|Franchise Interviews meets with Fantastic Sam's
Many times when you hear the word ‘franchise', people think of fast food. However, did you know
over seventy-five industries are now franchising? One of these industries that more professionals from Corporate America,
the IT world and aspiring entrepreneurs are entering is the hair care industry.
is the world's largest full-service hair care franchise, with salons located throughout the United States, as well as some
salons in Canada. Their first salon opened in Memphis, Tennessee in July of 1974 and we began franchising in 1976. Their salons
have earned a reputation for providing quality hair care services, including cuts, perms and color, to the entire family.
The goal at Fantastic Sam's® is to provide our guests with unexpected quality, unexpected service and unexpected style
at a great value.
With over 1350 salons, Fantastic Sam's® provides a wide range of services
including: haircutting & styling, hair coloring, texturizing and a variety of hair treatments. Their stylists are continually
attending classes presented by our very own educators to keep up with all the latest styles and trends.
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Jerome Williams who owns a Master Franchise for Fantastic Sam's. Jerome provided
us with the keys to success in finding a franchise, training for Fantastic Sam's' franchisees, and the characteristics of
typical Fantastic Sam's franchisees. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Definition of Master
Master franchises offer the opportunity for qualified individuals or corporations to purchase the rights to
sub-franchise the brand within a given country or territory. Master franchises acquire an area franchise, as well as operate
in its own location. Some of the services normally provided by the original franchisor will be provided by the master franchisee
and between them they will divide the franchise fee and subsequent royalties paid by the sub-franchisee.
Franchise Interviews - What were you doing before getting involved with Fantastic Sam's?
Jerome Williams - I used to be a medical equipment and supplies sales representative.
Franchise Interviews - That is a big difference from franchising. How did you get involved with Fantastic Sam's?
Jerome Williams - Although I worked in Corporate America, part of my game plan was to one day own a business. At
least twice a year, I would meet with a franchise broker. I did that for 5 years until I found something I wanted to investigate
further which was Fantastic Sam's.
Pictured above is Master franchisee to Fantastic Sam's Jerome
Franchise Interviews - What is a typical day like as a Fantastic Sam's franchisee?
Jerome Williams - Because we are a master franchisee, there is no typical day. It includes some of the following:
• Helping our franchisee under us with daily operation questions,
• Creating new marketing and advertising
• Planning meetings with current and new vendors,
• Looking for real estate for a new franchisee,
• Interviewing and prospecting candidates,
• Resolving problems,
• Negotiating letters of intent
for real estate,
• Creating sales and marketing materials.
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An exterior view of a Fantastic Sam's salon franchise
In addition to all of that, we
own a Fantastic Sam's in Lawrenceville, NJ, which is our prototype store.
- Who is the typical franchisee that purchases a Fantastic Sam's franchise?
- It may be people from Corporate America, who may have just been downsized. We get a lot of people from the IT world. We
also get a lot of entrepreneurs.
Franchise Interviews - What type of skills or qualities
should someone have to be a Fantastic Sam's franchisee? What skills do you typically look for?
Jerome Williams - They should have an entrepreneurial spirit. They should also remain open to learning as well as
be a team player because franchising by nature is about building a brand.
- It seems better that a prospective franchisee doesn't have experience in the industry because they would be more open to
Jerome Williams - Without question. Someone who has owned a salon may struggle
because they would ask questions like, "Why are these guys doing it this way?" and "Why do I need to pay a
franchise fee and royalty?"
Franchise Interviews - They don't understand franchising.
Williams - That is right.
Franchise Interviews - What is the training like for a new Fantastic Sam's franchisee?
Jerome Williams - Training is intense. New franchisees go to Fantastic Sam's University, which is a weeklong and
is located in the Boston, Massachusetts's area or out in California at our old corporate headquarters. They learn everything
from soup to nuts about the business from how to price their products and services and how to deal with people. There is a
wealth of information provided in the training. The beautiful thing is training doesn't stop there. For our salon owners,
training is continuous. We have a monthly meeting at our regional office in East Brunswick, NJ where other owners can share
Franchise Interviews - What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs
looking to buy a franchise?
Jerome Williams - That is a big question that I would answer
with a couple of suggestions. Buying a franchise is a very involved process. If you are doing it alone, I would suggest using
a franchise broker because they can present you with various options based on your interest, finances and skills. A skilled
franchise broker will help guide your through the due diligence process and present more than one option to look at. That
type of guidance, which is usually free, is invaluable. If you are researching a franchise with a partner, than you can divide
tasks for your search. The key to both scenarios is education. Make sure you know everything about the opportunity you are
looking at. Also make certain you are mentally, emotionally and financially prepared to move forward if you find something
that your like.
Franchise Interviews - A lot of times we compare it to a marriage Jerome.
Jerome Williams - Exactly, and like a marriage, you can lose your shirt if you are not careful.
For more information on becoming a Fantastic Sam's franchisee,