Bob Russo wanted a way out of commercial real estate where he could put to use his background in construction equipment.
Rob Schlosser was looking to expand his sealcoating and pavement repair business.
Nikki Randolph and Molly Birk wanted to start a business that would dovetail with their husbands’ sealcoating company.
Bob Burris was looking for a business to start from scratch.
All five of these people came to the pavement marking industry from different backgrounds and for different reasons, but they all ended up entering the industry through a new business model: the pavement marking franchise.
Currently available through We Do Lines and Yellow Dawg Striping, the franchise approach offers an established, tested system with field training and extensive marketing and business management support to get a pavement marking business up, running and profitable in a relatively brief time for a new business. In exchange, franchise owners pay a one-time franchise fee plus monthly royalties on gross sales (and in the case of We Do Lines an additional 5% marketing fee). Presidents of both companies say the franchise model is ideal for new contractors and for contractors looking to expand.
“When people hear ‘franchise’ that can turn them off because they think it’s them working for someone else. That’s a challenge we have,” says Jack Child, president of Black Dawg Franchise Group, which includes the Yellow Dawg franchise. “But what they have to look at is how the franchise model can help get their business to where they want it to be. This industry is perfectly positioned for the franchise model because it’s scalable, it does require some expertise, you can train people, and national accounts are always seeking reliable companies to solve their local problems for them,” Child says. “By using a system like we envision we will be able to cover coast to coast using the same standards, the same equipment, the same uniforms, and the same practices, so the customers know what they’re getting. It makes buying decisions easier for national accounts such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot.”
Chris Couri, president and cofounder of We Do Lines, says he and partners Tom Darrow, chief operating officer, and Dan Rella, chief financial officer, see the pavement marking industry as ripe for franchise businesses. The three came from the landscaping and irrigation industry and were doing a lot of commercial property maintenance, so they saw some of the issues facing the pavement marking industry.
“We see the industry as a fragmented, part-time industry where there just aren’t that many contractors doing striping full time,” Couri says. “By bringing a franchise approach to the market we think we can offer a great business opportunity to the contractor and improve the service the industry is receiving.”
How We Do Lines Works
We Do Lines offers a franchise for a one-time $25,000 franchise fee plus an additional 8% commission on gross sales and 5% to fund national and local marketing initiatives, search engine optimization, social media, public relations, and aggressive branding. Currently We Do Lines is on pace to sell its 17th franchise, some of which are co-owned by one of the three partners.
The franchise fee covers rights to a territory (defined as 350,000 parking spaces as determined by a proprietary We Do Lines metric), licensing to use the We Do Lines franchise system, use of a company’s internet system (StripeNet, which Couri terms “the artery of communication for our system”), an operator’s manual, sales data and leads, search engine optimization data, and the We Do Lines brand. A public relations firm handles national marketing, assists in tapping in to the local market, handles promotion on social media, and provides lists for contractors to pursue.
We Do Lines’ starter package includes a trailer, striping machine, safety equipment, and support tools and materials, all of which are purchased through We Do Lines or through an approved vendor where pricing is negotiated in advance by We Do Lines. We Do Lines also has a national supply agreement with Sherwin Williams for paint and supplies.