Franchises off some alluring benefits to HVAC professionals just starting off, but not all brands are created equal. Is joining on truly the best move for your business, or could you earn better growth through other means?
Jason and Nolen reveal a true tale of a heating and cooling contractor thrust into this difficult choice. Be sure to listen in if you’ve considered joining a franchise.
Helpful Lessons for HVAC Professionals
- The main value of franchise marketing is brand recognition.
- Franchise marketing doesn’t work if your community isn’t familiar with the brand your company operates under.
- Always check to see if the franchise already ranks well organically!
Joining a Franchise
Starting an heating and cooling company is tough work! Raising it off the ground into a developed brand is an even more difficult task, with many professionals never overcoming the challenge. That’s what makes joining a franchise such an enticing solution for HVAC professionals.
By taking on the name and guidance of a parent brand, they gain access to certain marketing perks that could help them earn more leads.
Joining a Franchise: The Pros
Brand recognition is huge when it comes to online marketing. When people search your brand directly in Google, their odds of converting into customers jumps way up over keyword searches. Many fresh-faced contractors are particularly keen to win that recognition when they sign up as a franchisee.
In addition to this brand access, many franchises offer specialized marketing tools for connecting with potential leads. These may include email templates, physical collateral (like pamphlets), and other digital marketing resources. This makes it easier for technicians who have little to no experience with advertising online.
The Costs of Franchising
Joining a Franchise: The Cons
First, franchise brands take a percentage of your income. That money typically doesn’t come out after taxes either; it comes from your gross profits. This means tens of thousands of dollars withdrawn every year. You’ll feel the loss during seasons of aggressive growth, and you’ll definitely notice it during slow seasons.
Parent brands also exercise significant control over their franchisees. This could mean your company is obligated to only work with certain marketing agencies, or that you have to pay fees for help from the parent brand. It might seem like a lot of money, but it could add up over time.
Franchising Decision Time
The guiding principle and goal behind franchising is to strengthen the overarching brand while providing better sales for the ground level contractors. In theory, an HVAC professional who becomes a franchisee should earn more money than they did before because people are comfortable with the brand. This natural raises a crucial question:
What if no one is familiar with the franchise brand?
If no one in your community recognizes the brand you’ve associated your services with, then they have no built up trust with that name. Even worse, that means that the brand has little-to-no organic presence in local search. If homeowners and commercial clients can’t even find your website, then how are they going to hire your services?
Adding to this concern is the fact that many franchises tightly control who you can use for your online marketing services. If they have a preferred (mandatory) partnership with an ineffective marketing agency, that could leave you stuck with mediocre results for the long-term. Now, all these concerns may be for naught if your franchising company is a household name, but then you’d also be paying more for the franchise rights each year.
Is Joining a Franchise Worth It?
If you can secure a relationship with a widely known brand at a decent profit percentage, joining a franchise may be worth it. If the company that you’re considering doesn’t have brand recognition (in your area) or strong local rankings, then there’s no reason to join them. You could do better on your own with an optimized website, consistent reviews, and citations! Google prefers showing local businesses anyway, meaning you have a great chance of winning quality search ranks.
Looking to Grow Organically?
If you want to grow your own business and keep your profits, then local search optimization is the way to go. Our team at HVAC Webmasters would love to support your business with optimized web design, professional writing, and powerful reputation management. We’ve helped countless professionals earn page 1 rankings and dominate local search!
To learn more about online marketing, or to consult with an expert and see if joining a franchise is right for you, call us at (800) 353-3409.