Patrick: Patrick Findaro here, co-founder at Vetted Biz, very excited to have on Kristin Selmeczy. She’s a franchisee of Molly Maid in Illinois. Also, she’s a franchise consultant and podcast host at “Pillars of Franchising.” A podcast channel that I was recently on, it was great to be a guest on their channel. Today we’re going to talk about what it’s like to be a franchisee, how after having established the system things change. And then go through the types of services that Kristin and her colleagues offer at Pillars of Franchising beyond just franchise brokerage but having a continued relationship with the franchisees that they work with. Kristin, appreciate you joining today.
Kristin: Oh my gosh. Thank you so much for having me on. I was so excited. We got to meet a couple of weeks ago down in Florida and it was like, oh, there’s a rockstar.
Patrick: It’s a great event.
Kristin: Well, it’s great to meet somebody like-minded like we are, not only from a franchisee perspective, I didn’t go down there in that role. I went down there as more of a consultant role and to meet people who aren’t trying to get you to sell a brand, people who are just there to present the good, the bad, the ugly, kind of an agnostic view of all things franchising. As I said to you before, thank you to you and your brother and your team for all the work that you do. Because the one thing we know is that for anybody who is out there looking to invest their life savings, the one thing they need is honest, clear, direct information about what it is that they’re looking to buy. So thank you.
Patrick: As we discussed before, I think times are changing. Even 30 years back when you were going to buy a home, you would just get information about that home from the agent who’s receiving a commission if you move forward. Where franchising still a lot of people are just getting information from the franchise broker and, or the franchise development person at that brand without any real benchmarking or unbiased information.
Kristin: Yeah. Awesome.
Patrick: And yeah, I think a big part in getting to know, really making sure that, what you’re getting into and we can help with the data side, but Kristin, you’re going to be the one that helps navigate the franchise candidate together with talking to franchisees to understand what the day in the life of a franchisee is. And I’m curious to hear from you because you currently own a Molly Maid franchise in Illinois. I’m curious to hear, how is it, what’s it like right now operating that franchise now that you’ve had it for a few years?
Kristin: Well, so we’ve had, I’ve had the franchise now for 15 years, as you can see, this is my motto here in the back ‘now hiring’. And in this kind of a business you’re always hiring but more so now in the last year and a half, we’ve been fortunate, for my particular business to have the same people working for us for 7, 8, 9, 10 years. However, as other smaller businesses, smaller competitors in the market close down the need for us to hire more is always a challenge. Starting 15 years ago is very different than starting today. We have now been taken under the Neighborly brand, which is huge.
Patrick: They have 17 different franchises, mostly in the home service space, right?
Kristin: Yeah. That’s a really interesting change of events for us. On our show, we talk a lot about what kind of a brand do you want to buy? Do you want to buy a brand that is more corporate or more family-run? When we bought Molly Maid, it was more family-run in that it was part of the service brands that we had. Was 2, 3 brands where you knew intimately the leadership team. Now that we’ve become part of this big conglomerate we’re a little more corporate.
Patrick: How many franchisees were there when you started 15 years back and how many now?
Kristin: We were around 100 when I started, and we are around 250 now. The interesting thing with franchising at this kind of stage in the game is that there are a lot of folks that you go through any kind of event. In this case, the pandemic. And at this particular point, you have a lot of people that are aging out naturally. And then you have a lot of people who not only are they at the point where they are ready to kind of make that decision, but the pandemic has just made them say, “That’s it. I may have hung on another five or 10 years, but with the pandemic and all the stress and all the changes that brought about, I’m out.”
Patrick: How many current employees do you have?
Kristin: I have 25. And I could use another 10 right now. We work in teams of two. That kind of gives you an idea of, how many teams is that put out there. I think when you buy a franchise, we always talk about the biggest issue is to have a vision and begin with the cliché of beginning with the end in mind. And part of that is all about, do you want to work on your business or in your business? I started having kids and nights and weekends, I wanted that work-life balance. I wanted to be home for the holidays.
Patrick: Yeah. Travel was big when you’re at a corporation. You are going up the ranks and yes, you’re making more money, but generally more travel and you have to incorporate that into the time.
Kristin: Yeah. And I moved a lot. I was in Atlanta, Tampa, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco. All those different places. And when I got Molly Maid, it was great because the first year people ask me all the time. What kind of franchise can I buy where I don’t have to be there?
Patrick: Doesn’t everyone want that? You just like, invest like a $100,000 and you get a $100,000 a year not doing anything.
Kristin: I’m like if I knew that answer, I mean, I’d be off on a beach somewhere right now.
Patrick: Exactly. The reality is if it was that easy, the franchisor would just keep doing that and they wouldn’t have franchisees
Kristin: Exactly. The first couple years of anything, I believe that you buy is going to be a lot of work. I mean, you have to put in something.
Patrick: And you set the core values. You have a team of 25 people, and they know you as the owner.
Kristin: There’s a culture. And every single business that I’ve purchased, the culture is completely different in those businesses. And when I brought those employees over, they usually don’t stay.
Patrick: Okay. Yeah, it’s probably a benefit of a new franchise versus an existing franchise in that sense.
Kristin: Because those folks, a lot of times come with bad habits, they deliver to a different standard. I have very high standards. I was once told, Kristin, you have very high standards, but you’re fair. And as long as that’s the case…
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