Thriving Under $100K

BY 1851
February 27th, 2013



With today’s economic climate, it’s easy to be drawn to low-cost options to help make ends meet. In the world of franchising, however, this notion has its ups and downs. Just because an opportunity is low-cost doesn’t mean its the right choice, nor does it mean you will fail. There are a number of factors that play into owning a successful franchise, and these three franchisees know just what it takes to be successful with less than $100,000.


Wireless Zone is the largest independent Verizon Wireless franchise in America. With a foundation set on customer service and community outreach, it is no wonder this franchise has been able to reach over 460 units since its founding in 1988.

“I saw a business that I didn’t feel was going anywhere but up,” said Nate Bastarache, franchisee for Wireless Zone. “I saw stability and growth of the Wireless Zone concept and knew that it was right for me. Additionally, a lower cost option allowed me to build a foundation for success more quickly”

The potential for growth was one of the primary reasons Nate got involved with Wireless Zone and one of the key factors that led to his success. After 15 years in the automotive industry working primarily as a general manager, Nate opened his first Wireless Zone location in Easthampton, Massachusetts in 2009. Currently, he is working on his fifth store with hopes to open more in the future.

One issue with a low-cost option is growing too big too fast. “If you have a number of locations but just one is under-performing, it can bring your entire operation down,” Bastarache said. A good way to curb this issue is to carefully plan out developments with respect to time and location. “As Americans, we often forget that our eyes can be larger than our stomachs, a personal affliction of mine.”

Another way Wireless Zone helps procure development is through community outreach.

“The wireless industry is extremely saturated with everyone having a phone these days,” said Bastarache. “The Wireless Zone model is extremely community oriented and we embrace that. The more community outreach we do in these communities, the more successful we are.”

Barbra Bliss-Modder is as passionate a franchisee as you will find in any system. For seven years, she has been a franchisee for Showhomes, a premiere home staging franchise that transforms vacant houses into life-filled, inviting homes that appeal to buyers.

“For most people, becoming a franchisee means taking a leap and investing your life into something new,” said Bliss-Modder. “Being passionate about your concept and investing more than just time and money is what makes a franchisee successful.”

Franchisee of the year for Showhomes in 2010, Bliss-Modder knows what she’s talking about. “I was a realtor for six years before purchasing my territory. I love homes and I love to help people visualize, so this was a perfect business for me.”

“When choosing a low cost franchise you have to be aware of the barriers to entry and how easy it might be for others to duplicate your product,” said Eric Patrick, a franchisee of Painting with a Twist. “This can lead to crowding in a market so it’s important to make sure you believe in your concept, truly enjoy what you’re doing and focus on what separates you from your competition.”

For Patrick, being in this business is all about giving a great experience to his customers. A self-taught painter, Patrick originally worked as a corporate artist for Painting with a Twist before purchasing his first location in Miami, Florida.

“What really separates us from the competition is our passion and having fun,” said Patrick. “If our customers don’t have a good time and leave feeling good, we haven’t done our job.”

Eric has recently opened his second location in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“A low cost option allows someone without significant assets or a major loan from a bank to obtain their dream of business ownership in a relatively short period of time,” said Patrick. “With the state of the economy right now it’s difficult for people to find funding, so these opportunities are very important for building up local communities.”

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