SuperGreen Solutions, a premium one-stop shop for all your energy efficiency needs, announced in April its plans to expand nationwide by offering franchise opportunities to qualified candidates. SuperGreen Solutions opened its first corporate-owned U.S. location in North Palm Beach, Florida in 2011. The store was a huge success and generated more than $775,000 in sales in its first eight months.
The store offers homeowners and businesses simple tools to understand and control their energy usage as well as energy efficient solutions including insulation, ventilation, skylights, solar power, solar hot water, and wind power.
SuperGreen Solutions is part of a joint venture with United Franchise Group (UFG), which is made up of five industry-leading franchise brands including SIGNARAMA, the world’s largest full-service sign business; EmbroidMe, the world’s largest embroidery franchise; Billboard Connection, a home-based advertising agency; Plan Ahead Events, a home-based event planning business; and TransWorld Business Advisors, a business brokerage and franchise development services firm.
Sean Cochrane, President of SuperGreen Solutions lends his expertise as an environmental leader with extensive knowledge about sustainability and energy efficiency. In 2011, Sean opened the flagship U.S. SuperGreen Solutions store in North Palm Beach, Florida, and quickly led it to tremendous financial success.
Sean holds a large number of accreditations and licenses. He is an Advisor to the Board of the DBA (Developers and Builders Alliance), is LEED trained, a USGBC (US Green Building Council) National Member, and has been awarded the designation of Certified Green Partner (CGP.) Sean has held multiple progressive Green Industry Board and Advisory positions, giving him instant name recognition in the green industry.
Franchise Chatter (FC): What is the concept behind SuperGreen Solutions?
Sean Cochrane (SC): SuperGreen Solutions is a unique one-stop energy efficient products store. Eighteen years ago when I went looking for solar power, efficient water heating, quality skylighting, ventilation and insulation products, I discovered that I could not find all the eco-friendly products I was looking for in one place. No one had reliable advice or could help me determine which rebates and tax credits applied to offset the cost of my purchase.
I also had to deal with several different tradesmen who did not necessarily share my penchant for using greener and more energy efficient products. Most of them weren’t even keen on fitting “those newfangled things.” So the need literally spawned the company. I have been in the green/eco-products industry since then.
FC: Where was the company formed? How big is the brand internationally? How has the concept been received in the U.S.?
SC: I started this business model in Australia. We added one store after another and I still own a store in Australia to this day. But after proving that the model worked Down Under, I set my sights on the USA, and formed a partnership with Ray Titus of the United Franchise Group. Eighteen months later, I moved to America and within six months, opened the first SuperGreen Solutions store in Florida.
It proved to be a solid model that worked extremely well here. Less than a year after coming to the United States, we are now franchising SuperGreen Solutions. During its first debut, we had 41 expressions of interest here, and others from around the globe.
FC: Who are the major competitors of SuperGreen Solutions? What is your competitive advantage over them?
SC: There is no other one-stop option like SuperGreen Solutions. Major home improvement stores sell some products, as do local plumbers and electricians. But no one else offers the wide range of energy efficient products combined with finance options and sound advice on rebates and incentive programs.
Anyone can sell you a hot water system, but with SuperGreen you get expert advice on how to size it correctly, choose the best brand for your needs, get every available green option rebate and incentive, assistance with finance options if needed, delivery, installation, and after-
Then we can do the same if you want to consider a skylight, solar power, attic vents, or energy-saving LED lights. We offer green bundles to save our customers money, save natural resources, and create green jobs.
FC: What are the most popular items that you sell in your stores? What is the typical sales mix like for a SuperGreen Solutions store?
SC: The popularity of certain products actually varies with the type of customer we are working with. Our commercial clients range from auto dealers to hair salons to gas stations. Residential customers have different needs. A person remodeling a 5500 square foot home has very different needs from a commercial customer, and even from a person who lives in an apartment. But we can help all of them.
In general, I would say our fastest moving products are solar power systems, skylights, LED lighting, solar powered ventilation, and atmospheric water filters.
FC: What is your ecommerce strategy for SuperGreen Solutions? How will this affect sales at your franchisees’ stores?
SC: Our foundation is built on a strategy of providing customized solutions that fit just the right product, rebate, and tax incentive with each customer’s needs. We are consultative in our approach and therefore we work best when we can get to know how to best help the customer.
But for customers to find us, we know we have to have a strong ecommerce strategy to capitalize on online opportunities. We will be providing our franchise operators with lead generation and sales generation through the Internet. We are implementing strategies to improve the website’s search engine results, for capitalizing on social media, effective pay-per-click campaigns, and other programs that are all designed to increase the number of incoming leads and inquiries to boost sales.
One specific way we are increasing our online exposure is by offering a free proprietary application that allows customers to calculate their energy cost savings when using various energy efficient products in their home, based on what they are currently paying. This shows customers how impactful our solutions can be and how much the true savings would end up being.
To read the second part of my exclusive interview with Sean Cochrane, please click here.