Home services in franchising post 2022
There are so many changes which happened after the recession that occurred in the early 90s which are so similar to what is happening today.
Obviously, the impact of the recession on business and Australians was significant. Inflation and unemployment forced people out of work and to reassess their lifestyle choices.
Ultimately though, most people found that the changes forced on the franchise sector post the recession were in fact far from bad – but they did cause a significant shift.
Professionals and middle management, frustrated with employers they believed were dealing badly with the situation resigned or they were forced out of employment by difficult conditions. Many took redundancies or decided to use savings or investment earnings to take control and move into business believing it would give them more control over life. Certainly, we, the three partners at The Franchise Alliance at that time, saw a significant rise in the number of new people looking to buy their own business.
So, as we started to come out of the recession, there was a demand for franchised businesses. Franchises were popular mainly because this sector knew they needed business training and support offered by the best groups. This demand helped groups such as Jim’s, Poolwerx, Donut King and Chicken Treat to expand significantly, sometimes interstate. And they weren’t alone because others such as Cash Converters, Bedshed, Captain Snooze, Brumby’s, VIP Lawn Mowing, Snap Print and Kwik Kopy also used the momentum to increase their market share.
Today the 90s scenario is being repeated and, we are already seeing signs of business failures and the first signs of what is being called the ‘great resignation!
So, what do the lessons of the past tell us people will be looking for beyond 2022 in the challenging environment we are facing today?
There is one significant difference today which will only increase demand for good, niched small franchises. All business tasks, especially marketing, are mostly based on digital platforms. In years gone by, there was an assumption that franchisees would be responsible for generating many of their own leads. So, there were not many home-based or service-based franchises because the personality of the franchisee delivering the service was not suited to selling. It was difficult to get this group to run their business and those suited to business did not have the characteristics to deliver the service in many cases. Think nurses, massage therapists, bookkeepers – the caring sector which attracts people with a more introverted personality. The few exceptions knew this – it is no accident that Jim’s Mowing used to do all the marketing, bookings, invoicing, bookkeeping and so on. He wanted his franchisees out mowing lawns as much as possible bringing in the money and more importantly not trying to do the books over the weekend when they should have been with family.
Today, digital marketing and accounting has provided the answer. Marketing is clearly divided into two parts, each looked after by the franchisor or franchisee respectively. The
franchisor must take on the more difficult task of bringing in leads through websites, social media, Google ads etc. Qualified leads can then be sent to the franchisee to convert usually through a face-to-face meeting. A much easier task for people enthusiastic about the product and who know everything about it. We have seen many niched franchises in the building industry for instance where the final visit from the trades person to finalise a quote results in the sale because the customer at that point is looking for evidence that they know what they are doing.
So, what does this mean as we come out of the years of Covid. So many people have already moved home and jobs for one reason or another. There are indications that this movement is only going to increase.
- Many people taking this move are looking for a completely different lifestyle. One which will give them flexibility to live the life they want with the ability to pick the kids up from school, put time into themselves so they can go to the gym and live more stress-free.
- People with little business experience will also be looking to buy a business to give themselves more control over their lives. So many will not want to go back to work for a boss.
What this means is low-cost investment franchises will be very attractive as a first business and stepping-stone for many people into the world of business as a whole.
The exciting thing is, I am seeing so many opportunities for this group to use their existing skills with numbers of new franchise groups emerging this year across the board. And many are in the home-care sector.
- Handyman, carpenter, with Hire A Hubby, Handyman of Melbourne, a plumbing franchise, with NuFlow, Tap Doctor, Plumbing Bros.
- Building supervisor/ projects manager with OMS Facilities Management,
- Electrician with Platinum Electrical
- Fire Safety with FCF Fire & Electrical
- Smoke alarms with Checkmate Safety; Test & tag
- Lawnmowing & gardening with CGS in Melbourne, Grow Lawncare Australia .
- People looking for francises which require limited experience include:
- Test & tag with Appliance Tagging Services; The Local Guys;
- Pest Control franchises with Pest Control Australia or our Creepy Crawly Perst Control
- Gutter cleaning with Grayson’s and Gutter-Vac
- There are no end of domestic services from house and commercial cleaning, roof restorations etc
- Painting and Roof Restorations with Reliance Roof Restorations and a new face JMZ coming soon.
- Machine operators there’s Diggermate;
- And for more specialised areas think Nursing – Nurse Next door; Earworx.
…and if you want the security of a large organisation with a significant network then of course at Jim’s there are now over 40 mainly mobile franchises to choose from.
So, the story is – if you have a business in the home care sector and are thinking of converting to the franchise model – now is the time to take that action. You can still restructure your business to take advantage of this movement.
Just make sure you do it well. Not all the franchise groups which tried to take advantage of the opportunities following past recessions are still here. Only those who did it properly and understood the need to take care of their franchisees. There have been some spectacular failures – almost all because the need to look after the franchise is part of the business was overlooked – good support, training and expertise are essential if you want to attract the best to help you grow your business today and have a long-term successful future beyond tomorrow.
Brian Keen has been involved in the franchise industry for more than 30 years and, today, is the Founder of Franchise Simply. His on-the-ground business experience as a multi-unit franchisee, franchisor and consultant helping many of the big names create their own franchise systems and growth over the years has been fed into Franchise Simply, helping today’s SMEs grow their business by franchising. www.franchisesimply.com.au