Q&A with Douglas Smith, Senior VP of Franchise Development for BELFOR Franchise Group
In this exclusive Q&A, we get to learn about the BELFOR Franchise Group from Douglas Smith, the company’s Senior Vice President of Franchise Development.
Franchise Chatter (FC): What is BELFOR Franchise Group and what makes it unique compared to other franchises?
Douglas Smith (DS): What sets us apart from other companies is that we consider BELFOR Franchise Group (BFG) a large and growing family, and have created a strong, inclusive culture built on the foundation of “people helping people” at the core of what our team does every day. Collectively, the reputation and respect that our brands have in the marketplace has been earned by the high quality of work and service excellence that our franchise owners provide and is what often draws people to join our family. BFG prides itself on “frantegrity,” which reflects our commitment to building a trustworthy relationship with our customers and the communities we serve.
Another significant part of what makes BFG unique is that we’re the only major services-focused franchisor owned by an actual operating company. Being backed by BELFOR Property Restoration, our parent company and the worldwide leader in the restoration space, brings deep industry experience, resources and relationships to our franchisees that deliver tangible value. It allows our network the unrivaled access to everything they need to run a successful business.
Our comprehensive training and support programs, ongoing coaching and development is unrivaled and world class. From technical competence to business development, technology, marketing and industry-specific professional development, we ensure that every franchisee has the skills to serve their customers and grow their business – and they know that they’re never in business alone.
BFG is the world’s largest residential and commercial services franchise group based on geographic footprint and number of units, and a division of BELFOR Property Restoration, the world’s largest disaster restoration company. It is the parent organization for 11 of the strongest home service-based franchise opportunities for residential and commercial cleaning and restoration. The franchise brands are: 1-800 WATER DAMAGE, Chem-Dry & Upholstery Cleaning, Delta Restoration Services, DUCTZ International, HOODZ International, N-Hance Wood Refinishing, Blue Kangaroo Packoutz, The Patch Boys, redbox+, WINMAR, and Z PLUMBERZ.
FC: Why is now a great time to open a service-based franchise?
DS: Home services franchises are truly “essential” in good times and bad – as we’ve seen with the pandemic – and several of our brands had record-breaking years in 2020. With homeownership skyrocketing and more time spent at home, there has been an unprecedented demand for a number of home service and improvement offerings, as residents looked to fix, update and transform the place where they now live, work and play. This has created increased opportunities for home service brands like the ones we offer, and those known for being “handy.” Franchisees from a number of our brands have seen such a surge in their business that they’re booked out several weeks and in some cases, a couple of months. And industry experts don’t see this trend slowing any time soon.
FC: Who is best suited for a career in service-based franchising?
DS: Regardless of prior background or skillset, those who have a passion for serving others in their time of need and are looking for a rewarding career with a lifestyle where they have more freedom and control over their future, can find a home and happiness in a service-based franchise. We look for people with heart and a desire to help others and less for the technical skills because those can all be taught and acquired through ongoing training. We want to surround ourselves and grow our brands with people who want to serve the communities they live in and provide compassion combined with outstanding customer service.
Additionally, we have a commitment to hiring veterans, who see service-based franchising as an attractive option for a post-service career where they can continue to help their communities. The truth is that we consider it to be an honor to welcome these heroes into the BELFOR Family.
FC: What can a BFG franchisee expect from a “day-in-the-life”?
DS: To put it simply, every day is different. We offer them the autonomy to run the business as they wish, which means they can hold on to the scheduling flexibility they may have grown accustomed to with remote work.
However, there are clear processes, systems and guidelines in place that help them manage their daily operations and stay on a growth trajectory. Typically, franchisees must follow a set of uniform guidelines when making decisions related to customer service, marketing, office design, product purchases, equipment and employment. This systematic approach has proven successful for many years while still allowing business owners the freedom to build a team, manage their customers and handle other aspects of their business in a way that reflects their personalities and values and makes their business their own.
FC: What are the benefits of joining a franchise within a larger operating company?
DS: To answer the question with a question: why be in business by yourself when you can own and operate a business as part of the BELFOR Global family of related businesses? Franchisees that join BFG are greeted with support, guidance and expertise to ensure that their businesses start strong and continue to flourish. Our franchises all have meaningful brand recognition, as well as reputations for being trusted leaders in the service, cleaning, maintenance, and restoration industries. This is an attribute that normally takes time (and money) to cultivate and helps our franchisees attract clients so they can get their businesses up and running more quickly.
We believe that we’re stronger as a team and we’re committed to helping entrepreneurs build successful, highly-rated local businesses through our strong franchise models. In turn, we empower our franchisees to achieve their goal of owning and growing a successful business without the risks associated with starting from scratch.