Jim Bodden came up with the idea to paint an entire house in a day so he could find and keep loyal customers.
Mr. Bodden's 20-odd years of experience in the industry helped him understand how to expand from one person painting one room into 10 painters covering 10 rooms in a single day.
The founder and director of operations of Vancouver-based Wow 1Day Painting achieved great success running his business, but when he decided to turn it into a franchise the challenge became convincing others to recognize the potential.
Mr. Bodden started his first painting company in 1990, to pay for his schooling at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. He spent the next four years painting houses in and around the city, and in 1994, he moved to British Columbia where he worked for a variety of companies while painting houses in his spare time.
In 1998, Mr. Bodden started Bodden Painting in Vancouver. For the next 10 years, he built and ran a successful business. In the spring of 2008, he lost a lot of jobs to painters who were accepting work at low prices to stay in business. Mr. Bodden began to search for a way to differentiate his painting company from the others.
He came to the realization that it often took a single painter weeks to paint a house, and he was convinced he could paint a customer's entire home in one day. To test his concept, Mr. Bodden went to a previous client and floated the idea, with the assurance that quality would not be compromised for the sake of speed.
Once the customer agreed, Mr. Bodden brought six of his people to the job site, and hired another contractor to bring the team up to 10. When the customer returned home, the whole house was painted to a high standard of quality. The positive reaction from the client helped Mr. Bodden decide his idea could be scaled and that he could build his entire business around one-day painting. He spent the next nine months developing systems and creating teams, and in April, 2009 he changed the company name to One Day Painting.
Mr. Bodden then started thinking about a franchise system, so he spent the next six months writing manuals, submitting trademark applications, implementing a booking system and securing the toll free number 1-888-WOW-1DAY.
In the fall of 2009, Mr. Bodden put ads in Entrepreneur magazine and Franchise Marketing magazines but received little interest. The following year he tried business brokers but they didn't like that he failed to sell any franchises up to that point. "The challenge became that even though I had a popular business concept that customers loved I could not find suitable franchise owners to buy into my one-day painting concept."
In July, 2010, Mr. Bodden was getting frustrated and he decided to try to find a business partner who had experience selling franchises. About that time, the founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK, Brian Scudamore, was looking for someone to paint his house. Mr. Scudamore reached out to a few friends for recommendations.
One of Mr. Scudamore's past employees knew about One Day Painting, and Mr. Scudamore was intrigued by the concept so he reached out to Mr. Bodden. Mr. Bodden showed up on time, in a uniform, and in a clean van. Mr. Scudamore liked what he saw and heard so he decided to hire One Day Painting. The day of the job, Mr. Scudamore left for work and he arrived home to an immaculately painted house.
Mr. Scudamore realized that this level of professionalism and the One Day Painting concept could be the international franchise opportunity he had been searching for. "What amazed me was not just that the whole house was painted in one day but that the whole house was done with great care and attention to detail. Speed or quality is good but speed and quality make for wow," Mr. Scudamore explains.
Shortly after that Mr. Scudamore became Mr. Bodden's partner and the company was renamed Wow 1Day Painting.
Mr. Bodden became the first franchisee and Craig Jooste, who was the director of initiatives for 1-800-GOT-JUNK, purchased the second franchise. Mr. Jooste also became the company's managing director, responsible for the corporate operations of the company.
Mr. Scudamore's 22 years of experience with 1-800-GOT-JUNK helped him understand that they weren't looking for painters to become franchise owners – they needed to find business-minded people who understood that quality and speed can be done together.
1-800-GOT-JUNK franchise partners in San Jose and Kansas City bought franchises and two groups from Toronto purchased the franchise rights for 25 of the 42 territories in the Greater Toronto Area. A total of 21 franchisees across North America have purchased 164 territories with 50 per cent of franchises owners coming from outside the 1-800-GOT-JUNK family.
The company plants to sell 150 North American franchises by the end of 2016.
"Not everyone needs junk removal but everyone needs painting every now and again," says Mr. Scudamore. "The beautiful thing about Jim's idea of one-day painting is that once people have their house painted in one day they don't want to go back to the old way of doing things."
Craig Elias is the founder of Shift Selling Inc. and an entrepreneurship instructor at the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary.
This is the latest in a regular series of case studies by a rotating group of business professors from across the country. They appear every Friday on the Small Business website.
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