Doron Straus | Corporate Trainer – Business Alliance, Inc.
I recently had the opportunity to have a wonderful conversation with Cameron Wears, Senior Manager of Franchise Development for WOW 1 Day Painting. Here is a recap of my conversation with Cameron.
DS – Cameron, thank you for taking the time to meet with me. Our conversation will help our brokers understand WOW 1 Day Painting on a deeper level, which, in turn, will hopefully generate more qualified and quality referrals for you from our broker network. Let’s get started.
DS – Cameron, what kind of referral are you looking for from our brokers?
CW – We look for people who have a passion for building a business and enjoy working with people. We also look for someone who does not feel that they are better than the service that they are offering. We recognize that painting is “dirty” and not particularly “sexy.” We don’t like the person who comes to us with the attitude that they like the ROI of the “other guy,” but they really have no interest in doing what the other guy is doing. We want someone that is a problem-solver, someone that takes pride in what they do, offers a service that they feel good about, and they MUST like people.
DS – What kind of referrals are you NOT impressed with?
CW – Those candidates making $150K plus a year and insisting on making a quick ROI but want someone else to run the biz are not our most ideal candidate. Keep in mind that if you have someone else running the biz, that will mean a longer time to achieving ROI. Another is a candidate that has low assets and a poor credit score. Then there are those who do not understand the need for working capital. Many brokers never bring up working capital. We don’t expect a deep conversation from the broker on working capital, however it is important that they explain to their candidate the NEED for working capital during start-up.
Ultimately, our “sweet spot” is someone who is in the $75-100K per year and is excited to double or triple that in a reasonable time (3-5 years). We do have some owners who made good money before starting the business – the expectation is that we need that person to know that it takes time and replacing their salary in 1-2 years is unrealistic.
We are open to the semi-absentee model; however, you really need someone who will run the business. If a broker presents a candidate who wants to be semi-absentee, they need to know that the time to realize ROI will be longer. Would you like a “semi-absentee father?” Would you like a “semi-absentee friend?” If you are a semi-absentee operator, what happens when your general manager quits? Are you ready to work the 60-80 hours per week until that situation is stable? Semi-absentee might work for us after your first 24 months in operation, but you still need to step up if a key employee quits!
You must recognize that semi-absentee owners are still involved in the business. This is the biggest misunderstanding – that some brokers blend passive and semi-absentee together. It is most certainly not a passive business.
DS –What do your most successful owners have in common?
CW – We understand that an owner may need to outsource workers, hire contractors, however, the successful owners hire and promote from within. They do not always want to rely on subs, although they will need subs sometimes. Our owners understand that people need and like to grow, have a career path, and career development. Those are the zees that thrive tend to be leaders. They also want to give back to their community. They want to lead, whereas painting is nothing more than the “vehicle.” The typical buyer is a “JEN,” Juggles Everyone’s Needs! The typical owner is 45-55 years old, is busy and takes pride in home ownership. They are the exact opposite of a Do-It-Yourselfer. A “JEN’ owner appreciates branding and recognizes the importance of brand awareness. They park their wrapped van in a highly visible area. They understand and appreciate that their service comes at a premium.
DS – Does WOW use any kind of behavioral assessment?
CW – Yes, we use the Predictive Index. It’s easy and only takes 5 minutes to complete. It is not a competency evaluator, rather, it will help define what working environment a person really excels in. There are four quadrants to this assessment:
Dominance – Do you like being in control?
Patience- If you are too patient, what will you do when your painter quits? Will you have the ability to adapt quickly?
Social – Do you like people?
Formality – Are you a perfectionist?
We give the Predictive Index to all candidates in our process. We also offer it to our owners to help them in hiring their core personnel.
DS – Cameron, let’s move on to a brief discussion about CULTURE. A lot of folks have the money and business acumen, however sometimes brokers, in a general sense, forget about exploring the “cultural fit” of the candidate with the franchise brand. Your thoughts?
CW – Is this potential zee someone whom I would like to have a BBQ and a beer with? Is that person someone who could show up at a BBQ and talk to everyone? Is that person just going to stand in a corner or is only into the food? At WOW we give “bear hugs” not “handshakes.” Let’s go further, we have the “Four H’s”:
Happy- your attitude, your positive energy, your goal-orientation.
Hungry – your tenacity, are you goal-driven. Do you desire to be the CEO?
Hands-On – not meaning if you like to hold the ladder! Rather, are you one who likes to take ownership of the business? Will you bring in the “right” people, will you set the “right tone?” We look for entrepreneurship.
Hard Working – Not just willing to just get up each day, rather, are you thinking about the “next level?”
DS – What do the brokers that do the most placements with WOW have in common and what should brokers be aware of?
CW – Most brokers that do the most placements tend to send us those who have significant C-suite experience. However, brokers should not just throw us a lead! We flag brokers whom we sense are strictly transactional in their approach. Make sure that you understand the “why” of your candidate. A good “why” for us is someone who wants a leadership role, a role that involves developing their employees. Is it just about the money for your candidate? Brokers need to make sure their candidates understand the franchise buying process. Brokers need to ask tough questions. How does their candidate plan to live after the investment? Has the broker discussed working capital? The broker does not need to get deep into the financial discussion, however, bringing up working capital is helpful, both to the candidate and to us.
DS – Can you illustrate a “Day-in-the-Life” of an owner?
CW – First, there is the “start-up” period. During this time, the owner is learning the details of the business. They are creating the estimates, providing the quotes. They are learning how to hire, learning what to pay. They are learning and experiencing building their first crew and supplying consistent jobs for that first crew. The owner is learning how to run that first crew. They are always thinking about brand awareness, joining networking groups, participating in Home and Garden trade shows. Placing their wrapped vehicle in high traffic areas for increased visibility.
After the “start-up” period the owner is now leading the leaders and are on the lookout for the next checkpoint. They are building their “roadmap.” They conduct weekly team meetings with their core personnel. Remember, a strong leader equals less turnover! It’s not just about sales, rather, it is also learning what your employees want and need.
DS – Cameron is there anything else that you would like to add?
CW – Our business is simple. The labor component of our business is on the lower end. You do not need to be a painter to work with WOW. We will train anyone to paint. This opens your labor pool significantly. Also keep in mind that there is a very high demand for our service as people do not like to paint.
We offer a Performance Guarantee that addresses the two main barriers – Fear and Money. We break up the franchise fee, where half is paid upfront and the remainder is paid over a period starting in the second year, giving time for the business to develop.
As for fear, we understand that and that is why our system is very structured. We are so convinced about our system that if an owner does not produce $250K in revenue in their first 12 months, we will release them from their contract and refund their fees paid to date. Let’s face it, an owner who is not making more than $250K by the end of their first year is probably very unhappy and would like to get out of their contract!
DS – Cameron, thank you so much for the generosity of your time today! This was a very thorough conversation and a remarkably interesting one! This certainly will help our brokers gain a better understanding of WOW 1 Day Painting and hopefully, it will result in more referrals and referrals that are more qualified. Thanks again!
CW – My pleasure!