Franchising World May 2012
While more and more people have a better understanding that business-format franchising exists beyond food and food services, most might still list a restaurant or drive-in eatery when asked about obtaining service on a 24-hour basis. Below are examples of franchises that provide services or products around the clock and what’s involved in doing so.
Executive Vice President &
All American Pet Resorts
Kathleen Kresge is a managing member of All American Pet Resorts LLC, who has been recognized by Cambridge Who’s Who for dedication, leadership and excellence in business management. Kresge collaborated with her husband and two friends to establish a business that could be easily duplicated using the franchise distribution channel. Today, All American Pet Resorts operates in North Carolina, Texas, Michigan and Texas. She attributes her success to her tenacity, passion for productivity, commitment to process and the ability to surround herself with talented people. Her passion for animals drives her volunteer work at a local shelter where she writes grants for much needed funding for shelter projects.
Director of Operations
Rob Reynolds is the director of operations for Systemforward America Inc., franchisor of the Pop-A-Lock system. He is a resident of Louisiana and proudly serves on the Louisiana Life Safety and Property Protection Board. He is a member of the Associated Locksmiths of America, Safe and Vault Technicians Association and the Louisiana Life Safety and Security Association. He is a retired commissioned officer in the United States Army.
Director of Training and Development
John Voskamp has worked for the past 18 years in the fitness industry, starting as a fitness instructor while wrestling for the University of Nebraska. Prior to his time at Snap Fitness, Voskamp served as COO of Gold’s Gym where he also gained extensive experience in sales, marketing, club operations and personal training. With Snap Fitness, he is responsible for training new Snap Fitness owners in all aspects of running a success business, and creating resources and programs designed to boost franchisees bottom line moving forward.
What is the chief driver of customers using your 24-hour service?
Kresge: Everything we do is focused on serving three customers: the pets, the pet owners and staff that delivers the promise of our brand. It is with that in mind that I comment on the three aspects of your article. The chief driver, there are only two, are convenience and the fact that pets are family members. Our customers want to pick up and drop off their dogs no matter what time it is.
Reynolds: Very simply the customer has a problem at night that must be solved, typically to gain access to his or her house, business or vehicle. Additionally, the customer may need keys produced to the same. In some cases we are performing work at a time that is more convenient to avoid interrupting the normal work flow. This is especially true when we are doing extensive work to a door such as installing electronic controls. People walking in and out of the door all day can be hazardous because the job can take longer and be disruptive to the business environment, therefore we often take care of these projects after work hours.
Voskamp: When Snap Fitness first introduced our 24/7 model back in 2004, we did it to provide our members with the freedom and flexibility they were looking for in a fitness club, without sacrificing quality or safety. Thanks to our electronic key card access, members have the ability to work out at any of our 1,300 Snap Fitness locations worldwide, whenever they want. Best of all, it allows them to avoid the crowded, uncomfortable and intimidating atmosphere that they get from some clubs, giving them the ability to feel comfortable in their environment.
What types of customers are drawn to your products beyond the typical hours of operation?
Reynolds: Businesses, home owners and vehicle owners who need immediate service.
Voskamp: Our electronic key card access allows us to cater to members of all backgrounds and motivations, from industry workers who don’t work a standard 8-5 shift to moms that come to work out after the kids are on the bus in the morning.
What are the main advantages and disadvantages of providing such service?
Kresge: The main advantage of 24-hour service is that it gives us a competitive leg up. The disadvantages are increased operating costs, increased cost to the customer and staff management.
Reynolds: The main advantage is that we don’t have to compress every job into just the standard business day, we can support multiple shifts of employees and we are a reliable partner for companies and clients to work with because we can respond after hours. The disadvantages are pretty obvious, it requires a good bit of concentration and management to ensure that service is available at all hours of the day. This challenge encompasses everything from recruiting, selecting, training, equipping, managing and growing the business.
Voskamp: While some people may point to safety as a concern, Snap Fitness locations are not staffed 24/7. Our clubs are all equipped with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, along with panic system buttons and lanyards located throughout the club.
How has providing after-hour services changed over the years?
Kresge: I think the demand has changed because of society’s overall change in the family status of the pet. I also think that people are very busy today, which means that they gravitate toward more convenient services and service providers.
Reynolds: People have come to use technology and can quickly locate our business through the Internet or through smartphone technology. Due to these advances in technology, we are easy to find at any hour, from any place and can respond quickly to requests. It is especially nice to have a customer supply us with their GPS coordinates through our mobile smart phone app so we can pull right up to their vehicle which allows us to get to them faster and more safely for both them and us.
Voskamp: Over the years, 24/7 access has become more and more common in the health club space, which is why we’ve worked very hard to create more offerings and provide better value, to help us stand out from the competition. Our new Fitness On Demand program, for example, allows members to take advantage of group fitness classes day or night, with the simple press of a button. They simply select a class using an in-club kiosk, a life-sized projector screen drops down from the ceiling, and an instructor appears to begin leading the workout. It’s this type of programming that allows our members to stay engaged in their workouts, while still maintaining the same flexibility and freedom they’ve come to know and love.