Cruise Planners

FLORIDA

Janice Sinardi of the home-based travel agency franchise Cruise Planners
Source: Cruise Planners
Janice Sinardi of the home-based travel agency franchise Cruise Planners
Description: Home-based travel agent
Owner: Janice Sinardi
Years in business: 8
No. of franchises owned: 1
Start-up costs: One-time range of $495 to $10,495, depending on experience. The royalty on gross sales is an escalating 1%, 2% and 3%
Franchisor fees: $59 monthly technology access fee
2015 revenue, 2016 revenue projection: $1,168,000; $1,250,000
2016 projected annual growth rate: 7%

Janice Sinardi had been in sales for Princess Cruises for 10 years when she decided at age 55 to join her husband in retirement. "I had been working in the travel industry since I was 18, and I was just tired," she said. Working for Princess, Sinardi was tasked with calling on travel agents throughout western Florida to promote the cruise line and wanted a break from being on the road so much. Yet retirement, she quickly discovered, did not suit her. "I was bored and realized I had retired too soon," Sinardi said. "I still had a passion for the industry and wanted to be involved again."

That's when she started looking for a home-based travel agency with a strong reputation and solid support for their franchise owners. In 2008 she discovered Cruise Planners and by January 2009 was in business for herself. "I spoke to a lot of my cruise-line friends and colleagues, and about 95 percent of them recommended Cruise Planners," she said. The company is affiliated with American Express as a travel representative company, and that brand strength was another attractive feature, she added.

Additional franchisee resources

Among the other reasons why Sinardi chose Cruise Planners was the training and support she receives from the franchisor. "Our management team is strong and well respected by leaders in our industry, and that spoke volumes to me having been in this business." Sinardi is impressed with the support and guidance she gets from the Cruise Planners home office. "They give me every tool that I could want to support my business," she said, "including constant training and updates with my own business development coach, IT training and social media training."

Although she's busy throughout the year, Sinardi said January through March is especially hectic as clients plan their spring and summer vacations. "I was scared in the beginning about whether I could run my own business, but now I just love being my own boss," she said, noting that she has two part-time employees and projects sales of more than $1.2 million in 2016. Most importantly, she added, is the motivation she gets from other franchise owners.

"When I come back from our annual convention, it's like I've been given a shot of adrenaline," she said. "I learn so much from the other franchisees and feel so motivated about my own business."

"I was scared in the beginning about whether I could run my own business, but now I just love being my own boss." -Janice Sinardi

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