Joel Wilder, of DeBary, Florida opened his Cruise Planners franchise in 2005. “Business is Great!” says Wilder having no regrets opening up his franchise business and leaving a long term career as an RN. In this article, Joel shares his perspective on what it is like owning a Cruise Planners franchise and some valuable advice for those interested starting a travel agency franchise location of your own. Excerpts from the following interview with Wilder are featured in FBR’s latest Digital Guide issue.
Name: Joel Wilder
Location: DeBary, Florida
Franchise owner since: 2005
Cruise Planners is my full time job. I'm normally at my desk by 8 AM, catching up on email, making payments, etc. My poodles and I go on a walk each morning before the phone starts to ring. Then I seize the day as it comes! I'm generally done by 5:30 PM.
We wanted to own a small business that would generate some extra income after retirement. Little did we know that I would need to work full time with it so quickly!
The search took about 4 months. I knew we wanted to own a travel agency type of franchise. It was just a process of narrowing down the choices. Phone interviews, company reviews and franchise documents were a big part of how we narrowed the choices.
Cruise Planners wasn't the first opportunity we looked at. I honestly didn't know the name when we first started looking. They quickly rose to the top of all the travel franchises we researched.
I was an operating room RN for over 25 years and spent the last several years in administration. I left that career after 4 years of owning my Cruise Planners franchise.
Cruise Planners has this uncanny knack for branding and advertising for their franchisees. I think the final decision was influenced by the fact that the corporate office does not sell travel and does not compete against their own franchisees.
I did. And yes they did have an impact on my decision.
I do participate every year as I think it's important that I share my experiences with other potential franchisees. I'm sure my feedback is heard!
By leveraging the brand, being an Amex travel representative, outstanding marketing department and constant opportunities to learn!
I would have set up an LLC or other corporate entity from the beginning instead of sole proprietorship. That would have been so much easier!
Getting clients! Also working full time as an RN while Cruise Planners grew was a challenge.
Yes, I'm a member of our local chamber of commerce. We also attend various functions in the community for networking.
Do your research! Call other franchise owners and ask questions. Cruise Planners is a wonderful opportunity!
For more information on Cruise Planners franchise opportunities,
Call: (888) 582-2150
George Hamilton was nominated for a 2022 Rock Star Award by the Snap-on Tools leadership team under the Veteran-Owned category. He was chosen by Franchise Business Review from among 200+ nominations for his outstanding achievements as a Snap-on Tools franchise owner in Saint Charles, IL.