Franchising opportunities abound in region |

Franchising opportunities abound in region

Duane Johnson
Carl Gerhardt

A recent report released by the International Franchise Association, a resource for potential franchisees, projects Nevada will be the third best state for franchise growth in 2017.

Carl Gerhardt, a retired franchise owner and volunteer mentor for SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) Northern Nevada 415 Chapter as well as a Reno franchise business consultant affiliated with FranNet, says franchise opportunities are in abundance, especially with northern Nevada’s resurgent economy.

“We’re seeing the economic growth has put us on the map,” Gerhardt said in a telephone interview with NNBW. “It has spawned a lot of opportunities for small business.”

Gerhardt is presenting a free seminar, “Debunking the Franchise Myths: More than Burgers and Fries” Tuesday, June 20 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Innevation Center, 450 Sinclair St., in Reno. For details, go online at:

Gerhardt also will reveal at the seminar five franchise opportunities that are targeting Reno for expansion.

Although he declined to give specific companies at this time, he did reveal a few industries that can be good investments for potential franchisees.

The service industry, Gerhardt contends, is becoming a hotbed for franchising opportunities. Some of the franchises he mentioned were cleaning/janitorial services, senior and general health care, beauty and hair cutting, health and fitness, and food-related entities — not just fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s as the seminar title suggests.

When researching an opportunity, Gerhardt stresses that it is important for the potential franchisee to follow opportunity that fits their personality traits. Gerhardt added that FranNet, for example, offers a personal franchise assessment to match a potential owner with a franchise that best fits their needs.

“About 75 percent of franchise owners actually end up with a franchise that was different than they originally intended,” he said.

For instance, Gerhardt cited one client he consulted with who initially had his heart set on owning a UPS franchise. But after taking a personality test, ended up turning to a dental care franchise.

Another aspect Gerhardt said he tells clients, is to understand the financial commitment it takes to own a franchise. While a franchisee will need to commit a good chunk of their own money at least to start, there are other sources of financing options. One lesser-known resource available for franchisees is Rollovers for Business Start-ups (or ROBS) that can allow franchisees to use their own retirement accounts to finance a franchise.

“If there’s a franchise worth looking at or buying one financing option is using one’s 401(k) plan or IRA money,” Gerhardt said. “It’s a perfectly legal financing option.”

One other key component he adds that a franchise owner may need to understand is time involved with the franchise. Some opportunities allow franchisees an absentee ownership, while others require full-time dedication. Some franchises need multiple locations to be successful.

For a database of franchise opportunities or for a resource guide, visit the IFA’s website at: Gerhardt’s FranNet web site is available at

A look at a few franchises interested in expanding to northern Nevada:

Signal 88 Security: Founded in 2003, it has its corporate headquarters in Omaha, Neb. The company specializes in roving, personnel and technological security services for multifamily, and commercial properties, as well as sporting and other public events.

“One advantage of having a Signal 88 Security franchise that gives the franchise owner control of his locale, with the backing of the company,” said Kevin Jones, chief development officer of Signal 88 Security in a phone interview with NNBW.

Signal 88 currently has 300 territories worldwide with approximately 120 franchise owners in U.S. and Canada, including western cities such as Denver, Phoenix and now Las Vegas.

Jones indicated the security services company is an attractive option for military veterans and former or retired law enforcement personnel.

The company requires a franchise fee of at least $45,000, included in an initial investment of $73,000 to $268,000. Jones says Signal 88 Security offers a variety of financing options for potential franchisees, such as SBA or home equity loans.

Even with a competitive security service market of over $23 billion, Jones indicated the company wouldn’t shy away from franchise opportunities.

“Reno, like most cities, is always going to have a great need for security services,” he said.

Famous Toastery: The successful restaurant chain, founded by Brian Burchill and Robert Maynard in 2005 in Huntersville, N.C., serves fresh-made breakfast menus. It has branched out to franchises along the East Coast including North and South Carolina, Florida, and New York. Maynard said in a phone interview with NNBW, that the company has fielded inquiries in the West including some in northern Nevada. The prospect of moving west intrigues Maynard and should do the same for franchisees, with its specialized breakfast menu.

“We’ve been approached out (in northern Nevada),” Maynard said. “There’s not a lot of competition to what we do. There’s Peg’s Glorified Ham N’ Eggs, which appears to be really successful, but after that there’s not much competition for what we do.”

Famous Toastery’s franchise fee is $40,000, plus at least $50,000 to $1 million for working capital. The company also provides a 10-week training course for franchise owners and staff.

“It would be a great experience for someone with the right business acumen,” Maynard said. “We want people who are really passionate about what they do.”

Showhomes: The franchise, headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., is a homestaging provider for high-end residential properties and has locations in 18 states and 60 offices nationwide. A group led by chief operating officer Matt Kelton, which quickly made the business profitable, purchased the company in 2005. It has helped sell more than 25,000 properties worth a total of $8.5 billion.

Kelton said the company has about 20 percent share in the home-staging market. The company is eager to get in the northern Nevada market.

“We need people with sales experience and that is extremely detail-oriented,” Kelton said, in a phone interview with NNBW. “It’s a good opportunity for couples. We have several husband-and-wife teams that own franchises.”

Kelton added that Nevada’s growing economy makes it a good time to look for franchise opportunities in the area.

“I used to live in the area, and it’s a real nice market that has a great lifestyle.”


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