Footprints Floors Franchise
Founder Bryan Park shares his journey from a struggling college graduate to building a flourishing brand as a franchisor.
Bryan Park never envisioned himself as a business owner – let alone the owner of a franchise system.
But after returning to his Denver home one night in the early 2000s after dinner with his wife, everything changed when the young couple discovered their floors had been destroyed by the three puppies they’d adopted as part of their growing family.
“We hired a flooring company to come in to replace that carpet and I was watching the guy install the floors and was like, ‘This is kind of cool. How much money do you make?’ And he's like, ‘$120 grand.’ I was like, ‘That's way more than I thought,’” Park says, adding that the flooring company’s schedule also complemented his evening classes.
After calling the company to ask if they were hiring, Park was offered a job installing floors. Over the next three years, the Air Force Academy history graduate and former service member moved up from installation to site finishing, sales and eventually management until a precarious economy in 2008 left him searching for new opportunities.
That year, Park broke away to start a company of his own: Footprints Floors – a business endeavor that was about more than just making money to feed his family.
“I think it starts with my passion and my love of God, which then leads to my love of my neighbor, which is what we're called to do,” Park says.
Footprints Floors Beginnings
As an entrepreneur, Park’s passion for putting others first paid off – and helped set Footprints apart from the competition in Denver.
“There's such a need out there for contractors that show up and do what they say they're going to do. There's a giant hole in the overall flooring industry and we see Footprints as the company that comes in and fills that hole,” Park says.
Despite the company’s success in the local market, though, becoming a small business owner wasn’t without challenges early on.
In 2012, after Park’s accountant suggested that the way the business was structured might resemble a franchise and potentially violate regulations as a result, Park began to explore the idea of franchising. At the same time, Park had been looking for a legal way to save on the high cost of workers’ compensation for his contractors – a problem he thought might be mitigated by restructuring the business.
“That was the first time I'd ever even heard that word (franchising). So I started investigating,” Park says.
Despite Park’s efforts to bring his company in line with legal requirements, though, the attorney he had hired online to franchise Footprints Floors used boilerplate forms that left Park wondering whether the new business structure was up to par.
“We didn't really get serious about (franchising) until about 2018,” Park says, recalling that a shoddy “Swiss cheese” boilerplate agreement had left him nervous enough to hire an experienced franchise attorney to get the business’s legal affairs in order once and for all.
“I decided to bite the bullet and spend a couple hundred grand developing a real-deal (franchise) agreement. In that process, that lawyer steered me towards what it is to go out of state and (hire) franchise development companies. I learned about brokers for the first time,” Park says, adding that the new resources helped his fledgling franchise grow from five units in 2019 to 85 over the next several years.
As a new franchisor, the idea of selling franchises was intimidating to Park, who says he agonized over how to talk about his business with prospective buyers.
“I was constantly thinking about what my conversations are going to look like when I'm talking to strangers about coming into our Footprints family and starting to sell floors,” Park recalls.
Despite those early anxieties, Park pressed on – and eventually built a thriving franchise system focused on putting the needs of customers and franchisees first.
“As a follower of Christ, this was a calling to enter into these relationships with strangers and care for them and care for their wellbeing,” Park says.
Because Footprints Floors doesn’t operate showrooms and instead focuses on generating income solely through contract work, franchisees avoid the sometimes burdensome costs of renting brick-and-mortar shops – freeing up their funds to invest in marketing instead.
At the corporate level, Footprints builds out franchisees’ dashboards and handles their websites, copy and photography. Franchisees pay for marketing services and SEO to generate leads, which are managed by Footprints’ Managed Services corporate staff. After converting calls into appointments and collecting a deposit, flooring jobs are assigned to a crew and placed on franchisees’ schedules within the appropriate territories.
“Unit metrics or economics that we care about are the number of estimates that they're doing, and what's their conversion rate on estimates with selling? We're looking at revenue per estimate. … And then gross margins. We're shooting for around 50% gross margins. If they hit all those metrics, they're walking away with somewhere in the 25% to 30% net profit range,” Park says.
Putting the Needs of Customers and Franchisees First
For Park, treating customers fairly while providing franchisees with an opportunity to earn good money while still being present for their families is what becoming a franchisor was all about.
“I came to (franchising) with the mindset of putting the needs of my customers above my own self – sacrificing to make sure that I'm improving their lives, oftentimes at the detriment of myself. And so taking that mentality and applying that to employees as we brought them in – how can I help them, and how can I help them improve their lives in making more money, enjoying their jobs, and having more free time?” Park says.
At Footprints Floors, Park’s unique people-centered approach to business has paid off. Today, the brand operates 170 units in 41 states across the U.S., with around 1,200 people involved in the business – and counting.
“I never want to create a relationship where I'm policing our franchisees. I want them to love what they're doing. I want them to love every day, and be making good money, and be home and present with their families,” Park says.
To discover franchising opportunities with Footprints Floors, visit https://footprintsfranchise.com.