RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Get Spiffy, the on-demand vehicle maintenance startup run by serial investor and entrepreneur Scot Wingo, is entering a new phase of growth with the help of a quick-starting franchise program.
“The benefit is it allows us to expand faster and reach customers (both fleet and consumer) in areas that would take us years to get to, if ever,” Wingo tells The Skinny.
“The risk is that franchisees don’t deliver the same high quality service that we do – that could hurt the brand. We’ve tried to put 5-6 levels of checks and balances in there to avoid this one – we’re watching it very very closely. All that being said, we think the rewards outweigh the risks which is why we’re excited to announce this first group of franchisees.”
The franchise locations include:
• Wilmington, DE
• San Jose, CA
• Cincinnati, OH
• Greenville, SC
• Columbia, SC
• Charleston, SC
• Greensboro/Winston-Salem, NC
Wingo and company have continued to expand aggressively – from new locations to more services – once the initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic passed and businesses began to reopen. And Spiffy has plans for its own non-franchise growth.
The company says it “will continue to add non-franchise markets in the top fifty largest US cities.”
Our Q&A about the program:
- According to your map at your website, it appears there are some 40 markets remaining for franchise opps – correct? Might you add more later?
“That map is our suggestions for areas we’d like to see developed, it’s not meant to be comprehensive. Our quick math is that there are 250-400 markets that we think would be great across the US for possible Spiffy franchises.”
- What is the fee for obtaining a franchise? What is the length of agreement? Do you split profits/fees?
Like any franchise, we have a mix of up-front fees (for exclusivity in a market, training, etc.) and revenue share.
- An owner of two restaurant franchises told me one he didn’t make any real money due to fees, charges, costs of supplies, labor, etc. Do you offer your franchise partners any guarantees on margins/profits? what guidance do you offer to help make them successful?
Since the franchisee is running the business and make a lot of decisions that impact the profitability, we’re not able to guarantee margins or profits. That being said, as part of the process, we’ve shared the results from our operations which gave them confidence this model will work.
As part of franchising we reviewed a lot of models and have done our best to settle on a model that’s fair – that aligns us for success. It’s interesting, there may not seem to be a lot of similarity between ChannelAdvisor [where Wingo was cofounder and CEO for years] and Spiffy franchising, but a lot of what I learned from our pricing there and e-commerce marketplaces has fed into this. I’m confident we have a model that works for everyone and if we do get feedback from our partners, we’re open to considering changes.
- I see you offer trucks to franchises – how many? is number based on business/growth assumptions?
Part of our franchise offering is not only the software platform we’ve developed, the business model, the marketing, brand, etc. it’s also the hardware, or the van platform we have built and optimized. Because we want to have a consistent experience, franchisees have to use vans that Spiffy has built. They have flexibility where they buy the vans and if they lease vs. buy, but we need to outfit it with our equipment.
The number of vans each franchisee is up to them. We recommend to at least start with two, but then to have a plan to scale up from there.
- Training, support, marketing all from spiffy – is the cost to you/company recovered through franchise fee? Is there a recurring charge to franchise buyers for these services?
The up-front fee covers all the training and launch support, the ongoing revenue share covers marketing and ongoing support.
- Who hires and trains workers for field operations? Are they Spiffy employees?
They are hired and managed by the franchisee. As part of our launch training, we’ve been training the manager and a couple of employees. Going forward, they can either train future employees, or send them through “Spiffy U” – we have provided franchisees with copious amounts of training materials that can be delivered in-person or virtually that teach ‘the Spiffy way’.
- You are expanding to 7 markets with 5 franchises – who got 2 markets?
A group in SC took all three SC markets (Greenville, Columbia, Charleston) – that was our first ‘regional franchisee’ group.