Patrick: Hey, you have Patrick Findaro here, co-founder at Vetted Biz. Today, I’m very excited to have on two executives at PostNet, Ryan Farris, who’s the COO president and president of PostNet, as well as Bill McPherson, who’s the VP of Franchise Development.
We’re going to talk all about the printing industry, what the PostNet franchise is, opportunities. Especially how they’ve adapted to COVID. And let’s just kick it right off. I’m curious to hear a bit more, Ryan, and then, Bill, how you got into the printing space and franchising space.
Ryan: Yeah. Great question. During college, I got into print marketing. And even shipping space. Trying to run a small business, support other customers, you need shipping, you quickly need printing and marketing. And, looking for those providers, or providing myself was something that I found attractive.
Ryan: Wound up entrenched in the industry. I joined a corporation, and then eventually wanted to start my own business. And then after a successful exit of my own company, I found the franchise world. I had no idea, how rewarding it would be to blend, big companies with entrepreneurs. I’m excited to continue every day working with entrepreneurs and helping them with their ambitions around printing, marketing, and shipping-related services.
Patrick: And, Bill, how about you, how did you get in this space?
Bill: From a franchise perspective, I was a top salesperson for a staffing company in Northern California. And they were all corporate-owned at the time, and they decided they wanted to start franchising. They asked me to develop all facets of a franchise, which was pretty phenomenal. I had to do everything from setting up the recruiting, marketing, the franchises, supporting them, training, etc.
And then as far as the print industry, I was recruited by an executive recruiter about 15 years ago for one of actually one of AlphaGraphics competitors. I spent eight years as an executive there and then was recruited by MBE Worldwide about three and a half years ago.
Patrick: I’m curious to just hear kind of how the printing industry has evolved in light of COVID and then just like the last few years with eCommerce.
Ryan: The neat about PostNet is that provides services for small and medium businesses. And the pandemic has spawned a lot of them because a lot of people now starting their businesses. They are working from home, creating additional revenue streams, and they all need those small business services that PostNet provides. Whether it’s shipping, which is just exploded during the pandemic.
Patrick: How about just like the whole work from home? Do you see that further impact your business, especially in the tech sector?
Bill: Yeah, I think so. People need to do business whether that’s printing, delivering marketing materials, shipping stuff. And it’s boarded very well the last couple of years for actually both of our brands. It’s pretty exciting.
Ryan: Because of the remoteness and maybe travel restrictions, residential shipping’s up, which is great for PostNet. The work from home, or even employing people that aren’t in your home state anymore means now I’m going to a local shipping provider or procuring my local marketing assets. All of those, whether you’re a corporation working from home or an independent business working from home I think kind of propped up a lot of the traffic that we’re seeing.
Patrick: Are you competing with other national franchises, or is it like corporate business models that are just company-owned and not operated by franchisees?
Bill: We have three or four franchise regional competing. But predominantly, the industry is still mom-and-pop. It gives us an opportunity from a customer service technology service offerings to differentiate. Because the vast majority don’t have the support of the franchise, the network of the franchisees, the buying power, etc.
Ryan: Yeah. Statistically speaking, the growth in just say parcel side of the business has been 30% from 2019 to 2020. I think once we see 2021 results, it’ll even be equal or greater. That’s substantial growth from 2019. But the number of providers that offer those shipping and logistic services has only grown 5.1%.
Patrick: The mom-and-pops business is doing super well, but they’re at capacity where they’re not going after corporate accounts. They’ll take a walk-in but they’re not aggressively growing.
Ryan: We’ve seen mom-and-pops opening up to converting to PostNet to get out of the business. The strain of trying to manage PPP loans, funding, staffing, keeping up, and not having the technology to do it kind of went from maybe what we’d call a cruiser job to stress. And so we’re seeing maybe a shift too to add franchise type of technology, infrastructure, support as an exit to let them move on to out of business or into a different business.
Bill: I think one of the other things, Patrick, that’s allowed the brand and the franchisees to grow during these unprecedented times is the franchise model and the relationship that they have with the franchisor. And so the local franchisee being known and operated in that community along with what the franchisor brings to the table with solutions, technology, marketing, etc., it’s just been a win-win for our franchisees.
Patrick: I’ve used one of the sister brands, AlphaGraphics, in the past for just, like, an event in Orlando. And it was nice having a national brand that I could rely on that had a tight process and that could design a banner pretty fast. This rather than sifting through a bunch of Google reviews for mom-and-pop printing shops…
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