Franchise Qa With Nextgen Great Sealcoating President Tim Smeltz
How was your franchise/opportunity originally conceived and started?
I realized my driveway needed sealcoating and couldn’t find anyone to do it, so I started my own co.
What was your original vision for your company? How has that changed over time?
Quite simply, my original vision was to be my own boss but it began to change when we lost a job at a day care/preschool because we were using coal tar based sealer. After some thought, I realized that the asphalt maintenance industry was antiquated in its’ present form (this was 2008) and set about a two step plan. 1.) to develop a safe, non-toxic alternative (this took 6 years to get right) and then 2.) to franchise the business (this took 4 more years to develop systems, infrastructure and then almost 2 years for legal crap etc.)
What do you believe is the single most important factor when choosing a franchise?
A “match” of ideals between franchisor and franchisee.
Why should someone choose your franchise over other similar franchises?
A prospective candidate would be hard-pressed to find another truly “similar” franchise. The combination of low investment, proven ROI, and the interplay between the current state of the country and the fact that our business model is home-based with minimal face-to-face interactions needed makes us a clear front-runner. Having said that, franchisees don’t choose us; this is a mutual evaluation to find that “ideal match” I mentioned before.
What makes your industry attractive?
This is a recurring revenue model. I can’t stress enough how big that is for sales and growth. Sealcoating has to be done every few years so we’re not constantly looking for new customers. We get to work on the same driveway or parking lot multiple times.
What types of qualities do you look for in potential franchisees?
Honesty, integrity and willingness to work. Everything else can be taught and mentored through our systematic approach.
What do your franchise fees and royalties cover?
Franchisees receive a large territory where they are the only provider of our proprietary product and methods for residential driveways. We also provide them with our proprietary service software (there’s even a mobile app). We provide a fully-staffed call center that answers phones, books and schedules jobs and can even take payments. This alone is worth the fee a franchisee pays. Also, we manage the franchisee's web presence and SEO, provide toll-free number with forwarding, email addresses; we are close to a business-in-a-box as you can get!
Oh and don't forget that we provide up to 10 days of training, including 5 days in their locale. We also offer 2 industry related, additional side businesses at no extra charge.
How do territories work for your franchisees?
They’re freakin’ huge! A franchisee gets an area that has at least 75,000 single-family residences; and they of course have access to all the apartments and businesses in that area as well. Many franchisees will look at our business, however, and determine that 2 or even 3 territories is the way to start because of the low additional investment.
Where do you see your franchise in 5 years and 10 years?
I see us beginning to disrupt the industry, with 15 in 5 and 35 in 10.
What is your favorite advice for new franchisees to help them succeed?
Passionately follow the systems. Not every day will be easy, but it will pay off in the long run.
What would you tell potential franchisees that may be nervous about the financial burdens of starting a franchise?
Being nervous is a good thing. Talk to other owners about the highs and lows. Business ownership is a big step but so worthwhile.
Can you explain your financial assistance?
We are on the SBA registry, so for qualified candidates financing should be a breeze.
On average, how long does it take to start a new franchise from the franchisees point of view?
It could be done in as little as a few weeks but more realistically 2-3 months.
What was your background and experience before founding this franchise?
I was a NYC chef with over 20 years experience in the restaurant business but wanted out. I started our sealcoating business in 2005.