By the numbers
Franchises have a significant effect on the U.S. economy, according to 2011 data:
8.1 million – Jobs at franchises
736,226 – Franchise establishments
$781 billion – Direct and indirect economic output of franchised businesses
$461 billion – Gross domestic product of franchised businesses
Source: Intl. Franchise Association
Buying a franchise can be a fast track to success.
Typically, the national company has worked out the operation’s kinks and established a national name, paving the way for relative newcomers to flourish.
But when Randal and Cory Troutner last month bought the local Rainbow International Restoration & Cleaning franchise, they were anything but unknown in the community.
They are the second and third generations to run C. William Troutner Inc., a Fort Wayne company that has been repairing water, fire and storm damage in local homes and businesses for 34 years.
Water cleanup might be prompted by citywide flooding or simply a home water heater or toilet water supply line gone bad.
Despite their company’s solid reputation, the Troutners saw advantages in going the franchise route.
Cory Troutner, operations director, said his company at 2014 S. Calhoun St. will be able to draw support from eight fellow franchises within 100 miles in the event of a local catastrophe. If the event is even larger – a Hurricane Katrina-sized disaster, perhaps – the company could request help from the more than 300 Rainbow-affiliated businesses nationwide.
The partnership will also generate additional clients for Troutner. Rainbow has some national accounts with insurance companies, which recommend franchisees to clients with water, fire or other damage.
Troutner, which also does remodeling projects, was looking for expertise in products and processes.
Rainbow tests equipment and recommends the best performers to its affiliates. Franchisees buy machines to dry standing water, for example, directly from the manufacturers. Cory Troutner appreciates that Rainbow doesn’t put its brand on inferior equipment, then require franchises to buy it.
“We would never have the ability to physically test them all on our own like we did at Rainbow (headquarters),” he said. “We’d have to take the word of the salesman.”
Cory Troutner also appreciates that Rainbow’s code of ethics closely matches the values established by his grandfather, C. William “Bill” Troutner, who founded the company in 1978. Both emphasize that workers should have a neat appearance and treat customers with respect.
Rainbow had approached the company about four years ago, trying to get it to join the network.
David Wills, a Rainbow franchise consultant, works with 42 franchisees, including Troutner.
“As we grow our brand in different markets, we’re always looking for good-quality people,” he said Wednesday. “And they just really seem to fit the bill.”
The decision was tough, but the Troutners were persuaded by the amount of training and access to technical advice and support that come with the relationship.
Cory Troutner recently received training in removing odors caused by fire and mildew.