“Our relationship with Sherwin Williams is a value proposition that has given our system solid value. Our franchise members can use any Sherwin Williams location and get the benefits,” Couri says. “Our guys know they have the option to buy where they want but we have an ally in Sherwin Williams and they really support us.”
Couri says new franchise owners go through a five-day initial set-up and training in either Connecticut or Florida which covers everything from the Internet, business management, and how to work with approved vendors to two days of field training on how to layout and stripe. “When they’re buying the franchise they’re buying the breadth and depth of a system of doing business,” Couri says. “They’re buying into the brand. It’s a model of distribution.”
How Yellow Dawg Striping Works
Yellow Dawg Striping is one of the brands under the Black Dawg Franchise Group umbrella, which features four franchises: Black Dawg Sealcoat, Blue Dawg Power Wash, Red Dawg Infrared and Yellow Dawg Striping.
“One of the benefits of owning one of our franchises is that we’re not one dimensional, and that’s something our franchisees really embrace,” Child says. “We feel that each franchise is a pipeline to another brand, so once you own one of our brands you get a 50% discount on our other franchise fees. That makes it easy to expand your portfolio and creates great multiple exit strategies as well.”
A Yellow Dawg franchise fee is a minimum of $7500 based on the population of a given market. Child says a Yellow Dawg territory needs to contain at least 700,000 people (Child acknowledges generous adjustments are often made based on demographics and market potential), so the rough cost is less than one penny per capita in any given market. In addition franchise owners pay 6% of gross sales to the franchise group. Currently Yellow Dawg has six franchise locations serving eight states, and Child says he expects to have 15 operating by the end of the year.
Yellow Dawg, which holds its annual meeting at the National Pavement Expo, offers field training, a web page dedicated to the contractor and linked to his own site, an 800 number with a dedicated call center answered “live,” management of Internet advertising, search engine optimization, public relations through a national firm and more, including ongoing training, consulting, and business coaching. “Keeping up with search engine changes is practically a full-time job and most business owners simply don’t have the time or resources to do it. Our franchise owners don’t have to worry about creating any of the business systems,” Child says.
Including the $7500 buy in, Child says most people can have their business up and running for less than $25,000 (assuming they already own a truck). The additional money goes to buying a Graco 3900 Line Lazer IV, their striping machine of choice, stencils, tools, an enclosed customized trailer and paint.
“We do help negotiate a price on certain things that they need, but they buy direct from the vendor. Unlike most franchises, we don’t take a cut on any equipment or materials,” Child says. “They have the flexibility to use approved brands and we negotiate on their behalf with numerous approved vendors.”
To enhance brand awareness, Yellow Dawg also wants franchise owners to either own or sponsor a yellow dog through the local humane society.
“A Great Add-on for Contractors”
Couri says that We Do Lines expected competition from paving and sealcoating contractors doing their own striping, but he was surprised at what happened.
“Those companies ended up becoming our customers because that way they could focus on their other work and not have to focus on line striping,” Couri says. “In fact they never really were focused on line striping – they just did it because they felt they had to. If they really want to pursue striping they can buy a franchise and have the entire business model already set to go for them. It’s a great add-on for contractors.”
For contractors such as Rob Schlosser. A former fire fighter, Schlosser for nine years did residential sealcoating part time with his Just Sealcoating business. As the business grew he decided to pursue commercial work so he changed the name to All County Asphalt Maintenance, and today works in New York’s Westchester and Nassau counties.