Construction and home contractors haven’t received a standing ovation or coverage of human interest on the news, but labeled “Essential Business” have advanced many such franchises in 2020.
Kelsey Stuart, co-founder and CEO of Bloomin ‘Blinds, said the status was a silver lining in a very chaotic year.
“W.We were lucky enough to be seen as essential, ”said Stuart. “We went through all state and local regulations and in most cases construction or housekeeping services were deemed essential. We had a few operators in San Francisco hit and a few others had a softer schedule, but most of our operators were with the authority of the essential services out there. “
Like almost everyone except grocery stores and pizza, he said March was terrible and April was soft, but business has been buzzing ever since. Customers called Bloomin ‘Blinds, a company that primarily owns, operates and private individuals, either for new window treatments or to fix their broken blinds – a niche that Stuart says is a major setback for the company during recession or turbulent times. Across the board, customers simply had plenty of time to sit and look out the windows.
“Everyone was home, now you have people at home who have time for projects, and now we stare and think we’re making some progress. Plus, all of that unspent disposable income, all of your travel budget, vacations and summer camps – all of the money that is normally spent on summer and vacations is being postponed, ”said Stuart. “There was a lot more disposable income that was used for home improvement.”
At Bloomin ‘Blinds, he said sales had increased 60 percent by 2020, and that January was his biggest month ever. This is part of the beauty of the service category, especially repair, a specialty of the company that sets the brand apart from the rest of the window segment. When people are faced with uncertainty or economic fears, they switch to “repair mode”.
There was also a lot less shopping.
“Even at the height of COVID and all the questions that came with it, people felt very comfortable in their home. When they went out, they felt very uncomfortable. We set up a virtual consultation process, we set everything up, but we found that consumers are letting people into their homes, but less, ”said Stuart. When they got the call, they were usually the only command. “We typically have a 75 percent graduation rate. In COVID it’s almost 90 percent because people don’t shop that much. “
Focused on robust technology tools, marketing, the company was the “non-contractor” compared to the stereotypical butt crack and stretch t-shirt contractor. Little things like a laser measuring device that feeds data into a tablet and an appealing virtual lookbook about what new blinds would look like didn’t hurt either.
“It’s amazing how much people love to see this laser,” said Stuart. “It’s incredibly efficient for us, but people love it, they want you to measure from the back of the house to the front, from here to there.”
Another advantage of being an essential company: Interest in starting a franchise market is growing, as has been seen in recent economic downturns. Bloomin ‘Blinds, a franchise network of 58 owners and 68 territories, has just signed three more home-based franchisees for the low-investment business. The upfront cost is between $ 38,495 and $ 117,425, including a franchise fee of $ 25,000 to $ 48,500. The average gross sales to franchisees in an area in 2019 was $ 227,974.