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After the Air Force Academy, back in Denver and newly married, Bryan Park and his new wife came home from dinner and saw that their puppy had eaten all the carpet. A flooring company came to install floors and Park asked about working there. Bryan worked with that company for 2 years, until he was let go in 2008 during the recession.
Bryan borrowed money from his father in law and started going door to door marketing his own flooring business, Footprints Floors. His father in law’s neighbor gave him a large job and he invested that money into marketing. In his first year he did over $500K.
FPF blew past its ambitious development goal of 40 new franchises in 2020, signing agreements for 64 new franchise territories for the year. 64 new franchises would be an eye-popping number for most brands in any year, but in 2020, a year defined by a global health crisis that all but shut down vast swaths of the economy, it’s nothing short of astounding.
Despite the brand’s strong performance in 2020, it’s already beating last year’s systemwide sales numbers with $4,380,829 in Q1 of 2021 vs. $4,156,135 in Q4 of 2020.
What You’ll Learn in This Episode
- New growth for Footprints Floors
- Future plans
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Speaker1: [00:00:07] Welcome to Franchise Marketing Radio, brought to you by CEO Sambor comprehensive high performing marketing solutions for mature and emerging franchise brands. To supercharge your franchise marketing, go to CEO Sambar Dotcom. That’s CEO S.A.M. Bay Dotcom.
Speaker2: [00:00:32] Lee Kanter here another episode of Franchise Marketing Radio, and this is going to be a good one. Today we have with us Bryant Park with Footprint’s Flor’s. Welcome Brian.
Speaker3: [00:00:42] Hi. Thanks for having me on.
Speaker2: [00:00:44] Well, I’m excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us a little bit about footprint’s floors. How are you certain, folks?
Speaker3: [00:00:51] We are a full service residential flooring company, so we install tile, hardwood laminate, AVP. We do it all. And we have gone national in the last couple of years and have grown extremely quickly. And we’re in 34 states and 140 markets now.
Speaker2: [00:01:10] Tell us about the beginning before. Did you always intend to be a franchise or was that something that just kind of organically evolved?
Speaker3: [00:01:19] I was very organic, we really had no intention from day one of franchising, I was in the Air Force and after I got out of the Air Force, I was just trying to figure out what to do and kind of stumbled into flooring. And I guess that’s a funny story. I was trying to find a job and my wife and I were newlyweds and in our early 20s and just trying to figure out what to do. And we had gone out to dinner one night and came home and we had three puppies because that’s what normal people do. They get three puppies. And our puppies had eaten our carpet while we were gone. They just shredded it and tore up the pad and it was just confetti all over the house. We hired a foreign company to come in, replace carpet, and I was watching that guy install and it looked like I could do it. I was still skinnier back then. And so I called up that company and actually started installing and sanding hardwood floors for them. And that’s how I got into the flooring. But yeah, really, from there, it was all about feeding my family.
Speaker3: [00:02:17] We had two young girls and I was just I was really just a floor guy. But we we stumbled on some stuff in the market in Denver. That’s where I started the company. And really over the next kind of five or eight years of starting the business, we we grew and quickly took over the Denver market. And it was really based on just taking care of customers. Just just show up and do what you say you’re going to do, call people back. It’s it’s pretty basic things, but things that are are really missing from the flooring industry, construction as a whole, the flooring specifically as well. And because we I kind of figured out some of the key things, it just organically evolved into, let’s go into some other states, we’ve got some we’ve got something here that’s that’s worthwhile and is a great living. Let’s let’s share it with more people. So we franchised a couple of years ago and moved in that direction. But yeah, that the roots are definitely me, me just stand still. And that’s that’s what it was.
Speaker2: [00:03:16] So now when you went from working for somebody else in flooring, what was kind of the catalyst to say, you know what, I’m going to do this on my own? Were you frustrated by the way they were doing it? Did you see there was just more opportunity? If you can just do everything yourself? Like what? What was kind of made you feel confident to take that leap into being an entrepreneur?
Speaker3: [00:03:37] I would I actually believe in take the leap, I was more or less forced into it. It was two thousand eight. I’d worked for this company as a foreign company, the one that had done my floors for a couple of years and had moved up. And I enjoyed the industry. But even in those early days, I was still thinking I was going to go be a civil engineer or something, and foreign aid was just a way to get there. But in 2008, economy crashes. I went six months that year, not getting paid as a W2 employee and they were not able to pay their employees. So we were all just working for free, hoping someday that they would pay us back and. In November of that year, so November of 08, they sat me and a couple other guys down at an Arby’s of all places, and let us go, they just said, sorry, we don’t have the money. Best of luck to you. We’re like, you owe us money. And they’re like, yeah, good, good luck. So that was that was my rude awakening into trying to figure out what to do. And I had a two year old daughter and my wife was eight months pregnant and I needed to figure out how to pay the bills and the. The work landscape, those days were not ideal, and in construction, December of 08, probably the worst month ever, have a donkey next to me. So, yes, that’s an actual donkey.
Speaker2: [00:04:59] Look, you got to get, you know, your teammates from where we can find them.
Speaker3: [00:05:02] So now we get back in my car and keep going. All of a sudden, yeah, the summer of 08, I was forced into figuring out what to do. So we started footprint’s for my wife and I. She answered the phones and and built out the website. And as she’s juggling to a toddler and our second daughter was born in February of 09. So, yeah. So I for the first two months, we don’t have any work. I walked neighborhoods and put flyers on doors. My father, my brother in law helped me do that. And we went to months of no money and no income and no nothing and just trying to figure it out. Obviously, lots of kind of tense conversations with my wife. She’s telling me, go get a job at Home Depot or something, just something hourly that to pay the bills. And I’m sitting there like, this is going to work. It’s going to be great. And in February of 09, we did our first job. And so for those first maybe six months, I worked six and a half, two days a week doing estimates and getting home at 10:00 at night and just making it happen really built the business out of my garage. And so, yeah, I don’t think I would have the energy today to to pull it off. But those days I was able to do it. So now.
Speaker2: [00:06:14] Yeah. And and when and when your family’s livelihoods on the line, it’s extra incentive to really kind of put the hammer down and do what you got to do.
Speaker3: [00:06:23] Yeah. What are your other options at that point? I think there was a single worst month since the Great Depression to start a business than December of 08, and that’s when we started this company.
Speaker2: [00:06:34] So then when you started doing that and you started getting clients, at what point did you go? You know what? I think the way we’re doing things is a little different. And it might be something that I can help somebody else get into this kind of business without some of the pain that I had when I first started.
Speaker3: [00:06:53] Yeah, we from day one, it was my intention and I learned some of it when I was with the previous company, but we market you know, we started marketing. That was me walking, walking neighborhoods, putting flyers on doors. And that’s not really something that’s common in construction. Most guys, it’s almost like this pride, like, oh, I don’t need the market. I I’m a referral based business. I find all my work, you know, word of mouth for free. And that’s great. But my philosophy is you get more referrals when you have more customers. So let’s let’s do marketing and get a whole bunch of customers coming through in that way. And then those are going to lead to referrals and previous customers. The more work you do, the more referrals you get. And so it’s it’s always it’s almost like fuel for a machine when you market let’s put some gas in this thing and get it going. And then the referrals and previous customers, assuming you’re taking care of your customers, those referrals will come. And that was really my philosophy from day one and. And it’s just in sales and really taking kind of next level sales thoughts and techniques and applying them to an industry where, you know, to spend an hour with the customer and learning about their lives, that’s that’s amazing.
Speaker3: [00:08:02] It’s it’s different because most of our competition, they just show up and spend 12 minutes, like, what’s the room? OK, I’ll let you know. I’m done by there’s just no investigation. There’s no figuring out what’s actually important to this customer. And so those were principles from day one that we implemented. And just these simple I mean, explaining it to him on the over the phone right now makes it sound like it should be pretty common sense. But for some reason, construction just doesn’t do it. And so that’s a lot of how we took over the industry in Denver so quickly as we just took care of customers, we just treated them like people and yeah, and then taking those same techniques and teaching others to do the same, you know, just take your time with your customers and serve them. It’s not about serving you. It’s about serving them. Just that mentality is has really blossomed and allowed us to grow like we have now.
Speaker2: [00:08:53] Are you finding your ideal franchisee or is it someone that’s in the construction industry or do you purposely not want someone there that has bad habits? Maybe they learned from their, you know, life in the construction industry.
Speaker3: [00:09:06] Yeah, we’re really looking for people that are teachable. So we do have a handful that have construction backgrounds, but they’re teachable. But of our 70 something owners, like five have construction backgrounds and the other sixty five not. So that’s I wouldn’t necessarily say we’re targeting non construction people, but that seems to be who’s coming through the door. And we love it because, you know, I’ve always said I can teach adults about Hardwell. You know, if somebody knows how to show up and call people back on time, I can teach about art, which only takes, you know, a few months to get that kind of stuff. It’s it’s not that hard. But I can’t take a hard wood guy and teach them how to be an adult. Meaning if they don’t know how to show up and call people back and be responsible and run bank accounts and those kinds of things. And, you know, it might be too late if they’re in their 40s and 50s to to teach them. So I yeah, but that’s really my philosophy. I just I want people that are teachable and that are that are willing and eager to learn. And and we’ve had a lot of success with that.
Speaker2: [00:10:07] Now over the years of doing this kind of work, interviewing business leaders like I have, I got the chance to interview a large franchise or and that’s known for their customer service, which is a lot different than other food service franchises. And they told me when they hire their workers, they look for people who naturally smile. And with the same thinking that I can’t teach someone had to smile at someone. So I’d rather start with someone who’s a natural smiler, and then I’ll work the rest, I’ll teach them the other stuff.
Speaker3: [00:10:45] Yeah, that’s a great parallel to exactly what we look for.
Speaker2: [00:10:50] Now, when you started franchising, was it hard for you to kind of get the first ones or did that was that organic that people saw what your work was in Denver and said, hey, I’m moving to Michigan? And I think that I’d like to start one here. Like, how did you get there? Early, early franchisees.
Speaker3: [00:11:10] The early we have four in Colorado that are alongside me, so I’m kind of the fifth one and the other four were all organic, really kind of friends and people I ran into. So there was no recruiting. It was just a friend on the softball team and his cousin and then an actual customer that we were doing flowers for. Like, tell me about this thing you’re doing. So you joined us and then one of his crews was the fourth guy. So it was very organic. And really that was that all started kind of 12, 13. So seven or eight years ago. And we filled out Colorado quickly, which is the front range kind of from Cheyenne to Pueblo that that area. And really from there, the plan was to not go out of state like I got I got four guys. I’m still running Denver to make good money. This is a great setup we’ve got. But then after doing that for about five years with those guys, that’s we really developed the system from there and and figured out how we could actually take this out of state. We’ve got a lot of resources and a lot of things figured out. So let’s let’s try it. So we hired a kind of a third party company to be our our sales arm of the franchising side. And we greenlit them in spring of nineteen. And they they they started recruiting people out of state. Really my philosophy my idea was every franchise owner I’ve added was somebody I knew. So what I got to go live and others say
Speaker2: [00:12:39] I’m going to have to move 20 times to cover this country
Speaker3: [00:12:43] All over the place is may take forever. I didn’t really even know brokers existed again. I’ve just started with guys from what are brokers. So learning about all that, like, oh, man, I just like this whole industry that’s built to grow these things. So once I figured that out, we got connected with the right people and invested a bunch of money. It was able to go out of state. Finally saw our first out-of-state guy was in June of nineteen and Dallas and then. Yeah. So almost two years ago and we’ve gone from so that was five. So he was six and now we’re at nineteen seventy two so that at sixty six and less than two years.
Speaker2: [00:13:21] And then so that third party was kind of the, the gas on the fire there.
Speaker3: [00:13:28] They’re phenomenal, it’s a company called Rain Tree, they’re based out of Denver, but they serve a lot of different franchise organizations and I guess it’s kind of a funny story. I went to the interview them to see if they were going to be worth my time. And they were in this high rise in Denver. And I do the elevator thing in the conference room overlooking the scene. I quickly figured out that they were actually interviewing me, not the other way around, like they were trying to serve if I was worth their time. But, yeah, they they came out of that meeting saying this this is going to be huge. This is going to be awesome. We’ve been looking for something they said. We’ve been looking for somebody like you for for ten years. This is going to be great. So I said, OK, like, I guess I believe you. And we went from there. But they’ve been phenomenal. They they take the whole front end. So they do all the marketing, they have all the initial sales conversations. And they they do a great job of educating and bringing potential owners through the process and getting them up to speed before they really start talking to me.
Speaker2: [00:14:28] And so that way you’re only talking to the people that you should be talking to. Not every single person that’s just kicking tires.
Speaker3: [00:14:37] Exactly. Yeah, we’re I’m kind of the the last 10 percent of the process.
Speaker2: [00:14:41] So now how do you see the growth continuing? Is it just give Braintree more kind of permission to just keep going boldly forward or you have an additional kind of marketing plans? Or is it just keep doing what you’re doing?
Speaker3: [00:14:56] Think would just keep doing what we’re doing or we’ll ride this train. As far as it goes, we we’re not even halfway. So we have four hundred and three territories available in the United States and we’re at like one hundred and forty. So we’ve got we’ve got a ways to go. So we anticipate growth for a while longer and then we’ll come up with a new plan once we once we hit that.
Speaker2: [00:15:18] And then for the folks out there that are listening that are considering this, well, how would you kind of paint that ideal person? Is it someone that just was laid off or is it someone, whether some of the characteristics of a good footprint’s Flor’s person?
Speaker3: [00:15:36] We’re looking for people that are that are eager and excited to to be their own boss and to set their own schedules, it’s excellent money. It can be stressful, though. Construction has some stressful days. So it’s it’s you got to want it. You know, this isn’t something that you just sit back and do nothing and money. I’m really not sure what that is. You do nothing and make money and sign me up. But really, I think people underestimate how difficult being a business owner can be. And it’s not just with footprints, floors. It’s owning a restaurant. It’s anything so. So that, I would say is a big treat. But then it’s a very people oriented position. It’s it’s in home sales. So it’s meeting, meeting people and then managing crews. And there’s there’s a lot of talking, a lot of people interaction. So it’s somebody that it’s outgoing and but also competitive and and eager to to kind of win because that’s what it is. You know, it’s a competitive industry.
Speaker2: [00:16:34] Now, when they’re the footprints, floors, a franchisee, are they typically this is all their eggs are in this basket or do they have several franchises? And this is just one of the complimentary services when they’re serving a home, that they have kind of a franchise empire around the home. And this is just one of the elements or they kind of a pretty much a footprint’s floors.
Speaker3: [00:16:55] Only now we expect them to be with us full time. So I’d be you know, they might have a parallel business, maybe a real estate or something like that or their flippers or something. But for the most part, it’s it’s a full time job. And we that’s who’s proven to be very successful.
Speaker2: [00:17:12] So they’re kind of owner operators. They’re not somebody who owns several locations and they’re managers and.
Speaker3: [00:17:19] Now they can be both, so we have a lot of owners, pretty much all of them start out as owner operator, so it’s day one. They’re out doing estimates and selling jobs. Once they sell a job, they find subcontractors, which always sounds scary, but it ends up not being that tough to do. And then they execute their job and manage the job. We ask them or expect them to be at the job sites each day as customer service, and then they collect final check from the homeowner and then they repeat that process as many times as possible. Footprint’s floors, corporate. We actually turn on and do all of their marketing for them. And so we effectively get the phone to ring and then we actually answer the phone for them. So we have a full staff who answers all the phones and they’re putting the estimates on the owners schedules for them. And that’s really the beginning of their process. Once that’s what’s on their schedule, they drive to the house and they fulfill that that process. So to go back to answer your question, yeah. Its owner operator up front, but then over time they can start to add staff and develop. We have plenty of multiunit owners that own two, three, four different territories. I own four territories in Denver and I have 11 people on my staff. So if they have four, there’s there’s a long runway in front of them with with high revenue numbers, if they’re good at it.
Speaker2: [00:18:41] Good stuff. Well, congratulations on all the success if somebody wants to learn more about the opportunity, what’s the website footprint’s Forbes.com? Well, it’s an amazing story, Brian. It should be really proud of yourself. And the impact you’re having in the communities you serve is real. And we appreciate you.
Speaker3: [00:19:00] Yeah, it’s been a fun ride. I got a long ways to go, so thank you for having me on here.
Speaker2: [00:19:05] All right. This is Lee Kantaras here. Next time on Franchise Marketing Radio.