Martin Bahner spent over 20 years in the corporate world, the last eight as a business unit leader with Siemens, the German engineering giant. But when a job transfer to Canada in 2004 meant moving his family from Doylestown in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, he knew a change was in order. "I wanted to raise my kids in Doylestown, and I wanted more control over my work life," he said.
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Bahner first looked at starting his own company or buying an existing business, but nothing seemed to come together. Then a career consultant he was working with suggested franchising. Of the handful of concepts he investigated, CertaPro, the residential and commercial painting company, kept rising to the top of the list. "I liked that the business was fairly recession-resistant, relatively inexpensive to buy and that it would be easy to scale up," he explained. "There were no brick-and-mortar stores I had to worry about."
Bahner bought his first franchise in 2005 and now has expanded to three, enabling him to serve homeowners and businesses throughout most of Bucks County. His business generates revenue of more than $3 million a year, and he has six employees. He's been impressed with the franchisor's growth strategy, support and values, which emphasize quality work and exemplary customer service. From the beginning, "I felt like I could break bread with these people and that I would be proud to be associated with them," he said. His advice to other potential franchisees: "Do not try to reinvent the wheel," he cautions. "Become operationally excellent with the systems provided."
"The business was fairly recession-resistant, relatively inexpensive to buy and ... it would be easy to scale up."