Robin Rotella, VP/Director of Franchise Sales & Marketing, recently discussed The Grout Doctor's remarkable opportunity with Franchise Gator. Grout Doctor has taken over this industry with their specialties in renewing existing tile, natural stone and grout to its original beauty. They have recently been rated one of the top franchises in North America by the Franchise Business Review.
Here are some of the things she had to tell us:
How was your franchise/opportunity originally conceived and started?
For many years there has been a demand for someone to do grout repair and minor tile repairs. The Grout DoctorÃ�Â® was founded to fill that niche in the market.
Our Founder first recognized the strong need for grout and tile maintenance services after working in the tile industry for many years. He developed a system that made it possible to teach tile and grout repair to people of all backgrounds. His book, "How To Get The Gold Out Of Grout", is supplied to all new Grout Doctor franchisees prior to training them to become experts in this specialized trade.
What was your original vision for your company? How has that changed over time?
In 1992-93, franchises were sold in California and Arizona. The Grout DoctorÃ�Â® then continued expanding through area developers offering an independent contractor program. Grout Doctor Global Franchise Corp. was subsequently formed in 2001 and promptly began offering franchises throughout The United States.
The Grout DoctorÃ�Â® is in the business of renewing existing grout and tile to its original beauty. We fulfill our vision - to help homeowners and business owners enjoy the beauty of their grout, tile and stone - while minimizing maintenance.
What do you believe is the single most important factor when choosing a franchise?
Choose a franchise that you will enjoy! Our Grout Doctor franchisees enjoy what they do! They're proud to be a specialist in a niche business and enjoy helping home and business owners solve grout issues and enjoy their tile. They love to talk about grout and take tremendous pride in their work. They get satisfaction out of seeing the grout and tile restored in less than a day and enjoy seeing the customer's reaction to the finished job. They enjoy having a variety of services to offer and perform, going to a different location each day and not having to deal with accounts receivables! They enjoy residential work and regular working hours and more!
Why should someone choose your franchise over other similar franchises?
The Grout DoctorÃ�Â® is the largest, most experienced and recognized brand in the industry with an unmatched support system!
An experienced, well established franchisor saves its franchisees time and money.
What makes your industry attractive?
Anywhere there is tile; there is potential business for The Grout DoctorÃ�Â®!
The growth potential for ceramic tile in the USA is still very high and can increase 3 to 7 times or more, leading the way for a very healthy future for all the participants of the ceramic tile industry!
-Low investment with incredible income potential
-Flexible, home based, family-friendly business
We provide three desirable benefits to home and business owners:
- Save money by avoiding expensive and unnecessary remodeling
- Save time by minimizing unpleasant and time-consuming maintenance
- Enjoy the original beauty of your grout, tile and stone in less than 24 hours
With typically low barriers to entry, no licensing requirements and no other reliable brand to turn to, consumers are weary and likely to experience poor results and dissatisfaction. Savvy customers are thrilled to find highly trained Grout Doctor specialists and a recognizable brand!
What types of qualities do you look for in potential franchisees?
The ideal candidate is any man, woman, couple, family or retiree who desires financial independence or additional income and is:
- Looking for a new lifestyle and wants to be their own boss
- Excited about building equity in a business
- Motivated to develop a designated geographical territory
- Ready to plug into an established system for success
- Willing to do what it takes to succeed
- Able to appreciate restoring grout to its original beauty
What do your franchise fees and royalties cover?
- Exclusive Territory
- Proprietary Grout Doctor Professional Product Line
- Proprietary Franchise Management Software
- Proprietary Grout Doctor Consumer Products
- Other Product Discounts
- Toll-Free Technical & Marketing Support
- Online Advertising & Print Center
- Personal Coaching and Support Calls
- Educational Teleconferences
- Annual Conventions & Awards
- Extensive Intranet site
- Discounted Advertising Programs
- Informative Newsletters
- Statistical Data
- Continuing Education
How do territories work for your franchisees?
Territories are designated by a contiguous zip code list and will generally have a base of between 100,000 and 150,000 households. We advise and assist in the selection of the territory and also suggest the best media available in the territory.
The specific size of the territory is negotiable. The criteria we consider in configuring a territory may include the number of households in contiguous zip code areas, the per capita income of the households, the population density and the owner occupancy rate in the territory.
Why has your franchise model been successful?
Recognizable brand, robust support system, attention to detail, consumer needs, growing industry, home based, low investment, employees optional and more!
Where do you see your franchise in 5 years and 10 years?
In 5 years, The Grout DoctorÃ�Â® will continue to lead the industry as the largest, most experienced and recognized brand in the US with an unmatched support system and have at least one franchisee in every major metro area.
In 10 years, The Grout DoctorÃ�Â® will continue to lead the industry as the largest, most experienced and recognized brand in each metro area with an unmatched support system and have multiple franchisees in all of the major metro areas and at least one in the smaller metro areas with a population of at least 750,000 Ã¢Â�Â" 1,000,000.
What is your favorite advice for new franchisees to help them succeed?
Follow the system; use all the tools available including the direct phone support and coaching!
What would you tell potential franchisees that may be nervous about the financial burdens of starting a franchise?
Granting a franchise to a financially qualified prospect is extremely important to us and why we supply and review a very thorough list of the initial investment needed for the first three months, including the franchise fee.
On average, how long does it take to start a new franchise from the franchisees point of view?
In 2010, our average time from granting a franchise to the grand opening was only 31 days! We pride ourselves on being experts at coordinating the initial grand opening advertising to come out during or immediately after training!
What was your background and experience before founding this franchise?
The founder has passed away but had a background in the tile industry. Currently we have 5 shareholders and directors and each of us owns a Grout Doctor franchise and knows all aspects of the business first-hand. I worked with the founder as a developer and helped him grow the company and develop the support system. My background is in Real Estate.
What do your franchisees have to say about The Grout Doctor?
After seeing and experiencing the benefits firsthand as a customer myself, I was blown away. The results were amazing. I realized immediately that this was a great business that offered the most significant change home and business owners could make for the least amount of money spent! By the end of my 2nd or 3rdmonth, I had more calls than I could handle! I'm very excited about the huge potential I see ahead!
Ken Powell Ã¢Â�Â" Dallas, Texas
Grout Doctor was a good fit for me as I have always been interested in tile work and more so in restoration. Additionally, I did not want to work outside or need to hire and manage a large crew. I felt this service could prosper in a tough economy and grow in a strong economy and that customers would be willing to restore what they have instead of spending $5000-$10,000 on new tile floors or a new shower. I was correct and now offer them an alternative to the major tear out remodel process. The other deciding factor for me is the freedom and the ability to really control my own destiny, the level of business, my income and time off!
Doug Nelson Ã¢Â�Â" Sarasota, Florida
Within 12 months of starting a Grout Doctor franchise, we were able to expand. We bought a second franchise and also broke a long-standing company record for highest monthly gross sales! I was surprised to learn how easy and profitable The Grout DoctorÃ�Â® business is for me. The benefits of our quick success were a much-needed relief.
Remus & Diana Baesu Ã¢Â�Â" Phoenix, Arizona
After growing tired of dealing with inventory, employees, leases and rent, I knew I needed a change. I did not want to be tied down to set hours and I also wanted to own a business with minimal competition and relatively high demand.
I've learned that anywhere there is tile, there is a demand for dedicated grout care. My Grout Doctor business continues to grow each year and I really enjoy running this business with my wife Debi, who handles all the customer calls, scheduling and trips to the bank. "Debi loves going to the bank!"
Wayne & Debi Gregson Ã¢Â�Â" Clearwater, Florida