$100 million a year in house painting YES!

CertaPro Painters is creating a new portrait of the type of franchisee it wants to attract to North America’s largest painting company.
Instead of attracting prospective franchisees who may have been schooled in the trade of painting, CertaPro wants men and women schooled in the art of business who want to tap into a paint contracting industry that CertaPro Painters President and CEO Charlie Chase describes as the largest untapped business sector in North America.
While the maintenance side of painting ensures recurring business and a comfortable existence, CertaPro’s new breed of franchisees are being recruited to develop large-scale, regional painting companies instead of smaller regional businesses.
“Before we were going after people who wanted to run painting businesses. Now we’re looking for people who want to run large, well-staffed business operations built around our brand as the ‘Brand of Certainty,’” said Chase, whose company has built a customer referral rate that exceeds 95 percent.
Providing superior interior, exterior and special painting services, CertaPro is the only large-scale, full-time, franchised commercial and residential painting business in the home improvement industry. CertaPro has 223 franchise owners and 260 locations in all 50 states and every Canadian province along with Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Portugal and the Dominican Republic.
In 2005, 30 CertaPro franchisees had sales of more than $1 million. Chase’s target is to more than double that number to 70 by the end of 2007. Same-store sales have doubled over the last two years and franchisee retention has increased as CertaPro has diligently responded to the needs of its franchisees.
The resurgence has been led by Chase, who in 1992 became the founding president and CEO of CertaPro in the United States and before that was one of the early franchisees of College Pro Painters, CertaPro’s forerunner. In 2000, Chase left The Franchise Company—CertaPro’s parent company—to pursue an Internet-related start-up but returned to CertaPro’s helm in 2003.
“I was looking for the next big business opportunity but then I realized the opportunity was in what I had left behind,” Chase said. “It was very humbling but also a little serendipitous that the opportunity came back around again. I was more excited than ever about CertaPro’s potential.”
The sales increases that have resulted have been a product of Chase’s focus on unifying CertaPro’s franchisee network and a renewed emphasis on customer service. In addition to fortifying already-strong franchisees, 30 to 40 underperforming franchisees who embraced the changes were able to dramatically increase sales. It’s not uncommon for CertaPro franchisees to become the largest residential painting contractors in their respective territories within their first two years in operation.
“The passion that the leadership of any franchise organization brings to its franchisees resonates with those people,” Chase said of the changes. “If a franchisee wants to expand his standard of living and you show them how to do it, they will do it. If you don’t, they won’t.”
CertaPro expects to add 40 new franchises in 2006 toward its goal of having more than 320 locations by 2008. While the investment cost in a CertaPro franchise has significantly increased—the estimated initial investment is between $80,000 and $120,000—so has the potential of the paint contracting industry, which is estimated to approach $100 billion in annual sales. Thanks to stratospheric growth in home remodeling accompanied by equally explosive interest in home décor, painting has never been more popular.
“One part of painting is maintenance, but the other part is fashion,” Chase said. “We need fashion-conscious franchisees. We’re trying to take our organization from being a painting company to a brand that provides certainty. That’s a totally different individual.”
Today’s CertaPro franchisees include former attorneys, sales managers, operations supervisors, career military veterans and, increasingly, women. They comprise about 30 percent of potential franchisees who show interest in CertaPro. The company has close to a dozen husband/wife teams.
“Earlier we predominantly attracted men as franchisees,” Chase said. “Now we’re getting many more women because women as business leaders are very strong. We’re looking for people who want to build a $2.5 million to $3.5 million business that just happens to painting,” said Chase.
CertaPro adheres to stringent standards in its recruitment process, looking for skills sets that will translate into successful franchisees.
“The type of person we need as a franchisee is one who has a much deeper business experience than what we required in the past,” Chase said.
Chase has CertaPro well positioned to serve U.S. homeowners who company studies suggest have come to view their home as a refuge rather than a castle. That’s bolstered by a prosperous but aging Baby Boomer generation with more disposable income.


Taken from WEB