Franchise Q&A with Kathy Stewart, President of Fun4USKids

How was your franchise/opportunity originally conceived and started?

The founding owner was a stay-at-home mom who spent hours each week scouring the internet, newspaper and circulars for things to do with her kids. She would get frustrated at the lack of information, and at the number of web sites she had to visit before finding what she was looking for. After, talking to other parents and teachers she discovered she was not alone and came up with a solution,

Fun 4 Gator Kids is a website that provides families, caregivers and teachers with thousands of local resources for kids all in one convenient place. Fun 4 Gator Kids makes it easy for families to find kid friendly events (festivals, carnivals, parades, exhibits, shows, etc.) and kid activities (children's programs and classes, summer camps, sports programs, kids eat free, birthday parties resources and more) in their local community.

As Fun 4 Gator Kids grew, people started asking Kathy how could they bring her website concept to their local community. Kathy teamed up with her website developers J and Kristina Wadsworth at Digital Scribeworks to form Fun 4 US Kids.

What was your original vision for your company? How has that changed over time?

Our original vision was a license model.  We converted to a franchise model last year in order to provide additional services and expand to additional states. 

What do you believe is the single most important factor when choosing a franchise?

Training and Support. We provide 12 training sessions before your franchise is live, 4 training sessions after you franchise is live. After your franchise is up and running we provide on-going support and a community of existing site owners willing to share best practices and real world experiences.

Why should someone choose your franchise over other similar franchises?

Our websites are designed to have high SEO which enables our franchisees to grow their site traffic quickly which contributes to sales growth. 

What makes your industry attractive?

Franchisees are able to work from home and determine their own schedules. This is a great opportunity for parents of young children. Franchisees are able to arrange trade agreements for local family attractions and events in addition to earning advertising revenue. 

What types of qualities do you look for in potential franchisees?

We look for moms and dads with a strong background in sales or marketing who are motivated to succeed. Must be outgoing, well organized, and able to work independently. In addition, must have full time available to devote to building the business. 

What do your franchise fees and royalties cover?

The Fun 4 US Kids franchise fee covers the following to help get your website business up and running:

  • Content Management Website
    • Website/Business branding as part of the Fun 4 US Kids network
    • Set-up and configuration of your mobile friendly website
    • Custom design elements (logo, site colors, graphics, etc.)
    • 300+ website pages
    • 1000+ ad spaces
    • Website hosting and domain name registration
    • Email accounts and spam service
    • Social Media accounts
  • Support
    • Online Training (16 weeks of training)
    • Assistance from support staff
    • Access to our members only website

We do not collect any royalty fees. You pay a flat monthly maintenance fee that starts at $350 and may go up annually depending on site traffic levels.  The maintenance fee covers all the expenses of running and maintaining the website. Here is an overview of the services covered by the Fun 4 US Kids maintenance fee:

  • Ongoing technical support
    • Daily backups
    • Firewall protection
    • Yearly website hosting and domain name registration
    • Yearly spam service
    • Software updates (security patches, bug fixes, new releases)
    • Additional user setup and access (logins, emails, etc.)
    • New features and pages
  • Ongoing business support
    • Business consulting
    • Access to new training documents
    • Access to new business development tips, tricks and tactics
    • Access to our members only community
    • Potential to share in regional and national advertising
    • Monthly newsletters

How do territories work for your franchisees?

Websites can be centered around one central metropolitan area, or they can cover an area comprised of various smaller cities. Most of our websites cover one county with populations ranging between 250,000 and 1,500,000. Franchisees must live in the market where their site is based. To be successful you need to be able to build relationships with local business owners and make connections with local families.

Where do you see your franchise in 5 years and 10 years?

Our goal is to grow are network throughout the United States to provide families with a resource that they can use at home and as they travel on family vacations to explore the area they live in and areas they are visiting.

What is your favorite advice for new franchisees to help them succeed?

Building relationships are the key to success. You must be passionate about providing your community with a valuable resource and want to help business owners and families in your community connect. You need to tenacious about selling ads.

What would you tell potential franchisees that may be nervous about the financial burdens of starting a franchise?

Our training and systems allow you to start earning revenue from the moment your site launches. The founding website has had sales over $100,000 for the past 3 years in one of the smallest markets in the network.

On average, how long does it take to start a new franchise from the franchisees point of view?

3-6 months depending on the market size and the amount of time the franchise is willing to devote to building their content.

What was your background and experience before founding this franchise?

Kathy Stewart, President - Fun4GatorKids was launched in October 2009, and Kathy incorporated the business in November 2015. Prior to starting the Fun4GatorKids site, Kathy worked as an independent consultant helping companies to create training programs and materials from July 2004 to September 2007. Prior to that, Kathy was the director of training and customer service at Great American Restaurants in northern Virginia from 1996 – 2004.

Kristina Wadsworth, VP - Kristina Wadsworth started her work career in 1996 as a technical writer developing user manuals and building online help systems for a company that produced medical practice management software. In 2002 she left the company to spend time raising her family. In 2010 she started her own company, Digital Scribeworks which provides website design and maintenance to small businesses and authors.

J Wadsworth, VP - J Wadsworth has been program software systems since 1990. During the 90s he wrote and maintained programs for a Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal system and Tax Billing and Collections systems. He created the first GUI pen tablet application for property appraisers to perform field data collection. In the 2000s he went to Atlanta to build and run a data center for a direct marketing lead generation company. After the company was purchased by a competitor, J became a contract employee for Wachovia performing development for their Business Intelligence division. He left Wachovia to start his own company to build and maintain Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal systems again.

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