The past twelve months have undoubtedly shaken every industry across the franchising sector due to the pandemic. After a year that left no business unaffected, concepts that fulfill the role of supporting businesses in their communications and IT operations have proven to be not only necessary, but essential in helping other businesses stay afloat.
With the support of a seasoned and experienced franchisor, franchisees with FASTSIGNS, the leading sign, graphics and visual communications franchise, were equipped with resources and support that guided them through the unknown challenges that the pandemic brought to their businesses. The award-winning franchise reported a strong year of growth in 2020, signing 31 franchise agreements to develop new, co-branded, and conversion centers worldwide and opening 30 locations, including the brand’s first center in the Dominican Republic.
Much of FASTSIGNS’ success last year can be credit to centers being deemed essential businesses, allowing franchisees to pivot their services to focus on what matters most — serving their customers.
“Our franchisees’ success comes first. When the pandemic began to impact our industry, we fought to ensure FASTSIGNS centers across the U.S. could continue to operate, and we’ve continued to be by their side to help them every step of the way,” said Mark Jameson, Chief Support and Development Officer. “We’re incredibly proud of how our franchisees adapted to the changing climate by tapping into the diverse product range we offer so they could fulfill the unique needs of their customers. Our franchisee’s role of being the go-to resource for visual communications in their communities continues to grow stronger every day. The growth and momentum we’ve experienced is a true testament to the strong FASTSIGNS network, our brand’s ability to adapt systemwide, and the rising demand for signage.”
World-class Support during Unprecedented Times
Thanks to the exceptional support team that worked around the clock to help the system succeed, even seasoned franchisees were able to benefit from their assistance during the pandemic.
Jeffrey Chudoff, a FASTSIGNS franchisee in Maple Shade, New Jersey, spent over 30 years as the owner of an independent sign shop before converting his business into a FASTSIGNS franchise in 2016. He credits being a part of the FASTSIGNS family for his success in 2020.
“I could not imagine what it would have been like to operate during the pandemic without the support of FASTSIGNS and our network of franchisees,” said Chudoff. “While so many small businesses struggled or closed their doors permanently, we exceeded $1 million in revenue for the first time. I was truly in business for myself, but not by myself.”
FASTSIGNS Acquires NerdsToGo
In October 2020, Propelled Brands, parent company of FASTSIGNS, also made its first acquisition with the addition of NerdsToGo, an emerging IT services brand, to its portfolio. NerdsToGo has been franchising for four years and is a part of the large and growing IT services industry with 26 franchise locations in 16 states.
“We are excited to officially welcome NerdsToGo, a growing franchise organization in the IT services business, into our family,” said Catherine Monson, CEO of FASTSIGNS International. “We look forward to what lies ahead for this exciting brand, especially the continued growth that will benefit NerdsToGo customers, franchisees, and team members.”
Connectivity is more important than ever with COVID-19 only accelerating remote working, online learning, and business continuity — all of which require error-free networking, security, privacy, and videoconferencing. Poorly functioning IT systems are a huge headache and productivity constraint for consumers and small businesses alike who need reliable solutions.
Rory Dunnaback became a NerdsToGo franchisee in 2017 with the opening of his location in Milwaukie, Oregon. As a member of the franchising advisory council for NerdsToGo, he’s been part of the conversations with the FASTSIGNS leadership team over the past several months since the acquisition took place.
“I’m extremely excited about everything that the leaders of FASTSIGNS will bring to NerdsToGo,” said Dunnaback. “I’m confident that their years of knowledge and experience in growing a B2B franchise system will help our brand on the local level and nationally as we grow our presence. The enormous network of resources, support tools and guidance they offer to franchisees have already benefitted my business and I know it’s only the beginning.”
Creating Opportunities for New & Existing Entrepreneurs
Over the last year, the FASTSIGNS and NerdsToGo business models have continued to show resiliency and are poised for growth in 2021. As the pandemic continues, FASTSIGNS and NerdsToGo are positioned to provide a strong business opportunity for people ready to make the leap into franchising.
FASTSIGNS and NerdsToGo participate in the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) VetFran program that provides military veterans with special incentives and assistance to open a franchise. Veterans, in addition to first responders, including paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers, sheriffs, and firefighters, can take advantage of specific incentives, including a franchise fee of $24,875 — a saving of 50 percent. FASTSIGNS and NerdsToGo are the only franchises in their industry to offer a 50-percent discount to any veteran, without stipulations.
FASTSIGNS is aiming to sign at least 35 franchise agreements this year in markets across the U.S. such as Southern California, the Midwest, New England, and along the Northeast Corridor. Additionally, the company is focusing its NerdsToGo development on the U.S., aiming to sell 30 franchises nationwide as part of its plans to grow the brand’s presence in new and existing markets.
FASTSIGNS is particularly focusing on its co-brand and conversion programs, which helps existing business owners add a FASTSIGNS to their store or fully convert their business to a FASTSIGNS franchise. FASTSIGNS has helped countless owners of print shops, photography studios, camera stores, embroidery shops, and more, diversify their product lines and services to meet the growing demand for signs, graphics, and visual communications. Both the co-brand franchise opportunity and conversion can be started with only $15,000 (USD) down on the initial franchise fee.