A Franchise – He Does Lines
By John Van Horn
Tom Cox spent 26 years in the hospitality industry. Retirement bored him. Now what? Painting lines on parking lots? Really!
Parking Today caught up with the Arizonan at a franchisor company meeting in Minnesota at which he and other “We Do Lines” parking lot striping franchisees were receiving in-depth training on equipment and service.
“I researched the company and liked the service standards, the code of ethics and the customer focus,” Cox said. “That was important to me in my last career, and I know it’s important to my customers.
“The franchise model was right on, providing proper uniforms, equipment, training, logos. We are all part of a team.
“Mine is a small company now,” he said of We Do Lines of Arizona, “but I’m able to come in from a different industry and use my experience to grow and make a profit. Like any company, branding is important, plus we have a synergy you don’t see if you start from scratch.”
“I have a partner [Chad O’Loughlin],” Cox said, “and we have a hands-on operation. Most of our contracts we fill ourselves. If it’s larger, we can add help.
“Last month, we did a 6,000-space mall in a four-day period, setting a company record 4,000 spaces in one night. Customers don’t want their lots tied up for an extended period. We have to perform.”
Cox said the beauty of his business is that it’s easy to expand.
“Buy a sprayer and a truck and you are ready to go. It’s not like a bricks and mortar franchise where you need to invest a million bucks in land and buildings to grow.”
Promotion is important. Cox uses the newspaper, email and his website. But most effective is cold-calling, he said. He contacts property management companies, parking operators, strip-mall shopping centers developers.
“We got one of our biggest deals when I walked into a management company’s office just as they were talking about restriping their lots. We were lucky on that one.”
Cox’s company is based in Chandler, a Phoenix suburb. And he has competition; several other companies also do lot striping in the Valley of the Sun. Some companies such as sealcoaters, subcontract the striping to others, and they all are in his sights.
“Service, particularly before the actual work begins, is important,” he said. “People can provide information directly on our website, and we respond quickly, often within a few hours. We can give a provisional [price quote] online, but I like to go out immediately and look at the job so there are no surprises. When we quote, we want it to be correct.”
Asked about consulting with changing the striping design, Cox told PT that that comes with experience. The franchisor company offers extensive training and manuals that address the legal aspects of the business, but the support of other franchisees that have dealt with some issues that come up is invaluable, he said.
Contact Franchisee Tom Cox at email@example.com or through the franchisor company at www.wedolines.com.
The We Do Lines franchisor company posts the following on its website (www.wedolines.com):
Why Maintain Your Parking Lot?
• It’s Your Welcome Mat.
• Faded Markings Reduce Safety and Increase Liability.
• 54% of All Accidents Occur In Parking Lots.*
• Optimize Traffic Flow (and Parking Configuration).
• Ensure ADA Compliance.
* Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Article Abstract from March, 2012