Franchise News Release: Orange, CA - (Aug-20-2003)

How Five Young Friends Franchised Their Way to the Top

Two years before NBC's hit sitcom "Friends" hit the airwaves, a strikingly similar cast of real-life friends was gaining celebrity status of their own in the Franchising industry - the five lifelong friends who founded and built Budget Blinds into the largest and fastest growing window covering company of its kind in the United States. 

In 1992, these five 20-something men, who had each just been laid off by a failing window coverings firm, regrouped to form a similar type of company of their own selling and installing window coverings. The five ambitious young men hopped onto a jeep (one on each fender), canvassing neighborhoods with sales flyers and earning loyal customers the old-fashioned way. In three months, they averaged more than $100,000 per month in sales, during the worst economy in Orange County's history.

Today, franchising industry "viewers" have watched in awe as the young founding partners grew Budget Blinds into a $60M organization with more than 420 franchises, serving 1,500 cities in 42 states. Earning its own "Emmys" along the way, Entrepreneur Magazine has named Budget Blinds the No. 1 firm in its field for six consecutive years.

Budget Blinds' eventual claims to "fame" featured a business model based on convenience and its founders' determination to put franchisees first. Unlike storefront window blind firms, Budget Blinds went directly to consumers' homes to display their products, measure and install the products themselves. Consumers craved the convenience. Within two years, the five founders perfected the methodology enough to begin franchising. Growth has been fast and furious ever since: from 2001 to 2002, Budget Blinds added nearly 100 new franchisees.

"We're unstoppable because we live by our founding principle of setting our franchisees up for success, rather than merely selling franchises," said Chad Hallock, president. "We focus on earning a percentage of revenue from franchisee sales, not Franchise fees. That, and our unique direct-to-the-consumer convenience concept, is what sets us apart in the industry."

The Future's So Bright They Have To Wear "Shades"

As a result of Budget Blinds' genuine commitment to franchisees, the company has more than doubled its size in the past four years in terms of number of franchisees, franchisee sales and franchise equity. Hallock, along with his twin brother, Brent, and partners Tony Forbes, Todd Jackson and David Lewis, have devised a strategic plan to quickly dominate the $5.3 billion window covering market and the entire $4.4 million custom made window products market.

Based on a current average of selling 12 Franchises per month, Budget Blinds estimates having 540 franchises by the end of 2004. Ultimately, its founding partners strive to have 2,000 Budget Blinds vehicles, a $36 million per year advertising campaign and system-wide sales of $1.4 billion covering the entire United States. To do so, Budget Blinds has developed aggressive advertising campaigns designed to achieve 30 percent "top-of-mind awareness" for franchisees in their designated territories.

"We have coordinated a master game plan and built a business that nobody can compete against," Hallock said. "Right now, we're only covering a little more than 16 or 17 percent of the market. That leaves 83 percent of the market wide open to grow. The sky's virtually the limit for entrepreneurs seeking Franchise Opportunities with our company."

The initial investment required for a Budget Blinds franchise ranges from $54,680 to $81,070, depending on whether a franchisee initially purchases one or two territories. The cost includes two weeks of comprehensive training, ongoing support from an assigned rep, conventions and regional meetings, a personalized web site, van signage, vendor and manufacturer alliances and a slew of marketing/advertising support materials. In addition, Budget Blinds franchisees have no inventory to carry, they can work from their homes and set their own hours.

Equal justice

Like their TV "Friends" counterparts, Budget Blind's founders agreed from the get-go that all salaries would be equal. "That way, there's nothing to fight about," Hallock said. "We're all extremely close, and were friends long before this business ever started. Our master plan is for all of us to become hugely successful, minus greed. We all respect each other tremendously and bring distinct skills to the table that have equally contributed to our phenomenal success." 


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