who transformed our lives.”  

Going Above and Beyond… 

In 2023, Franchise FastLane embarked on its aggressive “Year of the Zee” campaign that included several new initiatives designed to drive responsible growth for FastLane’s brand partners. One of those is the MasterMind program, which provides brand partners with a collaborative environment for improving business through mentorship and shared best practices.  

Another is the CarPool Program, which offers coaching and administrative services to franchisors who are looking to boost their franchise development. CarPool is open to new emerging brands and established brands looking to perfect their process and plug into Franchise FastLane’s proven discovery process. CarPool is a “franchise development solution for the many, not just the few!”  

And a couple more Franchise FastLane initiatives that also help franchisor success. At its own expense, FastLane offers brand partners a monthly checkup from a third-party franchisor consultant. FastLane also started its own preferred vendor program that covers 10 functional solutions necessary for launching and supporting a brand’s franchisee network.  

Furthermore, FastLane recently introduced Brand Health Assessments. FastLane brands are required to regularly submit data on sold-to-open rates, the percentage of franchisees on track with development schedules, updated break-even timelines, and financial key performance indicators such as cash on hand and current liabilities. These figures reveal the health of FastLane brands and whether course-corrections are needed so FastLane can proactively assist and mentor.  

The Takeaways 

“It takes a lot of potential for new and emerging franchisors to make the cut and join Franchise FastLane’s portfolio,” Gille says. “But for the chosen few, inclusion often leads to intentional franchise development that produces an astonishing level of growth and success not only for the franchisor but for the franchisee system, future franchisee candidates, and the franchising industry as whole.”

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Jill Abrahamsen’s career spans more than 25 years in editorial, design, and marketing roles. As the editorial director of IFPG, she serves as editor-in-chief of Franchise Consultant Magazine and FranchiseWire. Through both platforms, Jill helps franchisors spread the word about their brands and reports on the latest franchise news and trends. A skilled storyteller, Jill communicates franchisor’s messages through feature articles and franchisee interviews.

Jill is an accomplished writer, editor and graphic designer. Her extensive experience includes key roles with major consumer publications, including Boating, Popular Photography, and Design NJ magazines. As founding editor-in-chief of Franchise Dictionary magazine, Jill developed her passion and fascination for franchising which continues to grow in her role at IFPG.
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