Mark Bollman has been the President and Director of Creative Colors International since May of 2000. Before becoming President, Bollman started out as a service technician for J&J’s Creative Colors in 1991. Following, he served as a Field Consultant from September of 1991 to November of 1992. From there, he was promoted to Director of Operations until January of 1995, and then further raised to Senior Vice President from 1995 to 2000.
Franchise Chatter (FC): For the benefit of those who are unfamiliar with Creative Colors International, can you give us a brief overview of your franchise concept?
Mark Bollman (MB): With over 30 years of experience, Creative Colors International (CCI) offers the ultimate solution to outlandish replacement charges, saving customers up to 90 percent of replacement fees by repairing worn and/or damaged material using our exclusive, revolutionary products and restoration techniques.
Based on the average costs of reupholstering a car, customers can instead fix their interior through CCI, saving hundreds of dollars as a result and walking away with seats that are actually more durable than they were in their original state.
Serving the automotive, commercial, and furniture industries, CCI offers affordable solutions for tears, holes, scuffs, scratches, and other types of damage through on-site repair, restoration, cleaning, and protection, as well as dyeing of leather, vinyl, plastic, and fabric.
FC: Why should someone interested in owning their own business consider a Creative Colors International franchise?
MB: CCI is a smart investment primarily because of our superior products and chemicals, longstanding expertise in the industry, and unlimited franchisee support. Nearly every business has upholstery in one place or another, making CCI’s services essential to companies and places in every market, including waiting rooms, medical facilities, casinos, restaurant booths, school buses, limousines, movie theaters, hotels, campers, boat dealers, airports, aircraft dealers, insurance companies, and much more.
Since it’s a home-based, mobile business, one of the largest advantages of investing in a CCI is its low overhead costs and high profit potential.
When it comes to support, franchisees are backed by national support in both their launch and on an ongoing basis with training and consulting, starting off with a thorough four week training program. Since becoming a franchise system in 1991, CCI’s trainers have been a part of the network for 20+ years and are seasoned professionals in the field.
At CCI, franchisees are in business for themselves, not by themselves.
FC: What is the initial investment range for a Creative Colors International franchise?
MB: The CCI start-up fee of $29,500 plus franchise fee of $39,500 totals $69,000, which covers everything except for the van.
FC: Who is your ideal franchisee?
MB: An ideal CCI franchisee has a diverse background and an array of acquired skills. Some qualities we look for in a prospect include a sales background, management and/or operations background, executive background, and entrepreneurial experience.
Depending on level of experience and capital, we offer franchise model options that range from single-unit Owner Operators to Multi-Unit Operators, Executive Model Operators, or Regional Developers.
FC: What kind of training and support can your franchisees expect to receive?
MB: For the initial four week training, new franchisees spend the first two weeks learning the techniques regarding how to make colors by blending and tinting. We educate and teach them on all different types of materials and how to repair items including, leather, vinyl, fabric, plastic, carpeting, etc.
During week three, franchisees learn about marketing, management, and sales tactics. They are taught how to perform billing and set up their back office accounting software. Additional training is done through working with our vendor network and various portals for ordering supplies, stationery, print, clothing, and promotional items.
For week four, CCI corporate provides grand opening support in the franchisee’s local market. An initial direct mailing campaign is customized and performed in each new franchise territory to help ramp up the sales process.
We provide a very in-depth, hands-on training program that covers all facets of the business in both technical and management levels. We consider our training to be the best or as we refer to it, the “Cadillac” of our industry.
FC: Since you serve a variety of industries (automotive, commercial, and furniture), how do your franchisees reach their target customers? What are some of your best practices for marketing at the local store level?
MB: The CCI vans are our number one source of advertising. Since we are a mobile-based opportunity, our vans tell a story as we roll down the street to service our customers.
We offer targeted direct mail campaigns for the various markets by partnering with a lead list provider to get us the most accurate data for research.
We also offer specific customized marketing collateral for each industry we serve. If someone wants to target doctor’s offices for instance, we have customized collateral already prepared and available for our owners to use and order through our print portal suppliers. Having this segmented targeted marketing program for each sector helps get our message across that much quicker and more efficiently.
Every franchise receives their own customized website that they can edit and promote locally within their area through SEO or SEM campaigns. We also advertise in various industry trade publications to help educate and promote awareness about CCI and our services.
FC: What are your growth plans for the coming year?
MB: CCI currently operates in 22 states throughout the U.S. and Canada with 34 franchise owners running approximately 86 units. Over the next year, CCI projects opening 10-20 more franchises. Experiencing significant growth of 10 to 30 percent over the last three years, CCI plans to continue aggressive expansion and double in size, reaching 150+ units by 2017.
For more information on CCI’s services and franchise opportunities, visit http://www.wecanfixthat.