Episode #92:

Women in Franchising with Phyllis Pieri

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In this informative episode, Caterina is joined by a very special guest and Franchising Expert, Phyllis Pieri. The two women discuss what kind of entrepreneurs are best for running a franchise, how women entrepreneurs can get started in franchising, and the levels of investments required to start a franchising journey. Listen now to find out what you didn’t know that you didn’t know about franchising!


Phyllis Pieri is a franchise expert and mentor, speaker and International Bestselling Author. She uses her passion for people and her 35+ years in the franchise industry to guide fledgling entrepreneurs through the franchise selection process.
She has:
Been a franchise owner
Sold Franchises
Helped people start a franchise
Today she helps people find the Perfect Match Franchise
Or….turn their business into a franchise

Phyllis is a native Californian, spent 20 years in WA and then returned back home to Mission Viejo in 2019 to be “grammy.” She has become very active with her local Chamber of Commerce in MIssion Viejo and loves being of service. She is being invited to speak on more stages and is working on another book and has a signature course in development, the Ultimate Franchise Blueprint.

Connect with Phyllis

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Expand Your Fempire Podcast #92 Transcript


Women in Franchising with Phyllis Pieri

Welcome to Expand your Fempire with Caterina Rando, the podcast for women in business on a mission. Sharing ideas to support you to grow and thrive. Now here’s your host, Caterina Rando.

[00:00:00] Caterina Rando: This is Caterina Rando, and welcome back to another episode of the Expand Your Fempire Podcast. I am blissing to be with you today because I have a very special guest, my good friend Phyllis Pieri, and she is a franchise expert extraordinaire. You’ve probably thought about franchising, you probably of course know something about franchising. Well, we’re gonna dispel all the myths, and we’re going to talk about this today because franchise may be something for you, for your clients in the future if you have business clients. Or as you build wealth, franchising is a great place to put your money to cultivate more wealth. Phyllis, I’m so happy to have you with us today.

[00:01:17] Phyllis Piero: Thank you, Caterina. I’m super happy to be here. We’re going to have some fun today.

[00:01:23] Caterina Rando: Yes. Now, Phyllis, I know you do all things franchising. You help people buy their franchises, help them figure out what the best match is for them. Before we talk about all of that, let’s hear a little bit about you. Tell me a little bit about your background, and then I want to find out about your entrepreneurial journey.

[00:01:43] Phyllis Piero: Okay. So interestingly enough, I grew up in San Jose, California, and I know you’re up in the city. And I came from a very entrepreneurial family. My grandfather owned a cannery in San Jose called San Jose Can, and my other grandfather was a cattleman in Bakersfield. So it was a very interesting way to grow up, because nobody in my family really had a job. They were all entrepreneurs. And I really believe that those entrepreneurial genes run very deep. As a kid, my mom built a house on the golf course in San Jose, and I had a really neat playhouse. But what I really liked was my general store that I created outside of the Playhouse.

[00:02:27] Caterina Rando: So when you were a kid then, instead of playing house or playing dolls, you were playing entrepreneur.

[00:02:35] Phyllis Piero: I was playing entrepreneur.

[00:02:37] Caterina Rando: Love it!

[00:02:38] Phyllis Piero: I even did a lemonade stand on the golf course, because my grandparents live in San Francisco and I used to drive up and see them. And we would drive by the Grace Cathedral, which was a beautiful Episcopal church and I was episcopalian by default, I guess, and our church didn’t have a stained glass window. So I said to my mom one day “you know, our church should have a stained glass window”. She said “well, why don’t you raise some money to have one made?” I went “okay”. So I had a lemonade stand on the golf course and raised enough money. Now, mind you, I was 10, but I raised enough money for them to have a little tiny stained glass window at the church.

[00:03:22] Caterina Rando: That is amazing. Phyllis that is a great story. And I’m sure that got you going both with your entrepreneurship and your philanthropy at the same time.

[00:03:34] Phyllis Piero: Yes, absolutely. Yeah, it was just kind of natural.

[00:03:37] Caterina Rando: You’re raised in an entrepreneurial family, you already are feeling good about entrepreneurship. Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey.

[00:03:45] Phyllis Piero: So I got married at the age of 18 and unfortunately it wasn’t a successful –I know, right– it wasn’t a successful marriage. However, at the age of 21, I didn’t go to college because I got married. And in those days you either go to college or you get married, and I got married. So now I found myself 21 years old with no college degree and no job. So my sister called me and said “Hey, our franchise company is stuffing envelopes for a trade show, will you come and help us?” I went “sure.” So that’s where my journey in franchising began. I went to the office, I stuffed envelopes. Then they asked me to work the trade show. I did that. Now, mind you I’m 21, never been a business, and the sales guy comes in and he hands me a stack of blue cards. And he says “would you please call these people and book appointments for me?” I went “sure.” One of the things I realized over the years is I’ve always said yes. “Sure, I’ll try that”. Because I’ve always been willing. It’s just part of my makeup. And that started me on my career in the franchise industry. I worked there for a couple of years. I found a new partner. We ended up buying a Sir Speedy in downtown San Francisco. Sir Speedy Printing. People would say I have ink in my blood. Well nowadays everything’s digital, but in those days, you know, we used to laugh and say we had ink in our blood. So that really started me on my career in the franchise world. And I believe that one of the reasons that I’m so passionate about franchising is because I started my career in the industry and working at a corporate headquarters, I got to see the company work so hard to help their franchise owners be successful. That I saw that firsthand, it wasn’t something that I heard they said they did, I experienced it with my own locations and I also watched it firsthand. So that’s why I’ve always loved that industry.

[00:05:43] Caterina Rando: At someplace along the way you switched from being a franchise owner, and maybe you still own franchises, I don’t know, but to being someone who helps other people.

[00:05:52] Phyllis Piero: I’ve owned a franchise, I’ve helped people decide on a printing franchise, which I loved. And then about 20 years ago, I had the opportunity to start my own business and match people up. And I really love that because I love the variety, I love getting to know all the companies, and I loved helping people make really good choices. I wasn’t trying to sell them anything. I was trying to really make a good match. And, you know, people come to me with an idea of what they think they want, and they end up getting into something totally different. One because they don’t know it exists, two they don’t understand the characteristics of the business that they were considering. And so it’s a, it’s a great learning experience for both of us.

[00:06:38] Caterina Rando: Phyllis, can you give me a couple of examples of somebody who comes to you and what’s going on with them and what kind of franchise they end up investing in?

[00:06:50] Phyllis Piero: So I had a gentleman come to me who was retired, and he had been in the car industry. He was a turnaround guy for dealerships. Super nice guy, but he knew he was too young to retire and he really wanted to get into storage units. And the more I got to know him, the more I realized that he’d be bored out of his goard doing storage units, because he wouldn’t have any interaction with people. And when I got to know him, one of the things he talked about is how much he loved people. And he said “you know, I would always remember their anniversary and if they had a baby and if it was their birthday”. And so his employees always loved him. Well, as it turned out, it took us a couple of years because there were certain things that I was looking for that were semi-absentee that weren’t a good fit. And then all of a sudden Supercuts decided to sell all their company stores. Now that was a great opportunity for him. And one of the things that people need to realize is that Supercuts was a publicly held company, and they had a new CEO came in, and he looked at the numbers, and he said “okay, we’ve got 650 corporate stores and the rest are franchises. And the corporate stores are not doing as well as the franchise stores”. And the reason was that they knew when the managers were coming in, so they’d be on their best behavior, but nobody is going to run an operation like the owner. So my client ended up buying 12 Supercuts. And I remember he called me from the bank and he said “Phyllis, remind me why I am spending this money to buy these 12 Supercuts”. I said “because I want to keep you young and vital”. And he laughed and said “you’re absolutely right”. And I do believe that. I do believe that retirement is not good for your health. I really feel that doing something, it’s not a full-time job, he’s got his family involved, it’s going to be a family legacy. He’s been able to defer some of his inheritance to his kids. But he gets to do what he loves, which is go in and talk to the hairdressers and “oh, how’s Billy” and “gee, your anniversary is coming up” and all of those things. So it’s a really nice match for him.

[00:08:56] Caterina Rando: And he doesn’t know how to cut hair, right?

[00:08:58] Phyllis Piero: No. And nor will he ever know, and nor does he want to or need to.

[00:09:02] Caterina Rando: Now this show, you know, we’re all about serving the ladies, and I know you’ve served a lot of ladies. And one of the things I love about franchising is it’s a way for a woman to get in business when maybe she doesn’t have a lot of business experience. Can you tell me about one or two of the ladies that you’ve put in franchises?

[00:09:23] Phyllis Piero: Right. So one of the things that’s wonderful for women is we have a lot of businesses that have to do with helping children. So if they’ve come from that realm, they can get into a franchise for maybe $75,000 where they are managing the tutors. Like I’ve got one where she went into a tutoring franchise and the franchise is called tutor doctor. And what they do is she will go out to the people’s homes, and she would assess the home and the student, and then their philosophy was they wanted to match up the tutor with the student. So she would go back to her office and she would go through her database, and let’s say that she was going to tutor Susie, and Susie loved ballet, she would go back and she would find maybe a tutor that was at the college that was taking dance. And so they would match the tutor and the child up so that there was some synergy with them, and they would relate to them, and they would excel at whatever they were doing. So it was about matching the people up. Another one, STEM is very big. So a lot of these franchises, especially when it comes to kids, they can either have a location or they can lease out like the Boys and Girls Clubs or they can bring in art. There’s a group called Abracadoodle. It’s an art franchise, and what they do is they can actually take over all the curriculum for art in the school. So there’s lots of different ways that people can get involved. And health and wellness is really big in franchising now. So it could be, they want a spa. Are you familiar with the Dry Bar?

[00:11:07] Caterina Rando: I’m not familiar.

[00:11:08] Phyllis Piero: Okay. The dry bar is a franchise where someone could go in and just have their hair washed and they blow it out, and that’s all they do and it’s membership-based. Well, those same people have built a spa called Squeeze. And it’s a semi-absentee operation, so you could keep your job and build this on the side, or you could just do it part-time while the kids are in school, and they have taken everything and made it almost touchless. So you schedule your massage online. You tell him exactly what scent do you want, what spots on your body –because they’ve got an app– what spots on your body are bothering you, what kind of oil do you want, and what type of massage you want. So you arrive, you go in your room, close the door, you take off your clothes, get under the blanket, and then they have like a little button, so they’re not knocking on the door, the button goes off and they know exactly that you’re ready. And then you leave and you don’t have to do anything because it’s all membership-based, it’s all done on the app. So there’s not the waiting in the waiting room and hearing the dispute because “you know, do you want to book another appointment?” You know, you’re kind of taken out of that mellow feeling, you just get up and go.

[00:12:23] Caterina Rando: And what type of investment, so you mentioned 75k for one of the franchises, what kind of investment would somebody be looking at?

[00:12:33] Phyllis Piero: So here’s the difference. If it’s something that is home-based and a service type of business, you know, we’re probably looking at 75 to 125 thousand all in. If they’re looking at something in the spa or beauty space, they’re probably looking at 350k, but understand that I also have all the funding options available. If they have worked for a large company and they have a 401k, they can actually use some of that 401k, roll that into an S-corp, and it’s called a 401k rollover, and they actually self-fund the franchise with that money, so they don’t actually have any payments to begin with. So those are some of the options. If you have, living up where you do, when they have a lot of stock options, they can actually use stock as collateral for the franchise. It’s like doing a margin against their stock account. And of course, with so much equity in our homes, that’s another way you can self-fund. And the equity ends up being with like a credit union. Credit unions are great for doing seconds on homes these days.

[00:13:37] Caterina Rando: And what about if somebody doesn’t fit into any of those scenarios? Is there a way for people to get loans or…?

[00:13:44] Phyllis Piero: Oh, sure. There’s SBA loans, and SBA loans will require 30% cash infusion and they must have collateral. So like for a spa, the equipment in the spa would be collateral for the business. They typically will put a second position on your home. That’s just standard operating procedure.

[00:14:02] Caterina Rando: And do you help people get their SBA loans?

[00:14:05] Phyllis Piero: Yes. I have specific funding people for all the different types of funding. I have people available to do that for them.

[00:14:14] Caterina Rando: That’s great. So then if someone thinks they might be a good match for franchising, what are some of the criteria that you look for, for who you think is a good match.

[00:14:27] Phyllis Piero: That’s a really good question, because one of the things I look for is to make sure they’re not too entrepreneurial because I know you work with amazing entrepreneurial women. So they have to understand that the benefit of a franchise is that everything has been figured out. They know who the customer is. They have all the marketing design. They have the systems in place. So they have to be someone who says, I don’t want to spend two or three years figuring it out. I want to do it now and be up and rolling in six months. So they have to be someone who has leadership skills, they have to be willing to follow a system, and they have to really love the model that they’re looking at. If they say “oh, Phyllis, I really like this. And when I get in, I’m going to change this, this and this”. I’m going to say “please save your money and go do your own thing”, because they’re not a good candidate for franchise.

[00:15:18] Caterina Rando: So franchising is for people that want to follow a system that’s already been created and rinse and repeat.

[00:15:26] Phyllis Piero: Yes. And get up and going quicker. As Gary Vaynerchuk says “franchising is like starting a business with training wheels”.

[00:15:37] Caterina Rando: Okay. I would say it’s more than that, but you get a lot more than training wheels.

[00:15:41] Phyllis Piero: Yes, you do.

[00:15:41] Caterina Rando: Let me ask you this, Phyllis. What are some of the hottest franchises for women these days?

[00:15:47] Phyllis Piero: Oh boy. My top picks are businesses that are, you’re going to laugh at me, but I’m telling you, the service-based industry is where it’s at. Anything that has to do with the home is hot. For example, anything to do with window coverings.

[00:16:03] You know, understand that when you are looking at a franchise, what you’re doing is you are not working in the business, you’re working on the business. So if you like managing people, there are services that are needed for the homes that people don’t think about. And you know, you as the owner might come in and give the bid, but you’re going to send a team of people in to go and do the work.

[00:16:27] But anything in the healthcare, anything in senior care, if you like managing people, it’s wonderful. There are businesses you can get into for around 50 to 60 thousand dollars that are kind of like what I do, but they’re for the senior community where they would, as long as they love developing relationships, what they do is they help families whose mother or father needs to go into a home, they can’t be at home by themselves anymore, and they literally consult with them and find places for mom and dad to go. That’s a wonderful franchise. We’re never going to have enough people out there helping families find the right places for mom and dad to go.

[00:17:09] Caterina Rando: And so you would say that’s one good place. I would imagine it’s also a growth.

[00:17:14] Phyllis Piero: Totally. A growth space.

[00:17:16] Caterina Rando: What’s the most fun or innovative or unique kind of franchise that you’ve put someone in or looking to put someone in?

[00:17:25] Phyllis Piero: Oh boy. That’s a really good question. Because you know, if there is a problem, there’s a franchise, they’ve come up with a solution for it. So, boy, as far as unique goes, you’ve stumped me because my brain doesn’t go there readily.

[00:17:40] Caterina Rando: One of the things that you’ve mentioned, health and wellness, and the aging population, and you’ve mentioned kids, I want to hear about pets.

[00:17:50] Phyllis Piero: Oh, there you go. So the pet industry is huge and it is growing exponentially. I think the pet population doubled. People if they didn’t have dogs, they got dogs. And there’s a great franchise called Scent Hound. And what they do is they’ve come up with a situation and it’s membership-based. Which is wonderful, cause if you get something membership-based, it has cash flow every month. Kind of like the fitness space, where it has cash flow coming in because you have members. But what they do is they wash your dog, they clean his ears, they brush his teeth, they trimmed their paws, and then clean their coat. They don’t groom them because 90% of the dogs don’t need grooming in the country, which people don’t think about that. They really just need washing. And because pets are so much more family-oriented, having them washed every week is wonderful. And it’s like 15 minutes. So that’s a membership-based, and it’s designed to be in a shopping center where you drop the pet off, you go in, you do your grocery shopping and 15 minutes later, you come out and take your pet home.

[00:18:57] Caterina Rando: Love it.

[00:18:58] Phyllis Piero: Very smart.

[00:18:59] Caterina Rando: Phyllis, I was going to ask you, one of the things I like to consider myself is a little bit of an image and style and beauty enthusiast. I’m wondering if there’s any franchises in anything of that space?

[00:19:15] Phyllis Piero: You know, there isn’t and there should be.

[00:19:18] Caterina Rando: Okay, well, we’ll have to talk about that then.

[00:19:20] Phyllis Piero: Yeah, we should, because I think that that space, it isn’t a franchise and I think it would be a great franchise, and definitely something that is new.

[00:19:28] Caterina Rando: Okay, well, let’s talk about it.

[00:19:30] Phyllis Piero: Okay.

[00:19:31] Caterina Rando: Bit outside my scope and that I have other things I’m focused on, but I think it’s a good idea to have in that space. Now, one of the things I know we have talked about in the past is the I’ll call it the anti-aging space.

[00:19:47] Phyllis Piero: Yes. Oh yeah. There’s a lot of that.

[00:19:49] Caterina Rando: Okay. Let’s hear about those unique franchises that people might want to get into.

[00:19:55] Phyllis Piero: Well, there’s all sorts of them that have to do with the Botox and the med spas and all of that. Like there’s one called 10 Spot, it’s actually out of Canada, and they do all sorts of different modalities. And there’s the lashes, lashes are big. So they’ll do lashes and they’ll do brows. They do microblading. So they’ll do lashes and they’ll do microblading, and that’s all done on a membership basis too. And those types of businesses typically are semi-absentee, where the owner doesn’t do any of the work. The owner is in charge of making sure the marketing goes out and that the people that are in the salon are doing a good job with customer service and selling other products. There are 4,000 franchises out there Caterina, there are so many opportunities. If there’s a problem, there’s probably a franchise that’s come up with a solution for it. So it’s really a matter of finding something that really fits the person of what they want to do, how they want to spend their time, how much money they have to invest, how much money they want to make. I mean, to give you an example, I mean hair is always going to be needed. Right? Everybody needs a haircut. But what about little kids? They’ve got these really cute franchises for kids hair cuts called Sharky’s. Parents will spend amazing amounts of money on their pets and their kids. And Sharky’s, I mean, it’s a semi-absentee, great business. And instead of chairs, they have little cars for the kids to sit in.

[00:21:24] Caterina Rando: How fun. That’s great. Okay. So Phyllis, let me ask you this. What does it take for a woman to be successful in the franchising industry?

[00:21:36] Phyllis Piero: First of all, women are incredibly successful in our industry. We have a lot of very successful top operating females, and it takes tenacity and hard work. It takes a willingness to follow the system. And one of the things that people don’t think about, Caterina, is if a woman is married, the nice thing about owning a franchise is that if she has an issue, guess what? She doesn’t have to talk to her husband about it. She’s got coaches, she’s got other franchise owners. She can have all the autonomy that she would love to have in a successful business model. It’s a matter of finding something that she really would enjoy doing. It could be in giving back to our local community. I mean, there’s so many different directions she could go. So it’s really a matter of someone who’s willing to follow the system, has good leadership skills, and probably good management, and you know, understands KPIs and wants to make sure that she’s running the numbers properly.

[00:22:36] Caterina Rando: What’s KPI stand for?

[00:22:39] Phyllis Piero: Key performance indicators. And it’s really important that people understand those. And one of the nice things about a franchise is that during training and all the coaching they’re going to get, they are going to get all of the information they need. So they know exactly what they need to pay attention to.

[00:22:55] Caterina Rando: And so you have ongoing support, which is very important.

[00:23:00] Phyllis Piero: Absolutely.

[00:23:00] Caterina Rando: Phyllis. Let me ask you this as we wrap up our time together: what’s next for you?

[00:23:05] Phyllis Piero: What a great question. So I’m in the midst of the final touches on a book that I’m writing, which is The 15 Keys To Finding the Perfect Franchise. And I’m finishing up some curriculum on a course that I’m developing, so that if somebody wants to kind of do their own thing, they can take my course and figure out how to find the right franchise or they can work with me, which I would love, because I really love coaching people and helping them make a really good choice when it comes to a franchise. But some people are lone rangers and want to do their own thing,

[00:23:39] Caterina Rando: Phyllis. , we will put your contact information in the show notes. Please go ahead though and give people the quick report on how they can connect with you.

[00:23:49] Phyllis Piero: Okay, so I’m pretty easy to find I’m Phyllis Pieri P H Y L L I S P I E R I, you can find me on LinkedIn. My website is yourfranchisecoach.com, and I also will be giving you a free download of a vision board training. Cause I think it’s important for people to start with what is it you want? And to think about, I want you to be thinking about what is it you want in the way of a franchise. And so the vision board training will hopefully get you started on that path.

[00:24:22] Caterina Rando: That’s a great workshop for you to offer over and over. Well, Phyllis, you know, I’ve loved having you here. You know, I love talking franchises because I do feel that it’s the right solution for a lot of people that want to have their own venture. Everyone, if you are interested in finding out more about franchising, connect with Phyllis, go to one of her workshops. She’s a wonderful woman, you will love hanging out with her and spending time. Phyllis, thank you so much for being with us today on the Expand Your Fempire Podcast.

[00:24:58] Phyllis Piero: Thank you so very much.

[00:25:01] Caterina Rando: Phyllis, thank you so much. Everyone, we will pick it up again next time. Remember, you have massive value to bring, there’s a lifetime supply of people to serve. Get out there, use your voice, so that you can sell more, serve more, and most importantly, uplift more lives. Connect with me, Caterina Rando, on Clubhouse, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook join our Thriving Women in Business Facebook group. And if you have not attended one of my free virtual workshops that we do every month, guess what? You’re invited. Find out more at caterinarando.com. Love to you. Talk to you next time.

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Expand Your Fempire with Caterina Rando.

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