Ty and Crystal Gipson opened their Minuteman Press franchise location in Georgetown, TX in August 2006. At the time they joined the ranks of many franchisees who operate their business as a husband and wife team. Crystal shared her feelings about the franchising experience with Franchise Business Review.
What factors led you to enter franchising? My husband and I were looking for an opportunity to start our own venture. We considered mortgages, car washes, etc. I personally insisted on choosing a franchise operation because of the support system it offered. I felt that there was no point in us trying to recreate the wheel of success that had already been laid out for us. We just needed to pick it up, make it our own, and do the work.
What is it that you like best about owning your franchise? Personally and professionally, I am proud of what we have built together. Some mornings we step back as we are pulling into the parking lot and say, Wow, we did this. We are proud of offering a stable, happy, an energetic work environment for our staff.
Why did you select the franchise you did? We were aware of Minuteman Press from another local location and spoke with the owner there at length. Printing and marketing services appeared to have the best longevity and flexibility necessary to grow our business as we needed. Minuteman Press as a franchise was far and above positioned as the best franchise opportunity. They are fair with royalties, offered a ton of support, and allow the owners to personalize their business to their market.
What advice would you share with people considering purchasing a franchise? Talk with other owners. Make sure your financing is in line to support the ramp up time. Don’t go in with blinders on as to the amount of work or investment that is needed. Decide early on if you are going to do the work and the management, or if you are going to hire for it.
What is your work/life balance? Work/life balance for us in the beginning was non-existent, but that was a choice we made. Our plan was to jump in completely, and build at record speed. There were intense hours put in, no vacation, and little to no family time, but we didn’t have kids at the time. We have no regrets whatsoever about the time we invested in building our business. Now, our staff is built, delegation is in place, and work/life balance is good. We typically work 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday and have vacations as the opportunity comes up. We are also able to work around our daughter’s school events and activities. Life is good.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a franchisee? By far, the most challenging is when things go wrong, there is no one else to fix it, just you. We personally take every job to heart and when you let someone down, it stings. You do the best you can to handle the situation and move on.
What kind of support did you most appreciate from your franchisor? The involvement of the Minuteman Press local support staff and field representative was key at the beginning. Training was helpful and of course necessary, but we could not have done it in real life without the field rep. Other owners also served as mentors when we had questions, and now we are happy to do the same for other owners who are just coming in.
What guidance do you have for a franchisee in his first year of business? Be involved and have defined roles if you are going in with a spouse or business partner. It can be stressful if you are not clear with each other. Focus on developing business relationships, but start small. Don’t go after the biggest fish first! You don’t always get a second chance at those customers and you may not be ready to handle the workload or have the knowledge base yet. Build your customer base with all levels of work and industries.
Would you share your 2016 gross revenue? $2.5 million.
To see how the Gipsons and other Minuteman Press franchisees rate it in a variety of crucial areas such as leadership, culture, training and support, financial outlook, and franchisee community, click here.
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