Trey Alexander was working as a Registered Nurse in an ICU in Virginia when he first found out about Soccer Shots from his friend, Alex Woods, who owns Soccer Shots Houston. In 2013 he purchased his Soccer Shots Raleigh-Durham franchise in North Carolina with his wife, Summer.
What advice would you share with people considering purchasing a franchise? When you are exploring the business and what it takes to be successful, truly think if you can really see yourself doing this. Talk to as many people in the system as will talk with you. Ask them what questions you should be asking and what challenges they face. Then, if at all possible, go and find out about those challenges before you sign.
Why did you decide to go into franchising? I think if you look at the Soccer Shots model, it is extraordinary. Can you imagine having to come up with curriculum for numerous weeks and for numerous ages, build and manage a website, put together a sales folder, find a system to email parents, take online registration and more by yourself? Why would you want to have to deal with all those things when you could be focused on serving your customers and community?
How did you fund your franchise? With one lump payment out of savings. It was a big investment and risk, or what I thought at the time was a huge risk. It, however, has been anything but risky. Being a business owner and part of Soccer Shots has exceeded all of my expectations.
What was it about the franchise model that led you to purchase it? I have been a soccer player all my life. It is how I identified myself for many years. I went and watched a couple of Soccer Shots’ sessions before I signed. Seeing that Soccer Shots took the soccer side of the program seriously was important to me, but what was most impressive was the way they took the game of soccer and transformed it into a way to invest in the children we serve.
What is your work/life balance? We are working hard to put a leadership team together, which will improve my work/life balance. This season, I am focusing much more on the business rather than putting so much of my attention in the business. Even with that said, I work from 7am to 5pm, come home and spend time with my family, and then work from 9:30pm to midnight most days. Weekends are a little slower depending on what time of the season it is. I would say I now work 65 to 70 hours a week. In the beginning I worked at least 80-85 hour weeks since I was trying to learn the business and make sure that we left nothing to chance. I was the Admin, Salesman, Coach, Director, and every other title there is. Wearing all those hats required a lot of time. As far as vacation goes, our seasons are set up as such that we get down time in between them. I would say I get a couple of weeks a year to recharge my batteries.
Are you on site daily or can you work remotely? I am in the office every day. I think it’s beneficial for my team to see how I work, my passion for the business, and the hours I put in. I could work remotely with Soccer Shots because of all the systems it has in place. I tried it for a while, but ultimately the distractions ended up causing me to work slower, which led to my working longer hours.
What is it that you like best about owning your franchise? From a Business perspective, I love that I can create something truly exceptional. Soccer Shots is a soccer experience for children. From the moment they hear about or see something about Soccer Shots Raleigh until the moment they finish their last class with us, we want parents and children to want to tell their friends about who we are and what we do. From a personal perspective, I love that I have the freedom to go see my son play sports and to determine how fast or slow I want to grow as a company, how little or how much I want to be involved in the day-to-day operations, and that I get to invest in children and their families way beyond the game of soccer.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a franchisee? The most difficult part of the business is managing people. It can be maddening at times, but in the same breath, it can be very rewarding. It’s such a great feeling to see our coaches really grow not only as coaches but as a confident individuals after working with them.
What kind of support did you most appreciate from your franchisor? I initially saw the corporate team as higher ups, but as time has gone on I feel we have more of a mentoring relationship or friendship. I have had lots of conversations with all five of them. They have my best interest at heart in every situation. They want to hear my concerns and ultimately help me succeed. I am grateful that they have shared this amazing idea and company with others and for the time they have invested in me.
What kind of support do you get from fellow franchisees? I have received a lot of support from the community. It is great to share ideas we have and strive to push each other to the next level. We lean on and grow with each other. There is no doubt crew teams will always out row kayaks.
How long did it take to make a profit? We were profitable in our first season.
Where do you see your business in the next five years? In 2021 we want to be serving 20,000 children a year.
To see how Soccer Shots’ franchisees, including Trey, rate it in a variety of crucial areas such as leadership, culture, training and support, financial outlook, and franchisee community, click here.
If you are interested in learning what it takes to invest in a franchise and how to do so wisely, visit FBR’s Franchise Buyer’s Toolkit. To see more franchises that are ranked highly by their franchisees click here.