Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brandon Wlasichuk and Jason Frazier are quick to say that In-N-Out Burger is a great company. It’s where the business partners met. Frazier was a manager at the burger chain, and Wlasichuk was working in maintenance.
However, In-N-Out wasn't the right company for the pair to flex their entrepreneurial muscles. So, they left to open up their own Screenmobile store, a franchise specializing in window, door and porch screens.
Here's how the duo went from chain restaurant employees to franchise owners.
Name: Brandon Wlasichuk and Jason Frazier
Franchise owned: Screenmobile of Bakersfield and Visalia, Calif.
How long have you owned a franchise?
Our first day on the job was March 19, 2014
We never really thought of buying into a franchise before hearing of Screenmobile. We both have a couple of friends that own their own franchises in California and Arizona and we were able to see how well it worked for them. Also, the uniqueness that Screenmobile has to offer by being a mobile business with a shop and store attached to the back of our truck made it hard to pass up.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
Jason was a manager at In-N-Out Burger and Brandon was working in the maintenance department. We met each other working as associates in the store. Brandon was with the company for just under nine years and Jason was with the company for just under five years. It was and, in our opinion, will always be a great company to work for. However, we knew that one day we wanted to be our own bosses and it was time for a change.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
We have friends who own franchises and were able to see how much fun they were having. We were able to meet everyone in the corporate office before we made any final decisions and see what the company was all about from the inside out. They are a strong team and truly care about our success, along with every other franchisee.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
We bought an existing business and transferred it to central California for a bigger opportunity to grow. We paid $55,000 for the business with some existing inventory. Once we were ready, we bought an extra trailer and truck to expand the business to Visalia. The final cost was right around $65,000 to get started.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
We got a lot of advice from existing franchise owners. We called around and asked questions about their business and just basic advice for someone starting a Screenmobile.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
We knew that starting a business was going to cost money that we did not have, but we didn’t really know how hard it was going to be to get the money. Being young and not having experience of owning a business was not what the banks wanted to hear, but we were able to make it happen.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Do your research, and make sure you have money saved for any costs that may come up. In the beginning everything is hard, but keep your head high and keep on working it will get easier.
What’s next for you and your business?
We plan to expand across central California and make our business a well-known name and favorite.