ONE: We know the downfalls of being a garage floor coatings franchise – we used to be one of them!
Dave and I used to own PremierGarage franchises in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Firsthand, we saw the issues with trying to homogenize ourselves into the franchise networks approach to garage floor coatings operations. Nearly every one of the garage franchises who claim to be the experts or the premier choice create a bi-polar environment of trying to be “coatings experts” and “cabinet experts” and “organization experts” and so on. The operational staff is always trying to wear different hats – they lack focus and expertise in any area of the business.
TWO: We have more experience than any garage makeover franchise in Maryland, Pennsylvania or Virginia!
Some of the supposed "garage experts" are so new that our most junior staff has 2x to 4x more experience than the franchise’s “senior” garage coatings staff. Some of the closet franchises who feature garage coatings are pushing hard to sell franchises around the country. We are seeing these franchises pop up in Harrisburg, Baltimore, Philadelphia, State College, etc.
So, if you hire them, you are getting a garage coating applied by persons who either went to the 1-2 weeks of training or, worse yet, was trained by the managers who have only those 1 -2 weeks of corporate training. Making things even worse is that corporate training takes place in California or Arizona where conditions are more stable year round. Their training does not include how to deal with summer’s heat & humidity, winter’s cold floors, or grinding open the harder concrete that exists here.
I’d be willing to bet that you could add up all of the “years” of coatings experience of the garage coatings franchises Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia and their sum would not be close to ours.
THREE: We did the floor coatings for some of these franchises!
In Maryland and Virginia, we performed the floor coatings installations for two of the garage floor franchises. These two franchises decided to concentrate on the garage (and closet) organization sides of their business and leave the floor coatings to us. They realized that their inexperience and organization focus would only get them into trouble when trying to do the garage floors themselves. Unfortunately for these franchises, one went out of business and the other is now trying to do coatings on their own (after utilizing our services for over 3 years).
FOUR: Our experience and training is broader than a garage makeover franchise!
We didn’t just get some quick, corporate training and then become coating experts. We have experience with thousands of garage floors, millions of square feet of commercial floor coatings and training/experience with dozens of major polymer coatings manufacturers.
Our selection of our prime coatings vendors is based upon over a decade of testing, industry insight and systems performance. We are not blindly using the newest, greatest thing sold to a corporate figurehead who knows nothing about polymer coating systems.
FIVE: We are not limited to the coatings system picked by a Franchisor who knows nothing of the mid-Atlantic region!
We live here. We work here. We coat here. So we picked our coating systems to perform HERE!
Back in 2005, while we were still a garage coatings franchise, we were told to switch to a new chemical system by our corporate franchisor. The hoopla that surrounded this switch was enourmous. We all went to Phoenix to see this great new system applied and it worked great.
THEN… We came back to our July humidity. And this new system failed repeatedly for every franchisee in higher humidity environments. No one on the Franchisor side could see beyond the lab and Phoenix testing. It took years to get it right and caused a LOT of upset customers (not to mention the upset franchisees).
That same franchisor repeated the mistakes around 2009. They ignored the advice & guidance of their Franchise Advisory Council and their own internal coatings managers. They picked a vendor based upon the special deal and expected marketing uplift. This mistake continued a downslide in franchises and was one of the major factors for our terminating our franchise contract.
ADD UP THE REASONS – THEN ASK THESE QUESTIONS
So, be careful when you are looking for a garage floor coatings company. Ask:
1) How many years has THEIR business installed its own coatings?
2) How much experience does their staff have with coatings system they are using?
3) How many garage floors have they coated? How many square feet?
4) Do they have experience with applying their garage floor coating system in the high humidity & heat of summer or the deep cold of winter?
5) Are garage floor coating their main company activity?
FYI – here is our answers to the above questions as of March 2015.
1) We have been installing garage floor coatings since August, 2004.
2) Our senior staff has been here since 2004 – 2007.
3) We have coated over 6,000 garage floors. That’s over 4.5 million square feet of coatings applied in garages.
4) We have special versions of our chemicals and special processes that allow us to coat year round. Our fleet of box trucks is setup to assist with the extreme weather conditions.
5) Garage floor coatings make the bulk of the coatings we apply. We only install concrete floor coatings. We don’t install garage cabinets, wall organizers or closet organization systems.
Why do you think several franchises of California Closets and Closet Factory in the mid-Atlantic region partner with us to install complete garage makeovers?
Mike Mincemoyer is the President of Stronghold Floors. As a former PremierGarage franchise owner and former head of the Franchise Advisory Council on Garage Floor Coatings, he has personal insights into the pros and cons of being a franchise owner.