From Owning a Christian Boarding School to Starting a Flooring Business- Meet the Brandons!
Some of our top Franchise Owners had no intention of starting a flooring business before discovering the Footprints Floors opportunity. They were drawn to us by the lifestyle our flooring franchise can provide and the common values we share. This is especially true for two of our newest Owners, Bob and Susan Brandon from Springfield, Missouri. The Brandons were looking for two things in their life: “flexibility and freedom.” They found that, and more with Footprints Floors. As their son Shea gets set to take on the day-to-day operations of their new territory in the Ozarks, the Brandons took the time to share their personal journey with us and let us know why starting a flooring business was right for them.
Looking For a New Legacy
Bob and Susan Brandon have devoted the past twelve years of their lives to serving others in their Christian boarding school. “For the past 12 years, we have owned and operated a Christian boarding school for troubled boys on our 31 acres in Southwest Missouri,” Susan says. “Bob was also a public-school teacher and football/track coach and then taught in a large co-ed boarding school. In between those two jobs, he installed kitchen cabinets.” Their ministry is a labor of love, but it’s demanding work that doesn’t allow them any downtime. As rewarding as it may be, the Brandons are ready for a new season of life that gives them more time for their personal lives, family, children, and grandchildren.
So, the Brandons started looking for a new business. One they could still do together. Ideally, one they could pass on as a legacy for Shea and their other children. “We initially looked at a small drive-up convenience store. It looked like a great idea and is successful in the East. It sounded like fun!” Susan said.
It’s quite common for people to initially go for something that seems fun or relatable, such as a retail store or a restaurant, when considering business ownership. Fortunately for the Brandons, reality set in before they made the wrong financial commitment. “We quickly realized that this would require both very early and late hours, weekends, employees, a storefront, inventory, and more,” Bob said. “When we first began thinking of starting a new business, we expected to be doing all of the work, so we didn’t totally discount this kind of franchise.”
The Brandons needed less stress in their lives, not more. They turned to Franchise Connect Pro for some expert advice. “We connected with Sue Derene about this time and she was able to focus our minds on what we really wanted which was no storefront or inventory, 9-5 and Monday-Friday hours, and few or no employees,” Susan said.
“We had no idea anything like Footprints existed. We assumed it meant Bob would be out installing floors. We are thankful Sue kept steering us towards Footprints. She knew it really fit us before we did.”
Even with our growing popularity, Footprints is still something of an insider’s secret. If you aren’t tapped into the industry, you might not be aware of everything we have to offer. But Sue knew that starting a flooring business would be perfect for the Brandons.
“It allows us much more freedom and flexibility than what we currently have with the boarding school. We wanted a business without a storefront and low overhead. We wanted something our son could do with us and eventually take over,” Bob said.
Great Floors, Great Values
It isn’t easy to build a lasting business from scratch. Especially not if you plan to enjoy your life in the meantime. The Brandons needed to know exactly what starting a flooring business would mean for their lives, and if it would fit their values. They discussed this with our executive team during their Discovery Day.
“We knew we liked the business model and were optimistic about our prospects as owners. So, meeting Brian [Knuth, Franchise Development Director], Chris [Curtis, Franchise Development Manager], Jon [Jarvis, Director of Onboarding and Support], Rachel [Simpson, Director of Operations], etc was very reassuring,” Bob said. “We felt we are like-minded business-wise but also in our view of family and Christ-like servanthood.”
That’s pretty personal. But Footprints thrives because of the common values we share. Sometimes this is as simple as a mutual belief in hard work, good character, and excellent service. Other times, we get a little deeper.
The Brandons got to know who Footprints Floors Founder Bryan Park is, as an individual and a leader. “Bryan was open with us about his faith and his desire to be a servant to his family, his business, and the owners of all his franchises. That is the kind of man anyone should want to be working with. He is also obviously super competitive which in our minds is a plus,” Bob said.
Starting a Flooring Business With Strong Support
That’s pretty personal. But Footprints thrives because of the common values we share. Sometimes this is as simple as a mutual belief in hard work, good character, and excellent service. Other times, we get a little deeper. The Brandons got to know who Footprints Floors Founder Bryan Park is, as an individual and a leader. “Bryan was open with us about his faith and his desire to be a servant to his family, his business, and the owners of all his franchises. That is the kind of man anyone should want to be working with. He is also obviously super competitive which in our minds is a plus,” Bob said.
Bryan maintains close leadership over Footprints. He directs where this company is going while letting our passionate Franchise Owners handle the day-to-day aspect. And centralized corporate support keeps everything running smoothly. “The growth of Footprints Floors is phenomenal. We are excited to be getting in on this now. Specifically, the call center is not something we saw offered by any other franchises we looked at,” Susan said.
The Brandons had a few concerns about starting a flooring business. But understanding our comprehensive back-end support alleviated those. “The call center immediately stood out as something we would appreciate. The fact that the marketing is also taken care of is very important to us,” Bob said. “We are very impressed with the customer service aspect. We want to provide an exceptional service to homeowners and it seems that’s what Footprints Floors is all about.”
They don’t need construction, marketing, or customer service experience. Bob and Susan already have everything it takes to start a flooring business with our franchise system, and are ready to enjoy owning and operating a much more low-stress business than their previous position. “Running a boarding school for troubled kids is rough. We deal with families in crisis constantly. We did not work with underprivileged and abused kids but basically indulged children with parents who lack the basic parenting skills,” Susan reflected.
“These families are train wrecks and we mostly tried to stay out of the way of the train wreck and do what we could to change the lives of the boys. We feel that doing this work for as long as we have, disgruntled homeowners will be a breeze. Or if not easy, at least not anything we can’t handle.” She adds with a smile, “The homeowners don’t live on our property, right?”
Our Customer-First Approach
Footprints Floors has an excellent customer satisfaction track record. And our call center takes care of most of our Franchise Owners’ customer support. It’s just another thing the Brandons don’t have to worry about. We’ve thought of everything that goes into starting a flooring business, including things that may be intimidating.
“Finding crews was the one aspect that concerned us. We have always run our school without hiring people we didn’t know already and Bob is pretty hands-on,” Susan said. “We are not experienced with the interview process and are not super comfortable allowing others to dictate the success of our business. Having to hire crews is a little nerve-wracking because we are at their mercy to an extent.”
Fortunately for the Brandons and other new Franchise Owners, learning tips and tricks to hire quality subcontractor crews is just one of the many areas they’ll have support with along their journey. Starting a flooring business is unfamiliar territory for Bob and Susan, but Bryan Park perfected a system that we can plug any hardworking Franchise Owner into. “The fact that Bryan is also an owner of his own franchise was huge for us. When he reassures us that crews are not something we need to stress over, we can believe him because he has done it himself,” Bob said.
The challenges the Brandons have surmounted leave them well prepared for anything that starting a flooring business may bring. “Our business was pretty successful. For most of the 12 years, we had a waiting list. We did it all on our own and with very little advice or any mentors; not to mention a franchise to back us,” said Susan.
Time to Enjoy Life
Our team is dedicated to helping the Brandons start their new flooring business. It won’t take them long to get up and running and, with our famously flexible work schedule, Bob and Susan will finally have some time off. “Bob has worked every Sunday since we opened the school. We take the boarding schoolboys to church with us but he works all day after church, so we are not able to have family get-togethers on Sundays, or if we do, Bob isn’t able to come,” Susan said. “With eight children and 5 grandchildren, those Sunday family get-togethers are the one thing we plan to enjoy for sure!”
This is the Footprints Floors mission at its core: putting business ownership in reach for people with full and enriching lives. “Again, Bryan obviously puts his family first and his drive to succeed second. That doesn’t mean you can’t do both well and that’s what we intend to do,” said Bob. “We can’t wait to both be able to spend time together as a family but also run a successful and prosperous business.”
We’re proud to welcome the Brandons into the Footprints Floors family. They’re just some of the amazing people who are making this franchise thrive. Are you interested in starting a flooring business that doesn’t require you to generate your own leads, stock up on inventory, or hire employees? We’re still awarding great people with exclusive flooring franchise territories. If you’re driven to succeed and have an entrepreneurial mindset, you’ll fit right in. Take a look at our website for more information.