When the pandemic took over our lives in 2020, it made a lot of us stop and rethink our futures.
Some small business owners closed their doors and retired after decades of being in business. Other people lost their jobs and felt the need to regain control of their lives. For many of them, investing in a franchise sounded like a great opportunity.
This was our first year of franchising at Strickland Brothers. We sold more than 100 units in 2020—despite a global pandemic and a struggling economy. Here’s how we did it.
What Were Strickland Brothers’ Successes in 2020?
First, here’s a little bit of our background to put things into perspective:
- In 2016, the first Strickland Brothers location was founded in Thomasville, North Carolina. The next year, we made improvements to create a scalable model.
- In 2018, five additional corporate locations opened in North Carolina and South Carolina.
- In 2019, seven additional corporate locations opened in North Carolina, West Virginia, and Virginia.
This year, Strickland Brothers started national expansion through franchising. We awarded our first agreement on April 7th. By the end of the year, more than 110 franchise units were awarded.
What Were the Keys to Selling 100 Franchise Units?
Justin Strickland—Founder, CEO, and President of Strickland Brothers—said the company’s performance in 2020 involved three steps.
The first step is the easiest. Anyone can award a franchise unit, take a check for payment, and then go on their merry way. But Justin believes the relationship between Franchisor and Franchise Owner goes deeper than that.
“It’s so much more than: You sign a franchise agreement, you hand us a franchise fee, and we wish you good luck—and you can use our name,” he said. “We look at it as a partnership.”
Building relationships with franchise consultants across the country has allowed us to find Franchise Owners who fit the Strickland Brothers culture. These firms help future entrepreneurs evaluate their range of interests, industries, and values until they land on the franchise concept that’s right for them.
Setting Up for Success
The second step is putting our Franchise Owners in a position to open successfully. We get a lot of help at this stage from our friends at Linville Team Partners. They assist our Franchise Owners with site selection and development.
Starting up a quick lube business is not as easy as developing other franchises. For instance, the process of finding a good location is a difficult task.
“This isn’t building out a strip mall like you would for a restaurant chain or juice bar,” Justin said. “We have to find dirt, and we have to build a free-standing building.”
Being able to connect our Franchise Owners with a business partner for the development process has been instrumental in the success of building our teams.
Partnering with the Right Owners
The third step is finding then partnering with the right Franchise Owners and pointing them toward profitability. We work with the folks at FranDevCo to educate our new entrepreneurs through the Discovery Process, which includes:
- Initial call
- Business overview webinar
- Operations & Support webinar
- Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) review
- Executive call
- Discovery day
- Decision day
- Signing day
Justin talks with each potential franchise owner during this stage to find out more about them and answer any questions they may have.
“I want them to tell me about their kids, their spouse, their parents, just anything they’re willing to share with me,” he said.
Justin said after a potential new Owner goes through the education process, meets the leadership team, and takes a store tour, they have a better understanding of what the company is about and how they will be supported.
What’s Ahead for Strickland Brothers in 2021?
“Rinse, repeat, and innovate,” Justin answered.
With all of the franchise units sold in 2020, the company’s goal is to open the 100th store, which includes franchises and corporate locations, in 2021. However, when it comes to selling more franchise units, Justin is a little more flexible.
“We’re going to grow at the pace when qualified Franchise Owners present themselves who align with our values,” he said. “Not any faster and not any slower.”
Justin said he won’t sign agreements just to keep adding franchises if they’re not the right partners.
“When you’re not money-motivated, and you’re motivated by people, it’s an easy decision to make,” he said.
How Strickland Brothers Sold More Than 100 Franchise Units in 2020
Now you know how Strickland Brothers was able to sell more than 100 franchise units in 2020 amid a public health crisis and economic recession.
By establishing partnerships with our Franchise Owners and setting them up for success, we were able to provide entrepreneurs with lucrative opportunities, as well as support and guidance.
The in-demand nature of our industry (plus established protocols) gave Strickland Brothers an edge in 2020. You can learn more about the value of running a recession-resilient and contactless business by checking out this blog.