Coating Worx franchise and me: It’s a win-win situation
Name: Erik Bredberg
Franchise: Coating Worx – Professional Paint Contractors
Why I chose franchising
I operate a COATING WORX franchise which covers Pietermaritzburg and the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. COATING WORX provides cost-effective maintenance solutions, including painting and damp-proofing, for corporate clients, homeowners and body corporates. I’ve been involved with franchising for most of my career; it’s a business concept which suits my business and lifestyle aspirations and has rewarded me well over the years.
Franchising is a win-win situation; I have the back-up and support of my franchisor, whilst remaining independent. It’s in the best interests of both the franchisee and franchisor to work closely together to ensure that we get the business, provide the best possible service and satisfy our clients, since the better the franchisee does, the better for the franchisor. As a franchisee, I also benefit from solid brand management – brand identity has already been created and brand recognition has been established. As an independent business owner, considerable time, money and energy would have to be spent on establishing the business brand, making people aware of it and attracting customers.
What I did before taking up a franchise
I’ve always been a franchisee. Before joining COATING WORX, I operated a service station in Durban. After several years’ hard graft in the city, I decided to relocate the family to the country, where we could all enjoy a safer and more balanced lifestyle. The COATING WORX franchise fits our new set-up well. A viability study had already been done by my franchisor, so I knew I was making a good investment.
How I raised the finance
Over the years, I worked very hard! I was fortunate to have the finances I needed to make the required investment.
The training and support I receive from my franchisor
I get excellent back-up and support from the COATING WORX infrastructure. Training with respect to sales and marketing, sourcing business, financial and administration procedure, staff management and industrial relations and general business management is provided. My franchisor also provides its franchisees with a strong online presence in the form of its website and this takes the headache out of developing and managing an online marketing campaign. The lines of communication are also good – I am able to pick up a phone to discuss any issues I may have at any time.
When I was scouting around for a new franchise opportunity, I investigated several options. Top of my list was how satisfied existing franchisees where with the service levels and support they were getting from the franchisor. Of all the franchisees I spoke with, COATING WORX franchisees were by far the happiest. We also benefit from training in product and technical knowledge. Our preferred suppliers – Dulux and Plascon – offer training courses which keep us up-to-date with the latest paint products and techniques available, and this enables us to pass the knowledge and skills acquired on to our customer base. An added benefit is the guarantees and discounts we receive, as part of a franchise, from leading paint manufacturers.
The challenges I have faced
Finding work in today’s economic climate is harder for all business owners and operators and I classify it as my biggest challenge. Fortunately, I benefit from my franchisor being able to generate sales leads for me and source and seal deals which I would not be able to get as an independent business owner. This is hugely helpful and allows me to concentrate on providing excellent service to my customers.
My advice to someone thinking of buying their first franchise
Research the available franchise options thoroughly. Ensure that you match your interests, skills base, qualifications, knowledge and experience to the franchise. Check out what business skills training is on offer – while you may possess the required technical skills, operating a franchise successfully requires an entrepreneurial mind-set and that you have a good understanding of business, including marketing, financial management and customer service. You cannot be afraid of hard work. Talking to franchisees will also provide you with useful information about how they are treated, the support levels they experience, how much work is available, what the franchisor offers in terms of marketing promotions and advertising and how happy they are in general with their franchisor. Having said all this, being a franchisee provides you with the freedom to be your own boss and to earn a decent living – who could ask for more?
My plans for the future
With a new year and a new decade around the corner, I’m eager to take my COATING WORX franchise on to the next level. I will be working on establishing myself as the leading painting contractor in my area of operations and further developing the useful relationships I’ve established with key corporate clients. In tough times, customers look for value for money and, by providing them with outstanding levels of service and using only high-quality paint and damp-proofing products, I will ensure that I add value in every possible way.