Changing Neighborhoods, Changing Lives

Home Franchise Concepts
Written by Samita Sarkar

Ambitious people from all walks of life and backgrounds dream of owning their own business. For many of these individuals all across the country, Home Franchise Concepts has been helping to make their dreams a reality by providing an opportunity to own a franchise under one of its three families of brands: Budget Blinds, Tailored Living, and Concrete Craft.
“We set out to create systems, programs, and offerings that change people’s lives. When we go into a customer’s home with any of our products – window coverings, closets, garage organization, garage flooring, concrete flooring – we help to make a person’s house a home. We do that by using our moral compass and caring about our customers. We are all about tailoring everything we offer to what the customer needs and just that,” says Shirin Behzadi, CEO of Home Franchise Concepts.

The Californian company began 26 years ago, when an entrepreneurial group of friends decided to found Budget Blinds, a window coverings company, operating out of an apartment and an old jeep. From there, the company grew into what is today known as Home Franchise Concepts (or HFC) in 2006, which manages a family of brands in the home space solutions space.

At HFC, the franchising system is set up to help franchisees of any of the three brands achieve success as business owners through reasonable upfront capital investment costs, uniform training processes, and ample support. Behzadi tells us that this dual focus on providing value to the customer and support for the franchisees has helped HFC achieve all kinds of milestones.

Budget Blinds has installed over 25 million window coverings since inception, and has grown to be ranked as the number-one window coverings franchise every year since 1996. Tailored Living has organized more than 245,000 lives so far with a 95 percent customer satisfaction rate, and Concrete Craft has installed more than 3 million square feet of flooring.

Across all brands, franchisees install about 60,000 units every week, and operate out of more than 10,000 cities.

“We stay on top of trends, we are innovative, and we have custom-made products available at various reasonable prices. We do all of that keeping our customers in mind,” Behzadi remarks of the HFC brands, which all take a collaborative approach and consult the customers on what they are looking for in terms of home space enhancement.

The neighborhood solutions provider has five core values. These values were established when the corporation surveyed the franchisees and asked them to describe who they are. The data was collected and matched with all of the values that HFC internally holds dear. The values are trust, transparency, collaboration, and commitment, and at the core of all of these values is the fifth: caring.

“We care about our customers. This is why we sit with them and design their products with them. We care because we stand behind our products. We care about our communities, because our franchisees live in the neighborhoods where they own their business,” explains Behzadi.

It is only fitting that when the company celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, the most important initiative it undertook in this celebration was to stay true to its values by giving back.

On the 25th of every month, HFC did something in the spirit of giving back and showing thanks for its success over the last quarter century, including collecting donations and performing volunteer work. The company then held a reception at its brand new, 40,000 square-foot office in Irvine, California, to announce its plans for the No Place Like Home initiative to give away a franchise to a veteran on Veteran’s Day.

“We asked our franchisees to nominate someone, a veteran, who they thought would be a good fit to own a franchise. Then we set out to collect enough dollars for the individual to start their business and use it as working capital. For every dollar that we got in the way of donations, we matched it,” Behzadi recalls.

On a live TV program airing on November 11th, HFC surprised its final winner, Sohel Gilani, who was awarded a Concrete Craft franchise.

“Our goal was to strike a conversation about giving veterans a chance at owning their own business,” says Behzadi.

Indeed, supporting veterans is a key part of HFC’s philanthropic endeavors. The company regularly makes contributions to organizations such as Homes for Our Troops (a non-profit that builds specially adapted custom homes for severely injured post-9/11 veterans), Wounded Warriors of Canada (a non-profit that helps veterans suffering from PTSD), and Working Wardrobes (which helps veterans and others facing challenges to find a dignified path back to work). Home Franchise Concepts has given away a million dollars’ worth of products and donations to Homes for Our Troops as part of an ongoing partnership.

While HFC as a whole has partnered with national organizations, in many cases franchisees also partner with local charities in their communities. HFC calls this entire ongoing give-back initiative Heart & Home. “Everything we do with people’s homes, we do with heart,” Behzadi states.

In order to maintain cohesion between the different brands as well as individual franchises, HFC has been very mindful to create consistent systems that give franchisees tools and platforms to be successful with their local marketing and provide them with initial and ongoing business training. As Behzadi says, “We make sure that all of this is very consistently applied so that every franchisee is trained and supported. We have access to the best in class when it comes to products, marketing tools, support, and technology. All brands take advantage of the same Home Franchise platform.”

New franchisees are first given two weeks of hands-on training at HFC’s headquarters in Irvine, with all expenses paid. This new facility has multiple training and installation rooms. “Regardless of a person’s background, whether in the past they have done any design or installations, we can get them trained to learn how to run their business,” says Behzadi.

This is just the start. Afterwards, HFC offers post-classroom training. When the franchisee completes their two weeks of training, the company has a process by which it makes sure that the franchisee continues to be trained and supported through webinars, electronic training kits, local meetings, and an annual conference at an international destination. The upcoming 2019 conference will be held in Florida.

“The biggest and most important quality [in a franchisee] is the desire to want to own their own business and want to commit themselves to learning our systems and following the best practices within the system,” says Behzadi. “Our systems are designed – and this is in our vision statement – to be for anyone from any walk of life and background. In fact, we have in our current system millennials, veterans, couples, single parents, seniors… you name it. We have people who come from management positions who are done working for a company and want to own their own business.”

In the future, HFC will continue to invest in helping its franchisees enhance their communities by rolling out fresh local-area marketing platforms and providing them with new methods of support. Just this year, HFC developed a proprietary technology platform designed to add to the convenience and efficiency of running a franchise, including a CRM (customer relationship management) system. The platform is currently in beta and will be rolled out during this last quarter of 2018.

Beyond that, the next phase of growth for Home Franchise Concepts is to expand its brand. The company is open to the opportunity of adding to its current family with something that is synergistic in the home space market.

“I feel like we’re just getting started. Things are getting really exciting!” says Behzadi. “We already have 1,400 franchises and cover over 10,000 cities in North America. Our plan is to continue to expand the footprint of Budget Blinds, Tailored Living, and Concrete Craft. We have even more space to cover. Also, importantly, we want every franchisee to be even more successful. We have very successful franchisees as it is, with extremely low turnover rates, and want to see to it that they can succeed even further.”



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