USA Insulation - Franchise Q & A

Franchise Qa With Wes Sattler Director Of Franchise Sales For Usa Insulation

How was your franchise/opportunity originally conceived and started?

It was 1983 and Jeff Pitrone just had his house insulation with a new state-of-the-art foam insulation. He could feel the difference immediately. The Gas Company could too, because within 2 months of the insulation being installed, they replaced his meter because they thought it was faulty. Jeff knew then that he had to be involved in this business. So, Jeff approached the then-owner of a small insulation company in Eastlake, OH and asked to buy into the business. It took several lengthy conversations, but eventually Jeff became partner and eventual sole Owner by 1985. He then focused on the growth of the residential retrofit business of re-insulating homes. 

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

Fast forward to 2004, when Jeff’s son, Patrick Pitrone joined the company helping run the Cleveland-based location and began to focus on Marketing and Sales efficiency.  With the help of his father and brother-in-law, Aaron Jais, they grew the business into three distinct, vertically integrated companies, creating a value chain of: 

  1. Manufacturing and Distribution of proprietary USA Premium Foam insulation (made in Cleveland, OH)
  2. Franchisor with over 20 locations
    • While we were successful in the Northeast Ohio market, we knew we could grow the brand through franchising the business nationally. We wanted to provide others the opportunity we had, so we started franchising the model beyond the borders of Ohio. 
    • USA Insulation became the first and largest Residential Insulation Franchisor in the country
    • Franchise community is an extension of family and in our 11th year franchising, we have successful franchisees in over 13 states
  3. Servicing and Installing our proprietary Injection Foam Insulation and premium Fiberwood insulation in homes throughout NEO (over 80,000 to date)

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

Fit with the USA culture!  Products and services can be taught, culture we both bring to the table.  

Why should someone choose your franchise over other similar franchises?

We believe it comes down to fit – if you feel more comfortable with our leadership team you will enjoy the business more, and ultimately do better! 

What makes your industry attractive?

While insulation is not the hottest new food fad, it is rock solid, needed, and growing!  In addition, we have no national competitors and have a proprietary product with the best insulation value on the market. 

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

We start with a cultural index assessment to see if we will get along/work well together.  Feeding into the assessment are key attributes, such as:  positive outlook, personable, collaborator/team player, and driven

What do your franchise fees and royalties cover?

Upfront, the initial franchise fee covers everything you need to not only launch but sustain your business.  This includes:  in-depth training on the model and services for both the owner and employees (both at the headquarters and onsite), marketing systems (TV, radio, SEO/SEM/PPC, Social, etc), detailed business and growth plans, vendor setup and more.  

The ongoing 5% royalty allows USA to provide top notch support and training to our owners.  The 2% ad fund allows USA to develop templated and refined marketing tools for our owners to implement and see immediate results  

How do territories work for your franchisees?

Each USA owner received a protected territory up to 200,000 homes, built before 1980.  We designed our territories to be large enough for multi-million dollar growth.  In our 11+ years of franchising, we have not come close to maxing out a single territory!

Why has your franchise model been successful?

We follow our Proven Process. We call it, “The USA Way”:  Lead Generation, In-home Sales, Installation and Asset Management. We rely on our Three Uniques:

  1. Proprietary, Premium Foam Insulation
  2. Profitability Potential of Franchisees
  3. Simplicity of Model

The following bullets also ring true: 

  • An organized and branded business operating in a climate of unorganized and independent competitors
  • Proprietary products available only to USA Insulation franchises
  • Effective marketing and advertising tools including TV, radio, print, internet and direct marketing campaigns combined with media buying planning and support.
  • The USA Insulation Professional In-home Selling System.
  • Our all-encompassing operations system including lead generation, sales, installation, project and business management, and everything in between
  • And comprehensive, hands-on training at our business in Cleveland, Ohio and at your facility prior to the Grand Opening

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

In 5 years we will have 60 locations with a robust Marketing and Technology Fund helping Franchisees add value to their businesses. Our 10 year target is to have 100 Units throughout the U.S. 

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

Follow the process and learn from the over 30 years of experience we have. Also, work hard out of the gate. A strong business foundation makes for a solid business. 

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

First off, you are human!  Anyone who says they aren’t nervous launching a business is not being truthful.  As well, business ownership is not for everyone.  The key is what you do with that stress – if it consumes you, you may be better off working for someone else.  If you use it to drive you, to force you out of bed and make things happen, then it can be a very powerful tool!

Can you explain your financial assistance?

We have outside lenders who can provide financing for the entire startup, or just the equipment if you prefer.  

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

Typical launch is 4-6 months. 

What was your background and experience before founding this franchise?

We are a 2nd generation family business.

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