All Things Considered Franchising Podcast with Vickie Storm of iTrip Vacations

November 01, 2022 00:41:44
All Things Considered Franchising Podcast with Vickie Storm of iTrip Vacations
All Things Considered Franchising Podcast
All Things Considered Franchising Podcast with Vickie Storm of iTrip Vacations

Nov 01 2022 | 00:41:44

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Show Notes

Scotty Milas, Franchise Coach, talks with Vickie Storm, the V.P. of Franchise Development of iTrip Vacations, a short-term vacation rental franchise. Scotty and Vickie discuss why people consider buying franchises and the characteristics of people that should not pursue franchises. Franchisee candidates need to make sure they are getting the information they need to understand and evaluate the opportunity as a good fit for what they want to do. The franchisor should also look at the candidate to ensure the franchisee is a good fit for the brand. iTrip wants to make sure the franchisee wants to be successful. Does the day in, day out of the business make the franchisee happy? Also, iTrip looks for individuals with professional business experience. It serves them well as they start their franchise. Working hard helps them to live so well later. iTrip starts working with franchisees within days of the franchisee buying their unit. They provide live 1-on-1 training to give them hands-on experience. Their technology helps streamline the franchisee's work to be successful. Also, iTrip's technology helps properties to be shown higher in the search results. Franchising has become more alive than ever and is of greater interest to more people than ever. Many people used to stay with one company throughout their careers. After layoffs and downsizing, people are looking at other options. Everyone needs to be their own steward and aware of options. Franchises are becoming a more explored option. To get in touch with Scotty, email him at [email protected] or call him at 860-751-9126. Also, visit www.scottmilasfranchisecoach.com. #businessownership #scottymilas #franchiseownership #careertransition #itripvacations #franchiseconsulting #businessoptions #future #technology #shorttermvacationrentals

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:16 Hello everybody. Welcome to another episode of What's Your Know, know Your Why and All Things Considered Franchise. I'm Scotty Myas, Scott Mylo franchise coach.com. Thanks for tuning in. If you are our listener to this podcast goes without saying you're probably interested in business ownership in some form of or fashion maybe considering investing in a franchise. Today. My guest is probably one of my favorite people. I would say, at least in the top 10 favorite people working with as far as a brand. And I am pleased to announce, uh, and, uh, introduce Vicki Storm, who is Vice President of Development for IRI Vacations. Hi, Vicky. Speaker 2 00:01:02 Hey, Scotty. Speaker 1 00:01:03 How's it going out there? Now you are where you are located in, uh, Illinois, or are you back, uh, someplace else? Speaker 2 00:01:11 Well, our corporate office location is in Nashville, Tennessee, and I just relocated about a year ago back to my hometown in central Illinois to be near family. Speaker 1 00:01:23 Wow. That's great. I, uh, I guess you're getting gearing up for the holiday season. Uh, we are, I believe it's almost nearby, but, uh, enough said about that. But let's talk about franchising, Vicki and your background. Uh, maybe give, uh, some of our listeners, uh, a little bit of history, how you got into franchising, uh, your connection or intro or how you got connected with iri and of course learning more, a little bit about what IRI does in the short term vacation rental as a consultant. Uh, I can tell you, uh, I think you and I have worked really well together. I think we're batting a thousand on the, uh, or just about a thousand. I think there was one candidate that we decided to exit. Uh, but I think out of all the candidates that we've presented, uh, you know, the four or five, we've actually made some placements together. So tell me a little bit about your history, how you got into franchising. Uh, maybe we'll talk about the franchising industry in general after that, but, and, and of course, your connection to IRI and how you got involved with it. Speaker 2 00:02:19 Thank you, Scott. I actually think my history is very similar to many people who end up getting in franchising. I was in corporate America my entire career. I was, uh, the president of an identity theft and data breach risk management company. Before that, I was part of a small team that built a new bank in Nashville, Tennessee. I was in financial services management for many, many years focusing on insurance and investment sales. And I took early retirement. I had built a lot for other companies, had done a lot, lot, had worked hard, thought I was ready for retirement. And after five years, I was bored outta my mind and I started doing some research. I had worked with some franchisors a little bit in my past. I wasn't necessarily focused on the franchise industry, but I found this industry so compelling. The company I work for, IRI Vacations, had a great reputation, uh, an impressive trajectory, as does the short term rental property management industry, which is the industry we're in. And I've been with IRI for almost seven years now. Speaker 1 00:03:37 Wow. That's great. Um, let's talk a little bit about, um, the franchising industry for, you know, just a couple of minutes here. Sure. Cause I think it's important for our listeners to understand that franchising isn't necessarily, uh, for everyone. Um, you know, I always hear, uh, you know, and I kind of chuckle when, uh, certain people are, um, talking about, uh, franchising or helping people get into the industry, they always talk about the perfect model, the perfect situation for somebody. For me, I believe that there's nothing perfect, uh, maybe an ideal, but talk about the franchising industry, what you've seen in the, in the, in, in the longevity that you've been in the industry, why somebody should consider franchising, why they shouldn't consider franchising. Um, and, and kind of go from there. Uh, you know, let's just have a general conversation about the industry. Speaker 2 00:04:36 Franchising offers what I believe to be the best of several options for an individual. Number one, people who have grown in their career and maybe hit that ceiling where they're not going to continue to see the advancements that they want. Maybe they've been passed over already. Maybe there's a fear that they've reached a high enough level and income status in their organization that they might feel at risk for being laid off. We certainly as a result of the pandemic, but even before that, we see a lot of transitioning happening in corporate America. A lot of turnover of people who have a tremendous amount of experience and intellectual property and time that they have dedicated to corporations. So now you have these folks who aren't ready to retire. They see some runway left in their career, and they wanna make the most of it for themselves and their family. Speaker 2 00:05:35 But starting a new business with a blank sheet of paper can be daunting. And with franchising, what you get is you get all of the guidelines, you get technology, you receive training, you have a lot of help and support so that you're starting your business, if you will, on the backs of the experience of that franchise in launching many other similar franchise units before you came along. So I think it is a great option, a great solution. I also think, interestingly, a number of people really don't know about franchising or the franchise opportunities and understand it. You also asked me to mention who it might not be best suited for. I think for someone who is very much their own pioneering person, you can apply whatever term you want to that, whether they're a really strong re-engineering or six Sigma or Lean Sigma person who wants to come in and make everything in their own, that can be a little challenging for a franchisee in the beginning. A person who joins a franchise should lean into the experience of that FraNChiS or in the training they provide. And then with some models like ours, there's a lot of autonomy to make the business your own, but you need to get that foundation of knowledge based on the franchise ORs experience first. Speaker 1 00:07:03 Yeah, that's interesting. You know, just for our audience's education, I think it's really, uh, it, it it's important to know for them to know that there are three to 4,000 franchise opportunities out there. Uh, all levels of investment, all levels of, uh, categories. Uh, I think every day I find out something new. It surprises me. I'm sure, you know, as you nestle into the industry, you see things that you never heard of before. But let's talk about, you know, you, you mentioned for people not getting into franchise, and I think you're absolutely right, you know, that strong independent wants to develop their own bells and whistles, their own systems. I always use the example, you know, if you, if you own a restaurant, you want to get up and serve soup, uh, or make a soup that day, you can, with a franchise, you're restricted on certain things that you can and can't do. Speaker 1 00:07:53 But there's also a misnomer about people that are looking at franchising, and I'm sure you've had this with iri, that they think just because they have the financial wherewithal to be able to afford the brand, that they are automatically going to be awarded a franchise. Can you share any information on kind of that pushback that you've had? And then we'll get into a little bit, and then we'll get into more about what IRI is and what IRI is looking for in a candidate. But it always fascinates me that, you know, there are certain candidates that think cuz they have a big wallet or a big bank account that this is a shoe in. So maybe just kind of share your experiences on, you know, kind of that c or be prospect that you've talked to. Speaker 2 00:08:42 You mentioned that as you and I have worked together, for example, the majority of candidates who have been interested in learning more about this opportunity have been a good fit. But it's not always the case. And as a franchisee candidate, someone starts exploring an opportunity. They want to make sure that they are receiving the information that they need to understand in order to evaluate that opportunity. It with regards to if it's a good fit for what they wanna do and their objectives for how they wanna grow a business. Likewise, the franchisor should be evaluating that candidate to make sure that they would be a good fit with the brand and, and be willing to award a unit, which is the standard term used in the industry. For us, it's a market or a territory to that individual. I think that different franchise brands look at that somewhat differently. Speaker 2 00:09:49 For us, we're very focused on a good fit. We, we want to do everything we can to make sure that franchisee is going to be successful in their business. And that starts with do they appear to be a good fit, what they would be doing in a day in a life with us, does that involve the kinds of things that they can get excited about? Look, in corporate America, lots of people are in jobs that they're not happy in, in franchising. To your point, there are so many franchise businesses out there, it's worth taking the time to find the one that will allow you as the franchisee to be excited when you wake up every morning to go to work. Speaker 1 00:10:32 Right now, I trip vacations, and I've been at this for a long time, and you've been at this for a long time. Um, I I I've always been fascinated by the, uh, approach of some franchisors. Some are more relaxed, um, you know, uh, some take more of a strategic approach. You know, I'm one of the things that has always impressed me about IRI vacations and your approach is that you have more of this conservative, uh, and I'm not trying to make this political in any way, but a very conservative profile that you're adhering to in your discovery process. Not only for the candidate to learn about the brand, but for you to learn about them. And I think if I'm correct, and maybe you could share some information, is that you are looking really for that experienced entrepreneur, that business person, someone who really has that 10 plus years of business experience. Um, someone who maybe has that sales aptitude. You mentioned networking, getting out there. So maybe talk a little bit more about IRI vacations and what you're looking for in a candidate and a prospect or somebody who's interested in investing. And then we'll get into some of the services that iri, uh, uh, offers. Uh, as far as to your clients. Speaker 2 00:11:53 Thanks, Scott. I, we do look for individuals who have some professional business experience. We find that that serves them very well to start their own business with us, or in franchising in general. We are looking for people who understand that while the franchise is going to offer them lots of training and technology, that the secret sauce is always that person and that willingness and excitement to put in the work ethic, the time in order to benefit from the work that they've put in. One of our franchisees recently was speaking with a franchisee candidate, and the candidate said, oh, what they said to me, that just tied it all together for me. The franchisee said in the first two years, I never worked so hard in the second two years, I never lived so well. And that's what we wanna provide for these franchisee candidates to come in and be able to realize the full extent of everything that they want in their professional career. But it does start with people for us who have some professional business experience. Speaker 1 00:13:12 You know, that's an interesting point, Vicky, because, uh, in speaking to candidates and people that are interested, there tends to be a misnomer. Uh, a again, it's a small percentage, I shouldn't say small. It's a larger percentage than I would've hoped that the, the potential candidate, um, really has this noer about the franchise ORs responsibility to find them business. Yet it's really the franchisee who nestles in that really has to build the business. The franchisor. In your case, IRI, is providing all the support mechanisms, the, the, the technology, the marketing support as far as ideas and suggestions, not necessarily trying to bring in clients for you, for them, for the prospect of the franchisee. Is that correct? I mean, that's pretty close. It's, it's, it, it's just interesting how people think that they pay a fee to become a franchisee and that the franchisor is gonna do all the work for them. Speaker 2 00:14:10 That's true. I think a lot of things can be broken down into that three legged stool approach, right? With us, the three legs are, we introduce the franchisee to lots of strategies and activities to deploy, to attract properties, to bring under management. Secondly, we do everything to get bookings for them, for their properties. We have the largest marketing campaign of, of anyone in the industry. And then number three, the franchisee oversees the management of the real estate, the properties that are under management for short-term rental, uh, use with them. And, and the other thing that you talked about that I think I think is really important, Scott, for your listeners or your viewers to understand, is if you start a discovery process with a franchise, you're not locked in. That discovery process should be all about educating you. That's the approach we take, helping you the candidate understand the industry, the particular business model, a day in the life, the revenue streams, so that you're really collecting a lot of information in order to make an educated decision about whether this franchise is a good fit for you. Speaker 1 00:15:31 So let's talk about iri, the company. Um, okay. I, I've gotten to know the organization, the people within the organization. Like I said, uh, you're one of my favorite people. And you know, you have people within the, uh, within the organization that are really involved in making sure those support mechanisms are there and your franchisees, uh, are successful. But talk about what IRI is doing, the services, uh, that you're providing to the franchise, the franchisees or the services that they're getting to bring people in to generate revenue. Let's face it, people are going into business, uh, in an IRI vacations not to generate discretionary income. You're looking for the person that's looking to build that income stream. I would, and again, correct me if I'm wrong, uh, that, uh, that, that, that six figure income over time building it. So talk about your services, uh, maybe some of the marketing, uh, not marketing, but some of the support mechanisms that you're providing to help your clients, not clients but franchisees be successful. Speaker 2 00:16:35 You know, studies have told us for years that adults learn best not by being told what to do, but by seeing things in action. And our training program has been built to work shoulder to shoulder with new franchisees as they're launching their business. So within 48 hours after our franchisee candidate signs the franchise agreement and remits the initial funding fee, we start that training process. There's a phone call, there's some pre-training work, and then we're in market working shoulder to shoulder with them for the first of two weeks. We have software training that lasts for several days, then we're back out in market working with them. And when I say we're in market with them, I don't mean they're in a hotel room and we're talking at the new franchisee. We're in the community networking with them. They see how our trainers will make, uh, conversation, will make introductions, we'll make presentations. Speaker 2 00:17:37 And very quickly they're able to personalize that to their own style and start delivering those conversations with the trainers there to help give them feedback. Then one of our trainers is assigned to, to be their coach. They have weekly calls with their coach for up to a year where the coach is helping them stay focused on those main things, activities that they need to be deploying in order to launch quickly and successfully. There's more there, there's a YouTube library of sorts called E University. There, there are manuals for software and operations, but I think the real beauty of our training program is the live one-on-one work that we give to each new franchisee. Speaker 1 00:18:21 Interesting. You know, one of the things that caught my attention when I started working with your brand, uh, in introducing my clients to your concept, um, was the fact that you are not a multi territory organization. Your focus is let's reward somebody or award somebody, uh, who wants to come into the system with a territory that can be successful. You know, the norm in the industry is that, you know, a lot of brands wanna offer multiple territories. Uh, you know, and on the client side, the prospect side, a lot of that, some of that sometimes becomes ego. They want to tell their friends, they bought 10 of this or 20 of that, and, you know, kind of tout their shoulders or whatever. You take more of a strategic approach you wanna give. And I think if I'm correct, and correct me if I'm wrong, you've broken your, your territories down to a boutique market and a primary market because you want that client franchisee to be successful and not have to worry about the management, I guess, of managing multiple territories up front. That development schedule and share any comments on that? I mean, is that the right strategy for iri? Uh, uh, you know, and has it been successful? Speaker 2 00:19:35 Yes, definitely the right strategy for iri. My team will conduct research for each, each geographical area. We don't use a cookie cutter approach to the size of our territories. I also don't sell anything where the research doesn't support that area as being viable for our business model. And we're looking at a number of data points. The other thing I would say that's really attractive about IRI is this is a home based business. No employees are needed until you really scale to a point. And a lot of revenues coming in where you might decide to obtain some additional resources to help you out. There are no products to buy in warehouse and deliver later. So it's a quick launch, really low overhead. And with all the training that we do, you're, you're able to start receiving revenue with the very first property that you bring under management, and it starts getting bookings. And again, we do everything to get the bookings for those properties for our franchisees. Speaker 1 00:20:36 So the technology side, and I think one of the things that I learned about i e very early in my due diligence when I was learning to present the brand, and again, you wanna be educated on my side to present something to somebody and support it. At least that's how I am. And, and, and, and I run my consulting business. Um, the technology side in your business is very important. And in, in a nutshell, the way it kind of explained to me is, is that if I was somebody who was managing multiple properties, three or four properties, and I had it listed, listed them on the multiple streams that you could list them on that once that person made a reservation on one property, I would need to go in and spend considerable amount of time to take that reservation off the other avenues or the listings, your technology kind of groups, all that together and kind of helps the franchisee manage that technologies. Am I correct on that? Speaker 2 00:21:32 You are. And let me back up for just a second. I'm not sure I adequately address your point about why we don't usually bundle markets. So based on the research, every market is defined to produce an executive level income by itself. And it's just not necessary for people to spend money on multiple markets because they can get what they want as far as their objectives and dreams, revenue wise, work life balance wise in a single market with iri. So when it, when it relates to the, the other aspects of that building of their market and the use of technology, we were built on a technology platform. And someone might think, well, I, I'm just gonna manage short term rentals on my own. But the reality is technology has become such a significant driver in this industry that you will struggle if you don't have the resources to buy or build the technology and tools that you need to be successful. If I may, I'll give you a very quick example. Speaker 1 00:22:38 Absolutely. Please. Speaker 2 00:22:39 This industry is not new. It's been around for a long time, and it was a cottage industry for quite a long while, and many of your viewers may have stayed at a short term rental before. In fact, about 50% of travelers are preferring those private accommodations today over a hotel. In the past, if you were looking to book a short term rental property, you would go to a listing site like Airbnb or vrbo. They're not competitors of ours, they're channel partners. They're listing sites. They don't own or manage properties. So they use our inventory in order to drive their business model. And we have an account manager with both of those listing sites, but we actually partner with about 80 national and international listing sites. Okay. So let's say that you're gonna try to manage short-term rental properties by yourself. In the past, a rental guest who's looking for one would just look at the destination. Speaker 2 00:23:34 They would enter in filters, destination number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, and any amenities. And that listing site would stack rank all of their properties and put those that best meet those filters on top. But today, technology comes into play to create the second sort of the properties before they show you the prospective rental guest anything. And that technology is used to rate or evaluate the property manager. They have a checklist of items that they look at, and almost all of them tie back to the property manager's use of technology or tools to run their business. And these listing sites think that the more technology and tools you apply, the more effective you are as a property manager. And they want their guests, people who book on their site to not only find the properties that best meet their filters, but are managed by the best property managers. Speaker 2 00:24:34 So they have a great experience. What that means is our properties are gonna show up higher in stacked rankings than somebody who's trying to do it on their own. And they don't have the tools in technology. They may have a perfectly fitting property against those filters, right? But because they don't have the other components, their property lo is lower and lower in the stacked rankings, you might get 10 pages of properties to look at. But the reality is, most prospective rental guests will find two or three properties they like in the first two or three pages. So properties that are down there on page eight, nine, and 10 don't get seen. And properties that aren't seen don't get booked. Speaker 1 00:25:15 Interesting. Interesting. You know, one of the strategies in working with clients, um, or one of the questions I continually ask my clients is, you know, in three to five years, if you own a business for three to five years, let's just say you've been successful. You know, how would life be different for you? And I think, um, IRI Vacations offers a lot of possibilities, uh, for somebody's kind of, uh, life, uh, life balance. Uh, you know, uh, one of the things that, one of the things that both you and I failed to mention when we were talking about work from home, no employees, that there are really no receivables either. I mean, you're not out collecting because when somebody books, they pay the deposit. And again, you know, uh, funds are distributed to the, uh, to the franchisee, to the owner and so forth. But when we talk about a work life balance, let's picture somebody who's owned a franchise with IRI for three to five years. They've followed the systems. Again, there's no guarantees in franchising. Uh, you know, uh, we talked about this, that franchisees have to work the business. I mean, you're typically looking for somebody to really beat boots to the ground for 18 to 24 months, uh, you know, give or take a couple of months. But what kind of work life balance can somebody expect, uh, in three to five years? Uh, being an owner of an IRI vacations, Speaker 2 00:26:45 We do focus on that work life balance. We understand it's important, increasingly important to people today when they're looking at their options. I, I think you can expect in the first two years to work hard in order to build your referral network and get your operations polished the way you wanna run your business. After that, because of our technology on any smart advice device, you can run your business. So I actually had a franchisee tell me the other day that they're doing most of their work on the beach because they have an iPad <laugh>, they can do it Speaker 1 00:27:23 From there. My kind of franchisee, <laugh>, Speaker 2 00:27:25 Right? Um, and, and, and so we accommodate people to be able to do a lot of living of their life while at the same time being able to run their business as they scale their business. As I mentioned earlier, they'll have the revenue, they can bring in some resources to help them out if they would like, those resources can be part-time or full-time to do things that the franchisee doesn't really enjoy doing or doesn't want to do as much. So they do have a lot of autonomy, a lot of latitude with us to create that business model and thus create the life that they want to be living. Speaker 1 00:28:07 Interesting, interesting. You know, one of the things, and I I have always found with working with you and Donnie and the team, uh, and, and of course my approach with my clients is that you always wanna be transparent mm-hmm. <affirmative> in the information that you're providing somebody. And one of the questions that always comes up in the short term property management is regulations. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, regulations are constantly changing. I mean, if you look at states, the registration states, California especially, what's going on there? What should people be looking for in the regulations, uh, for this industry? Not necessarily tied to just the eye trip, but is it something that as an organization you're monitoring closely? I think you are, I think it's a rhetorical question. I think it's just a leading question for you. But how do you educate your clients on the, um, the regulations, you know, within the states, within the communities, the cities, uh, to keep them informed about what's going on so they can alter and, and, and adjust their business models? Speaker 2 00:29:11 In the research that we do upfront, in order to define a territory, that is one of the data points that we look at. What's the extent of short-term rental restrictions or regulations in an area? It is, to your point, fluids, so that that can change for a market that is available. We update our data every six months, so we stay on top of those data points. Again, that includes restrictions and regulations in the, the area. When a franchisee buys a market, they're in that community, and now they tend to be much more aware of where regulations or restrictions might be and how changes are occurring in their market. Let, let me add this though. I, I don't want that to sound too scary for someone who's considering entering into this industry, sometimes the restrictions are limited to condo complexes where the hoa Speaker 1 00:30:13 Right? Absolutely. Yep. Speaker 2 00:30:14 Selected not to allow, uh, any short-term rentals, or they limit rentals by a number of short term rentals a year, or the lengths of stay, or that could be in a small enclos community where that happens. So typically when we look at that landscape of restrictions and regulations, we're creating a, a larger opportunity based on the potential inventory of properties to be used as short-term rentals, or are already being used for short-term rentals that would be converted to your management. And we're taking that into consideration. I think it's fair to say that every one of our franchisees has stopped aggressively looking for new properties to add to their portfolio. Doesn't mean they're not doing some work, but aggressively, right. Once they reach that revenue level that either meets or exceeds their expectations. So they've, they all have stopped well before they ran out of properties to prospect because of the way we conduct our research and define our territories. Speaker 1 00:31:23 Interesting. That, that's a great approach on the company standpoint, you know, I talked about, one of the questions I asked my clients, you know, that three to five years, if you own the business, and we're kind of winding down here, so asking Vikings Storm about IRI vacations. If you are looking at the company now, you've been very successful. Um, I mean, if you want, you can mention the number of franchisees you have and the state you're in, but when you look at your three to five years from now, where is iri? Uh, is, is IRI growing? Uh, are you adding it or do you hit a point where this is the number of franchisees we have and we're gonna support them? Are you adding additional services? Talk to the audience a little bit about three to five years from now, where is iri? Because that's an important question for a lot of people that are looking at investing in a business. Speaker 2 00:32:17 And I appreciate the opportunity to respond to that. You know, a moment ago I said that this was a cottage industry for a long while, and then it became a booming mainstream industry. And right now it's exploding. We've sold more markets this year than ever before in our history, but we still have hundreds of markets that are available. Oh, good. We, um, see expansion one day beyond the borders of the United States. Speaker 1 00:32:47 Interesting. International. That's great. Speaker 2 00:32:49 So we have over a hundred active markets. I also wanna point out that markets are not limited to those traditional vacation destinations that someone might be thinking of. Short term rentals are attractive to every type of traveler for every kind of reason. Business, medical, college visits, going to events, vacations. Interesting. And ironically, during the pandemic, we actually picked up a new additional demographic, and that's the remote employee who gets tired of looking at the same four walls all the time, and they realize they can go rent a short term rental property for interesting a week or 10 days, work during the day, and explore that new community at night and on the weekends. So we are still seeing a lot of growth, very positive trajectory for the industry, for IRI and for our franchisees. They're having their best year ever as well. Speaker 1 00:33:46 Right, right. Well, this has been great information, Vicky and I just wanna kind of circle back to where we were in the beginning. Uh, the franchising industry in general, um, a lot franchise ORs, um, really aren't paying attention to the industry, the growth of the industry, franchising in general, because if my, my analytics tell me, right, what is it, 70, 75% today of businesses out there are, are, are run by franchisees, their franchise concepts, and the success rate is a lot higher when someone invests in a franchise versus a, um, uh, an independent. And there's nothing wrong with an independent business. I mean, I'm not here to push anybody into something they don't want. But when you look at the state of franchising now to kind of round this conversation out, and then obviously you can let everybody know how to contact you and everything, um, how, how are you, how is IRI looking at franchising as an industry, um, where it's going, uh, you know, kind of Uncle Sam wanting to put, you know, uh, their hands in the franchisees or the franchisor's pockets. I mean, what, what is, what is your take on the industry or I trips take on franchising? Is it alive? Is it, well, I mean, obviously these last two years, three years, you know, when the pandemic hit, I think it's safe to say that all of us had our disaster relief brands in uh, place. We were ready to hit the button, and all of a sudden it was like everybody exited. Corporate American wanted to own their own business. But where is, where is your thoughts, eye trips, thoughts on the industry in whole? Speaker 2 00:35:23 I think that franchising has become more alive than ever and of greater interest to a large population of people. Look, I, it's been a while since I started my career, but when I did, I expected to work for the same company my entire career. And I think that there were a lot of people who may have had that expect expectation at one time, and that's disappeared. And unfortunately, corporate America has done that to not only current, uh, working people, but current working people who saw their parents maybe be ousted after many, many years of giving a lot to a company. And it's created this mentality that everyone needs not to so much trust in the longevity of a, of a career with one company, because that just doesn't exist anymore. Every person needs to be the, their own steward. And by being their own steward, they need to be aware of options and where they get the most freedom and the most potential with nobody else telling them what their worth is, is to have their own business. And if they want their own business, but want help getting started quickly, it's the franchise structure that's provided to the person. And I think it's becoming more known as an option, more explored as an option, and there's more comfort that the risk is not as great as they think it might have been to start their own business if they do it through a franchise opportunity. I'm very bullish on franchising, not only today, but the continued growth that I see in this overall industry. And of course, for IRI specifically. Speaker 1 00:37:15 So it's safe to say that if someone is looking to start their own business, franchising is definitely something to consider. Course of the structure, the bells and the whistles, the systems, uh, doesn't necessarily mean it's for them, but it's definitely an industry that you feel that is continuing to grow. Supports people that are interested in entrepreneurship. Speaker 2 00:37:40 I love these people who come in as candidates because their consultant, like you has helped them understand there's this whole realm of opportunity that they may not have realized existed. And even as you said, there are some specific franchise businesses that you, you didn't even know existed, that you could have a business in that kind of realm. And they come in and they realize, wow, here's something I may not have even realized was an opportunity for me, and I love this. This is exactly what I want. Those are the candidates that you're looking for, and that we're looking for people who want to learn more and see if we're a good fit for them. Speaker 1 00:38:22 Great. Well, Vicky, I have enjoyed this conversation. It, I, I have to say, as I said earlier, when I started, you're one of my favorite people to talk to. Um, you, you're, you're always on top of, uh, you know, the, the structure of franchising. You know, what takes to be a successful business owner, especially with an iri, uh, as an IRI franchisee. Maybe, uh, the best way for people to learn more about, uh, iri, uh, would you like them to go to the website? Do you want them to, uh, you know, maybe you can let everybody know what the, uh, the, uh, website is at this point, Speaker 2 00:38:58 IRI franchise.com. And let me say that what's also very exciting about franchising is, is gender neutral. It is something that you can do solo or with as a, as a couple or partners or friends from all kinds of backgrounds. You don't have to have experience. That's what the training is for. And don't be deterred by thinking that you're not prepared to do this business day one. The franchisor will get you prepared. They will help you be ready to launch your business. Speaker 1 00:39:33 Vicky, maybe one short, uh, little thing about, uh, the investment level. Uh, I, I know, uh, you know, I've made a kind of practice in these podcasts that I don't wanna get into income projections, although, um, I think people can make a living a fair, uh, a better than fair living, not discretionary income. But, uh, maybe you can, uh, you know, just kind of give some oversight on the investment level, um, whether you're on the SBA registry, SBA funding, express loans, maybe share a little information about that and we'll say our goodbyes and, uh, close out this session. Speaker 2 00:40:09 We are on the SBA registry. You mentioned the two product levels that we offer, and the initial funding fee is $75,000 for the primary market, $55,000 for the boutique market. You also wanna have some working capital, and we suggest doubling that initial funding fee to get you through the first 12 to 18 months just for that safety net. But again, with us, there's no brick and mortar, no employees, no furniture to buy there. The, the rest of the expenses just don't exist for us. And if you put in the sweat equity, I, I'm not telling you exactly what your individual performance would be, but it's very possible to get a return on your investment in that first year or 18 months. Speaker 1 00:40:54 Yep. Great. Well, Vicky, I wanna thank you for your time. I know you're busy and taking time out to speak with me. Uh, as I said, it's always an enjoy, an enjoyment for me to, uh, you know, touch base with you. I look forward speaking to you again, uh, down the road. Again, Vicky Storm, executive vice president for IRI Vacations franchise development. Uh, I strongly suggest that you reach out to, uh, get on their website, find out more. Uh, reach out to me if you have any questions. But, uh, Vicky, it's been great. And, uh, uh, we'll close this out in 3, 2, 1.

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