Why an Innovative Franchise Can Thrive in Any Economy: A Q&A with Bryan Park of Footprints Flooring
If you possess an entrepreneurial spirit and prefer being your own boss, starting a business when the economy is thriving is something of a no-brainer. But what about investing in a franchise when the economy is more uncertain? With all the news about a recession potentially looming on the horizon, should you wait to take that next step into entrepreneurial freedom until the market stabilizes?
According to Footprints Floors Founder and CEO, Bryan Park, not necessarily. A man who chose to launch his Christian, home-improvement franchise in December of 2008 — arguably the worst month of the Great Recession — Bryan understands the issue better than most.
For some helpful context, at the time Bryan made the decision to build a faith-based business of his own, he, his eight-and-one-half-month-pregnant wife, a 2-year-old toddler, four dogs, and four cats shared the cozy environs of an 800-square-foot-home. What’s more, he’d accrued $40,000 in credit card debt after six months of working without pay. Facing dire circumstances that might deter anyone else, Bryan recognized his pioneering flooring business model’s tremendous potential and jumped into Footprints Floors with both feet.
Fifteen years later Footprints Floors continues to thrive, with more than 100 Christian Franchise territories across the country. Leveraging the lessons he learned to survive a nasty recession, Bryan built a solid, recession-resistant franchise business model, so he knows a thing or two about mitigating risk, minimizing potential losses, and driving Franchise Owner success in any economic environment.
Given his significant expertise, we sat down with Bryan to discuss the recession-resilient blueprint of the unique Footprints Floors franchise model, as well as the flooring industry’s overall performance during times of economic volatility. Here’s what he had to say:
“Q: As a Franchisor, what are your thoughts on the state of our economy and where it seems to be heading?
A: Bryan Park: “Inflation is real and unemployment issues are also happening, so I think it’s equal parts that and equal parts perception— perception is reality. I believe the general population is reacting adversely to the current economy, looking for hope and reasons to believe that we’ve turned a corner, but I’m not sure we’re there yet.“ With that said, Footprints’ franchise model is uniquely set to weather these kinds of storms. We don’t have brick-and-mortar stores, we don’t have overhead, and we don’t need staff, so we can just rise up and down with the economic tide. But people always need floors. That means we’re a necessity — not a luxury — so it’s not something we fret about.
“In fact, in August of 2022 we set a revenue record and we also hit a record for the most estimates scheduled in a month. That’s significant for us because it’s representative of what the general population is doing. Are they still calling us, or are they shutting down? And we just set a record, so people are still calling.”
Q: Footprints Floors got its start during one of the biggest financial crises in U.S. history, the Great Recession of 2008. Can you tell us how you found success in a time of serious financial hardship?
A: Bryan Park: “Since I built the faith-based business during a recession, all of our fundamental, core concepts have been built around that ability to grow and shrink along with the economy. Overhead is so low for our Franchise Owners — the biggest expenses are labor and material per job, but we’re not paying those out unless we’re doing work.”
Q: What do you feel makes Footprints Floors a recession-resilient franchise?
A: Bryan Park: “Not only do we not have overhead as far as locations or staff, but the biggest expenses on our balance sheet are labor paid to the crews and material purchases for jobs. But if there’s no work, there are no expenses. It’s the same for marketing costs, our third biggest expense, which vary as we pay per lead — no leads, no costs. We’re about as bulletproof as it gets.”
“But even beyond our business model, flooring itself — especially residential flooring — is also bulletproof, unlike new home construction and commercial buildings, which tend to be very dependent on the economy. When the economy’s doing well, huge commercial builds go up but then shrink when the economy does, and loans are harder to get. Homeowners, on the other hand, move up into bigger houses when the economy is booming, but when the economy is stagnant, they stay put. That means people update their current homes, so they’re really always updating. Ultimately, we’re not hit that hard.”
Q: We’re still seeing the effects of the Great Resignation. Can you share some success stories of Franchise Owners who quit the corporate grind to follow their business ownership dream?
A: Bryan Park: “I think people are holding onto their jobs because the economic impact of COVID made them nervous about losing their jobs. After the downturn we saw a gigantic uptick in Franchise development growth. As people start getting laid off again, we would expect to see a pretty significant upswing in prospective Franchise Owners. That’s because if they get let go from their job, they have a decision to make: Do they go back to the same thing, sit in a cubicle, and just wait until they get laid off again? Or do they finally take ownership of their career path and invest in a franchise? That’s the dilemma people face, and I think many people choose to invest in themselves and start a business.”
Q: Finally, what should someone considering a Footprints Floors Franchise expect during their first year in business?
A: Bryan Park: “The first year of owning a Footprints Floors franchise is an exciting adventure. It’s like drinking from a water hose — learning an entirely new career, trade, and way of living. Not only are you losing your old salary, but you’re also learning how to live on commission. It’s hard, but you’re really laying the foundation for the future, and I think that’s the attitude people need to come in with. They need to be able to think, ‘It’s going to be a hard year and I’m going to struggle. I’ll have some bad days, and I’m probably going to make less money than I’m used to while working harder than I’m used to, but it’s all for future growth. It’ll all be worth it. I’ve just got to get there.’”
Incredibly proud of Footprints Floors’ exponential growth and of Franchise Owner success, Bryan is looking forward to discovering more like-minded individuals eager to expand the Christian franchise’s footprint even farther across the nation.
Quick Facts about the Flooring Industry
As one of only a handful of industries to thrive throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the home services sector continues to attract interested business investors no matter the state of the economy. The following statistics illustrate the home services market’s strength and resilience:
- During the third quarter of 2020, the Home Improvement Remodeler Index (RMI) rose to 82, indicating homeowners’ sharp focus on the importance of their homes to support both work and family life during the pandemic.
- The pandemic also increased the demand for home services, with 76% of respondents to a Statista survey noting that they performed at least one home improvement project in 2020 — 58% of which involved interior renovations.
- Currently valued at $380 billion, the home improvement industry is expected to reach $454.6 billion by the conclusion of 2023.
- Approximately 80% of the nation’s 137 million homes are now at least 20 years old and 40% are at least 50 years old. Naturally, older homes require greater remodeling services.
- Homebuyer spending on home improvements over the past year (2022) was nearly double the median spend for 2021, according to Houzz.
The Bottom Line
There’s simply no such a thing as a “safe” time to invest — in either the stock market or in a franchise. As with most matters of consequence, the decision to become a business owner does carry some degree of risk, as there will always be factors beyond your control. And chief among those influences is the health of the economy, so the decision to wait who knows how long for a market rebound is just as risky. So, would you rather chance missing out on achieving your dream of entrepreneurial freedom for what could be years of hapless waiting? Or would you prefer to invest in a flooring franchise business with a proven record of success and growth during not one but two periods of great economic hardship?
Investing in a Christian franchise like Footprints Floors gives you the potential to fulfill your dream of entrepreneurship without the sky-high investment associated with franchise opportunities in other sectors. With little overhead, no payroll, no costs for equipment or materials, and no need to lease office or warehouse space, you can invest in a Footprints Floors Franchise for as little as $78,505. And given Franchise Owners’ 2022 average gross profit of $247,619 , the potential to realize a quick return on your financial investment is profoundly high.
What’s more, the flooring industry is still RED HOT. As a dragging housing inventory forces more people to buy older homes, the demand for quality floor renovation services will continue to increase. The need for floors will never wane, and homeowners will always look for faith-based companies built on foundations of outstanding customer service, affordability, and quality results. Footprints Floors delivers all three!
Make today the day you turn your dream of entrepreneurship into a reality. Visit the Footprints Floors Franchise website to learn more about this incredible flooring franchise business opportunity.