Two of the following franchise concepts could still be considered new, and the third might best be described as intermediate, but whatever the date they launched, these three systems demonstrate that the entrepreneurs behind them believe Canada’s franchise industry is the right place for investors.
When she worked in the high-tech world, Rebecca Page found lots of executives who weren’t getting what they paid for. It had nothing to do with computers, but everything do to with services for their home: house cleaning, pet sitting, and home checks.
So she left behind the world of bits and bytes, and in 2001, started Concierge Home Services from her own home in Ottawa, Ontario. Page began franchising in 2008, and now has six franchise locations, four of which are in the Ottawa area, along with one in Toronto and one in Milton, Ontario. “I want to open another four franchises in 2017,” says Page. “We’re looking at Ontario, in Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Guelph.”
Concierge Home Services is strictly residential, and offers regular housecleaning, carpet cleaning, move-out cleaning or cleaning when a property is staged, pet sitting, home checks, window washing, and more. With this wide range of services, the system offers one-stop-shopping and just one invoice, Page explains.
The cost of a franchise is $20,000, and training takes two weeks, says Page. There’s one week of training in Ottawa, and another week of online training that new franchisees can undertake at home. More women than men express an interest in investing in a Concierge Home Services franchise, Page continues, but all have varied backgrounds, including those who are 50-55 and have taken an early career retirement, but don’t want to stop working altogether. Franchisees typically charge $90-$130 a bi-weekly house cleaning visit. All service quotes are done in the client’s home using an online quote tool, and the customer base is wide-ranging, says Page.
Because franchisees and their staff will be visiting private residences, they must be bonded, and Concierge Home Services uses Triton Canada, which specializes in pre-employment screening, to conduct background checks. Liability insurance is set at $2 million. As for the qualities Page looks for in an ideal franchisee, she says, “It’s those soft skills. Attitude is so much of it. We’re so much about building relationships with our clients.”
And what those relationships and system confer, she says, are real, tangible benefits. The system is designed to be home-based, so there are lower overhead costs, and equipment purchases are minimal. In addition, “There’s such a tremendous opportunity for growth in this business,” says Page.
Many think that university students have terrible diets, but not all of them eat cold pizza for breakfast and macaroni and cheese four nights a week. Wyatt and Aiden Booth certainly didn’t when they were studying at Western University in London, Ontario.
It was in London in 2015 that the brothers started what is now Hopscotch, a system that offers premium, healthy food with a fast service orientation. Co-founder Wyatt Booth says there are options for everyone at Hopscotch, including gluten-free and vegan menu items.
That first location the Booths opened in London is still there, but headquarters are now in Toronto, with one corporate store downtown. There are three new Hopscotch stores on the way, one of which will be the first franchise unit, marking the start of what the company expects to be national expansion in the next several years. Other plans for expansion include the U.S., says Booth, mentioning the Chicago and Los Angeles markets. Hopscotch would prefer master franchise arrangements, Booth continues, but where it works, single franchises are also available. The cost of a turnkey franchise is $250,000 to $450,000, and the target customer is anyone who likes good, healthy food.
As for who’s considering investing in a Hopscotch franchise opportunity, Booth says, “We’ve seen some Millenials who want to be their own boss.” Other potential franchisees include those who’ve had their own franchises before, and more men than women are considering a Hopscotch investment at this point, he notes. Training takes five weeks in-store and in class in Toronto, and Hopscotch provides several more weeks of in-store guidance and instruction following an opening.
Booth is looking for franchisees who have a passion for the brand and the food Hopscotch serves, and who have the necessary financing. Some business experience would be nice to have, too, as would ideas about where they want to locate. “Right now, our focus is on urban Canada,” he says. “We think big cities are our best option.”
The benefits of an investment with Hopscotch are many, says Booth. It’s an opportunity to enter the fast casual food sector with a new, growing brand; there’s extensive community involvement, which is great for customer relations; and Hopscotch just won a design award for its restaurant interiors.
Within the next two years, Mark Tustin, Executive Vice President of Wellnessnews Canada, Inc., is looking to expand Wellnessnews Choices for Healthy Living® across the country. After the Canadian expansion, he plans to move his system into the United States.
Anna Luinenburg, founder of Wellnessnews Choices for Healthy Living®, recognized a need to help local health practitioners get their marketing messages into medical office and hospital waiting rooms. And so, in 2013, Wellnessnews Choices for Healthy Living® was born.
This well-designed newsletter publication is a neighbourhood source of alternative solutions for improving one’s health and well-being. All of these solutions are showcased across multiple platforms including print, online, and social media. Each Community print publication is unique, explains Tustin, keeping it very local. Newsletter Health Tips typically run about 150 words and are written by local health practitioners. Readers are then directed to their respective Community Wellnessnews website.
Wellnessnews Choices for Healthy Living® franchises are found throughout Manitoba and on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. “We have interest from across the country,” says Tustin. The cost of a single unit franchise for the home-based system is $10,900 and the target reader, he explains, is anyone who is looking to improve his/her well-being.
Franchisees Isabella and Teresa Ostman, Central Vancouver Island, BC, saw the ground floor opportunity for residual income and secured their Community editions. “Over the next year, we are expanding to the surrounding areas. We feel fortunate to provide the tools for health care providers and businesses to reach their target audience and to help them share their wealth and knowledge with the people of the community,” says Teresa Ostman.
Tustin is seeking highly motivated, organized investors with a passion for the wellness industry and experience in business-to-business sales. Training in Winnipeg lasts for three days, with ongoing continued training and support.
The benefits of investing with Wellnessnews Choices for Healthy Living® are significant, says Tustin. It provides a proven business model, great corporate support, and the opportunity for franchisees to be their own boss while working from home.
“It is truly a lifestyle business,” he says, noting that health and wellness is a multi-billion dollar a year industry, with approximately 90 percent of Canadians managing a health condition. These individuals are looking for local and alternative approaches for improving their lives. “We are providing that gateway for this industry to reach their niche demographic,” Tustin says.
By David Chilton Saggers