Former Sales Manager Leverages Skills to Launch Two Budget Blinds Franchise Locations

budget blinds franchise owner elena arini

Sometimes, entrepreneurial candidates have a pretty good idea of what they want in a business opportunity when they consider franchise ownership. Such is the case with Elena Arini, the proud owner of two Budget Blinds franchise operations in Macomb, Michigan. Elena had previous in-category sales experience in the window business, which she parlayed into a lightning-fast start. So fast, she opened her second location just six weeks after launching her first!

When researching Budget Blinds, she focused on realistic expectations for franchisees and discovered that the training and support were far superior to competing brands. In her first year as a franchisee, Elena had an astonishing 75% closing rate for new business, earning herself a round trip to Cannes, France. As for others who wish to explore franchise ownership, she advises thorough due diligence—especially the financials. That, and finding something you’re passionate about. It certainly worked out for Elena. She says her only regret is that she didn’t pursue business ownership sooner.

elena alini budget blinds franchise ownerToday, Elena is a living example of the saying: if you follow your passion, you’ll never work a day in your life. We asked Elena to share her journey to franchise ownership. 

Why did you purchase a franchise rather than start an independent business?

I purchased from Home Franchise Concepts after researching different ways to become self-employed and make a good living without a brick-and-mortar store. With Budget Blinds, overhead is minimal, and the concept and support offered are leaps and bounds better than those of their direct competitors.

Did you have a specific industry or brand in mind from the start?

I have a passion for design and spent years as a sales manager in the window business. Based on my experience and expertise, Budget Blinds seemed almost made for me when a former colleague suggested I look into it.

Of your prior skills and experiences, which were most helpful in launching and operating your new business?

My in-home sales experience really helped me close business immediately. My background in sales management made a big difference on the business side of things. I’ve always felt that to succeed in sales, you have to love what you do and have a strong desire to help people!

When researching franchises to buy, what criteria mattered to you most?

I looked into different franchise rankings, such as Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list, Fortune, the BBB, and other sources that evaluate franchising’s business models. In my case, speaking with fellow franchisees was most helpful, especially since I had never owned a business myself.

Did you use FBR’s website or download franchisee satisfaction reports?

I sure did! I conducted a lot of research on FBR’s site comparing franchise opportunities, and I downloaded the Budget Blinds Franchisee Satisfaction Report, which was very informative. 

Did you speak with other Budget Blinds franchise owners? Which questions did you ask?

Yes, absolutely. I asked questions about the brand’s financials, how quickly I could expect money to come in, and break-even averages. I wanted to understand the realistic expectations for franchisees and who I should speak to regarding other specific intricacies of the business. For the most part, all of the franchisees I spoke with were happy. And I’ve finally reached a point in my life where I only want to do things that make me happy.

Which questions did you ask the franchisor?

Everything about finances, who they partnered with, how many franchisees have gone out of business, and why. I was keen to find out exactly what I should expect from day one and so on.

What were your biggest challenges when you started out, and how did you overcome them?

Since I take care of everything minus installs, it was really challenging to make sure everything was handled on the administrative end. My goal was to make a sale with everyone I got in front of, and in my first month my closing rate was around 75%. But with all that new business comes paperwork, ordering, and follow-up. I have now learned how to prioritize my tasks so I can maximize the profits coming in without jeopardizing the reputation of my branch.

How does the Budget Blinds franchise support and encourage your success?

I can’t tell you how great it is to have the support I received, especially when I was first starting out. Budget Blinds is a turnkey business. I only needed to follow the steps to succeed. Home Franchise Concepts has a vested interest in helping you succeed and offers assistance with all aspects of business ownership—everything from workshops about selling to managing your business and marketing.

What are you most proud of and why?

I am most proud to have purchased my second territory about six weeks after opening my first location. I knew it felt right, and the second unit would also be super successful. Thanks to my closing rate and earnings, I even won an all-expenses-paid trip to Cannes, France! I only had about five and a half months to qualify for this prize, but I wanted it so badly that I made it just four!

What advice would you give to new or potential Budget Blinds franchise buyers?

I would strongly advise them to do their research and due diligence and find a franchisor that wants to put you on the fast track to be successful. Read articles about the parent company and evaluate different satisfaction reports and ratings. Choose one that fits your lifestyle and business ownership goals. In my case, it worked out perfectly, and Home Franchise Concepts feels like home to me! My biggest regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.

For more information on the Budget Blinds franchise opportunity, visit