Sean Manning on Operating a Successful Franchise

What services do you provide franchisees?

Business ownership is a very interesting concept. Only about 10 percent of people in this country own a business. So when you award a franchise, you have an obligation to give them that foundation and the systems they need to operate. It’s important to us to hand off the foundations of a good business model, the business systems that also support the model, but more importantly the inspiration and leadership that they can trust. You have to be able to help others at any given moment, to support and work through whatever challenge they may be facing, or thought they may have to learn, in order to start that individual success journey and be successful with the business.

What was the driving force behind starting the company?

I owned a CPA firm, and we were doing payroll services as part of our more traditional offerings. We realized that if we wanted to grow the payroll part of what we were doing and to be a better service to our customers we had to segment it away from our current business model of the CPA firm. So, in 2008, we launched Payroll Vault as its own brand.

We saw some really great results very quickly. We had been doing payroll for 20 years with the CPA firm, but once establishing Payroll Vault as a dedicated payroll entity, we saw our client base double over two years, and we’ve been growing ever since.

In 2011, the success we were getting for Payroll Vault started to get recognized, and we started getting a lot of people asking us to help them start their own payroll company and looking for tips and ideas about how to be successful, too. I realized that the best way for us to help these people would be to give them everything – the name, the brand, the systems, everything. And that’s what led us to consider franchising.

We started franchising in 2012 and now have over 60 locations and continue to grow. Just last year our brand grew by over 25%, so we’re looking forward to that continued pattern of growth and helping people be successful with the Payroll Vault model.

What is your background?

From a young age, I was driven towards entrepreneurship. I knew in college that was my interest, and I focused on restaurant entrepreneurship in my studies. But after graduating, it was my father, who at the time was running his own CPA firm, that suggested that I consider the accounting and CPA route. And I did. I wanted to learn from everyone around me – from other CPAs, from my father who owned and ran the business, and from business owners in general. I spent several years with my father’s business, eventually managing three different acquisitions and then buying the firm from my father. And then, in 2008, we started Payroll Vault as its own entity, and the rest is history.

Why is there a need for your service and how are you different to your competition?

Our goal is to be the number one payroll service provider with the highest level of customer satisfaction. We’re in an industry, unfortunately, that has presented a couple of challenges for businesses. The first is that you have big box payroll service brands that have inconsistent or difficult customer service systems and it’s hard to get a personal approach from these types of providers. And then you have an accounting industry that tries to support businesses, but payroll isn’t their core function.

Payroll is a service that demands attention, and by making our service specific to payroll, it gave us the opportunity to expand on the offerings that complement the payroll side of the industry: timeclock tools, HR tools, background checks, and more. By paying more attention to the client and consulting them on payroll, we’re able to increase our own customer service and provide a more focused service. If there is a challenge or the payroll process needs special attention, we are available to support the client. Historically, if a business had a question or a need to address, we found that they weren’t able to find someone to talk to who could answer their specific needs. So we filled that void.

How do you look after your customers?

Our goal at Payroll Vault is to be a partner to our customers, not just a provider. We take a very consultative approach, meeting with the client, identifying their needs, and solving problems that they knew were bothering them but may not have been able to recognize or where the issue was stemming from. Our whole goal is to really be a partner to the clients we serve – from our initial meeting to helping them build their business around any changes that may be related to payroll and the management of employees.

What is the cost involved?

Our intention is to make Payroll Vault an affordable option for anyone interested in running their own Payroll Vault business. Our initial franchise fee is $40k, and that includes everything necessary for training, setup, and getting started. We have a good breakdown of it here:

To learn more visit or call (303)-763-1829.

Previous ArticleNext Article
Send this to a friend