Between finding a real estate agent and somewhere new to live, plus packing up and making your house presentable for sale, moving can be a stressful time. That’s where Prep ‘n Sell comes in. “We offer a one-call service to real estate agents and their clients, providing them with everything they need to put up their home for sale,” explains David Collier, Prep ‘n Sell Founder and President.
The franchise concept itself came out of a gap Collier noticed in the market. “I was in the cleaning business, and I saw a need for real estate agents to be able to prep homes for sale.” Instead of hiring handymen, contractors, and cleaners themselves, clients can call Prep ‘n Sell. “Nobody brings it together like us. They call us a stager on steroids,” says Collier.
Meet two of Prep ‘n Sell’s finest franchisees
Julie Smith, a Prep ‘n Sell franchisee in the Beaches neighbourhood of Toronto, did a lot of soul searching before deciding to become a franchisee. “My passion for my 25-year career was gone, and I didn’t feel like I was putting 100 per cent into it, so I worked with some coaches to learn about my hobbies and values, and how to transfer those into something,” she says.
Smith had known Collier for many years through her squash league. She asked him about his business, and visited the Prep ‘n Sell website, where she noticed that all of the franchisee requirements aligned with her personal values. She was also searching for a business that she wouldn’t have to build up from scratch. “I saw that the branding was very professionally done. I was quite impressed by it all, and that’s how I made my decision,” she recalls.
Richard Foster of Langley, British Columbia moved into franchising after more than 30 years in retail management, “I’ve made a lot of money for other companies in my life, and I saw an opportunity for me to build a business on my own,” he explains.
He chose Prep n’ Sell for a few reasons. “I’ve always owned my own properties and believed in real estate as an investment,” he says. “I thought Prep ‘n Sell was a brilliant idea: we’re in a market by ourselves. Sure, there are lots of tradespeople, but there’s no one catering right to the real estate and home sale market.”
According to Foster, one of the biggest benefits of being a Prep ‘n Sell franchisee is that “You are running your own business, so you are as busy or as slow as you want to be.” He recommends a Prep ‘n Sell franchise because “It’s essentially recession-proof.” Another upside is the franchise fees, which are relatively low, plus franchisees can work out of their homes.
For Smith, one of the biggest benefits is the flexibility it affords. “If you need to focus on your family or your hobbies, you’re able to juggle your job around them,” she says.
Getting prepped for success
Training for new franchisees takes place at the company’s headquarters in Toronto. “When we train a franchisee, we put them through a one-week training course, and then we give them ongoing support,” says Collier.
Along with bi-weekly e-blasts and social media communication, Collier helps franchisees find ongoing success. “We help them determine their business goals, and what they can do to achieve them. It’s ongoing coaching, not just support. We are trying to create a healthy business,” he emphasizes.
To keep up to date, franchisees have to always be learning. “Every house has a unique issue,” says Foster. “I find out which people fix these problems regularly, and then I connect with them. Whenever possible, I go on site with them to see how it gets taken care of. After that, I essentially become an expert, because I’ve done my homework,” he says.
Smith stays current in a number of ways, from networking to doing a lot of reading. She says it’s a big benefit that the franchise is a member of the Building Industry and Land Development Association. “The focus on residential and commercial construction, and that membership, allows us to get training on a monthly basis, to learn about situations and products, and to make new contacts.”
Of course, starting up a new franchise is not without some challenges. For Prep ‘n Sell franchisees, the biggest challenge is finding quality tradespeople who are available when you need them. The way Foster has overcome this challenge is to “treat tradespeople better than the industry as a whole treats them,” he says. For example, he pays tradespeople as soon as a job is completed, because he knows that sometimes they have trouble getting compensated.
Finding the right fit
Collier says the ideal Prep ‘n Sell franchisee is a real people person. “They like to get out, be social, and network. Whether that’s networking with real estate agents or talking to people and meeting them in their homes, you have to be outgoing.” They should also have project management skills and some business acumen, and while renovation experience is an asset, it’s not a necessity.
For anyone thinking about a Prep ‘n Sell franchise, Smith stresses the importance of putting the customer first. “If you don’t listen to the customer and you don’t ask questions, you’re going to end up having challenges,’ she points out. “Treat people how you’d like to be treated, and make sure that they are happy at the end of your communication with them.”
Foster says the best way to ensure success is to pick something you love, as opposed to something you’re doing just to make money. “The successful small business owners that I meet and network with are all passionate about what they do. I think that’s what is most important.”