Questions and Answers with F-O-R-T-U-N-E Personnel Consultants (FPC)
Q: What sets F-O-R-T-U-N-E Personnel Consultants (FPC) apart from other recruiting franchises?
A: FPC is a strong, close-knit network of professionals who specialize in niche industry categories to help fill their clients’ critical staffing needs. FPC is a closely held, private company which affords its franchisees a direct line to the CEO for any questions, issues or concerns. At FPC, franchisees are truly part of a “family” that share best practices, business opportunities and celebrate success together. Our motto is “Be large enough to support a national system, but small enough to remain personal, flexible and responsive to our owners’ individual needs.” One other competitive advantage is our Exchange program where offices share candidates and jobs. This allows our recruiters to increase revenue within their own discipline or make placements in areas they don’t cover themselves.
Q: Can you tell us about the business model for an FPC franchise? How do your franchisees make money?
A: Most FPC offices are owned by former corporate employees from a variety of disciplines including supply chain, engineering, quality or finance and accounting, and for one reason or another, were ready for a change. FPC teaches them how to place the types of professionals that they once were. Franchisees derive income from direct placement of candidates with their client companies. Their fee is generally billed as a percentage of the candidates’ first years’ compensation. FPC offices can benefit from multiple revenue streams including contingent placement, retained services and contract staffing.
Q: What is the current state of the franchise sector within the recruiting category?
A: There is a lot of opportunity within the recruiting category, specifically with FPC. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that national unemployment stands at 6.1%, but that number is very misleading for people considering the executive search business. FPC generally places mid to senior level management professionals in manufacturing companies nationally. The unemployment rate for those types of workers is nearly half of the national average (3.2%) - FPC National direct hire revenue is up over 10% year-over- year and the biggest challenge is finding good candidates to fill jobs, not finding good jobs to work on.
Q: Can you describe the primary target customer for FPC? How are your franchisees reaching out to this target customer?
A: FPC recruiters’ Ideal Customer is a senior-level executive within a midsize manufacturing company that understands the importance of talent acquisition and values the relationship with well-connected search consultants. FPC owners and recruiters are trained to work with their clients in two distinct ways…first, when the clients that they maintain relationships with need help filling a specific role, they go out and recruit top-quality, passive candidates on their behalf. FPC recruiters also proactively call on new and existing clients to make them aware of talented professionals in their industry and discipline that may be available. One of the most important aspects of a recruiting franchise is that location does NOT matter. We have successful franchises in several small cities around the country. Also, there are no territorial boundaries that determine where you can or cannot call. In recent years we’ve even seen a large uptick in the amount of international placements we’ve made.
Q: What are the most important things a prospective franchisee or employee should know or be prepared for when entering the recruiting industry?
A: We’re very upfront with prospective franchisees that this is an owner/operator business that comes with its highs and lows. Most people coming out of corporate America don’t realize how much experience they have that is already very relevant to the recruiting business such as interviewing, hiring, managing multiple stakeholder relationships and negotiating deals. If we had to pinpoint one trait that is consistent throughout our system it would be persistence. Whether it’s trying to find the right candidate to fill a unique role or identifying a hiring manager at a company that you really want to do business with, the drive to succeed and not give up until you reach your goal is critical to your success.
Q: How do you keep ahead of the curve when it comes to competitors?
A: One of the best moves we made was back in 2007 when FPC established a “model” office that shares office space with the Franchisor in New York City. It’s a fully functioning executive search firm which acts as our “R&D” department. By having a company owned office, FPC is able to test new software, recruiting methods, training techniques and various other operational items. This allows us to present successful, cutting edge ideas as well as steer franchisees away from less useful tools that may be a waste of money and effort. The office also gives us real-time insight into what is happening in the marketplace which helps us to guide our offices accordingly.
Q: Where do you see FPC going in the next five years?
A: Based on the impending labor shortage, FPC is poised for strong revenue growth from our existing franchise system over the next five years. Additionally, FPC expects to add between 35 and 40 new offices which will put us at 100 + franchised offices by 2019.
Q: Are there any changes you foresee in your industry?
A: There is no doubt that we are in a dynamic industry and the internet has had a major impact on how we do our business. We saw the value of traditional job boards peak a few years ago and the rise of social media continue to develop. As company’s talent needs continue to grow and corporate recruiting departments are overwhelmed, specialists like FPC recruiters are going to increasingly be counted on to identify unique, passive and sufficiently more qualified candidates. In fact, according to a survey conducted by BullHorn (recruitment software company), of 1337 US based recruitment professionals, 77% met or exceeded their goal in 2013 and 88% feel that 2014 will be even stronger.
Q: What are some common characteristics of your top performing franchisees?
A: Across the board, the top 5 characteristics of successful franchisees are a strong work ethic, good people skills, coachability, excellent listening skills and a drive to succeed.
Q: What kind of training and support can your franchisees expect to receive?
A: Throughout our history, training and support has been the single greatest driver of our success and consistency. The initial training class at our corporate headquarters in New York City is two weeks long. During the training, franchisees learn about the intricacies of the recruitment business. They will also learn successful strategies for the day-to-day operations of their new office. In addition, we provide another week of training at their office location. This on-site training includes working with your new consultants, setting goals and establishing a solid foundation on which to grow. Training and support continue throughout our relationship, including frequent phone contact, periodic office visits, regional seminars and an annual owners’ conference for all FPC owners nationwide.FPC is as successful as our franchisees are and we feel strongly about initial and on-going training and support.
Q: What kind of work background or skill set are you looking for in a franchisee?
A: The majority of FPC owners have generally worked in the corporate world for a number of years. They have held mid- and high-level positions, and been responsible for major business decisions. When contacting FPC, they find themselves at a career crossroads. . They have established a consistent record of success, but may now be tired of the bureaucracy of corporate life, too much travel, the lack of income growth and leadership potential or been a victim of downsizing. They are goal-oriented, possess positive attitudes and strong work ethic. They are also excited about joining a supportive and encouraging network of colleagues.
Q: What are your growth plans for FPC? Which geographic markets are you targeting for expansion?
A: As stated above, FPC expects to be at 100 + franchised offices by 2019 and those franchises can be located anywhere in the US. As well, we will endeavor to work with all our franchisees to hire recruiters and researchers to grow their businesses.
Q: What type of area development opportunities are available?
A: Currently there are no area development / master franchise opportunities available.
Q: Is there anything else you wish to share about FPC?
A: If you feel you are ready to take control of your personal and professional life, enjoy increased income potential, a favorable lifestyle and the equity that comes from owning your own business, then we would be more than happy to talk with you to determine if FPC is right for you.
Interview with Isaiah Brown, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM franchisee
I had been working for 1-800-FLOWERS.COM for 16 years prior to becoming a franchisee. I started out literally getting my hands dirty – and pricked, and cut – as a flower cutter in a retail location in Brooklyn. It’s the store I own now, although we’re in a new location. I worked my way up to being a district manager in New York. In 2002, [Vice President of Retail and Franchising ] Ted Marlowe approached me about buying one of the company stores they were looking to franchise. Apparently [company founder] Jim McCann had taken note of my work and my commitment to the company, and had recommended me to Ted as someone who might be a good franchise candidate.
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