Franchising has been around for a long time, and unlike what many people would believe, many options are waiting for more people to join and start their own businesses.
Thus, if you are looking for business opportunities, you should consider this model as long as there’s a franchise and niche you’re interested in.
We’re confident every niche has dozens of franchising options, and you would be surprised at how well many of them are, but also quite bad, which takes us to the main question: How do you know which franchise systems are good options?
One franchise that has been successful for over two decades is Our Town America. Although it offers different types of services and opportunities compared to others, it is worth reading about it.
This is why we decided to make it easy for you and provide the information through this franchise business review to determine whether it is the opportunity you’ve been looking for or a hard pass you shouldn’t spend more of your time in.
Mission & History: About Our Town America
The most common franchises tend to focus on services and products that involve cleaning, deliveries, shipments, and solving regular issues and needs people to have in a location.
MaidPro, for example, is a top-rated cleaning franchise. However, it isn’t the best to start if you don’t want to be involved in this niche.
Our Town America has a different industry and, thus, a target audience that could suit your preferences.
The goal of the company and franchisees once they take part in the business is to help new movers or neighbors feel at home in their new community by recommending local reputable businesses and services.
In the process, Our Town America focuses on helping local sponsors reach new movers each month and, thus, potential clients for both parties to gain something.
For local businesses, this is one of the best ways to have new loyal and long-term customers. At the same time, the latter are able to find reliable professionals and stores willing to provide them with the expected services and products.
This franchise has a very different approach than others, which we briefly mentioned in the example earlier.
This is why there’s a common question: How did the franchise start in this niche and decided to aim for this problem?
There isn’t much information or details of how the company started in terms of logistics and started to grow, but we can share the story behind someone deciding to get on board with the idea.
To begin with, the founder of the company was Michael Plummer Sr., who used to run a retail business before starting his own company (Michael Plummer Jr. is his son and current CEO).
The story takes us back to 1972 when Plummer discovered how crucial it is to welcome new neighbors.
While most people would take it as a way to show interest and attention, he noticed the immense, long-term benefits of reaching out while people were still adjusting to new environments.
He was able to do so when Plummer started to invite them in with an authentic, one-time gift, which was his food and attention to make them feel comfortable, and the results were easy to measure.
He continued to see the same faces returning every time to the retail business he managed and had an increase in sales without any further advertising.
The reason lay in the fact that people loved the great food and excellent service offered by Michael.
As a result, the retail owner decided to go for a different approach: Introduce more local businesses to those who needed them so both parties (and him) could earn something from it.
This is why the company has invested over 50 years in carrying out many ways to reach people.
The simple yet powerful concept of inviting new movers into a business works better than any other, and they are one of the best franchises to take the cherry on the cake when doing so.
For Our Town America, all that matters is getting people to businesses’ doors to see what they have to say and help companies reach their most likely future customers: Their neighbors.
You can consider the franchise to be a marketing company that doesn’t focus on digital or common advertising. Instead, it uses a very common yet one of the most efficient methods known as word of mouth but a bit different.
Since this started in 1972, the company has included hundreds of families to introduce them to local businesses and leading to millions annually.
The popularity behind the franchise lies in how Michael Plummer Sr. built a great reputation with his neighbors and the rest of the people in the city they were initially located. Thus, everyone trusted what he had to offer and who he would recommend.
To this date, the company continues to maintain high integrity and quality to make sure only real and trustworthy local businesses are recommended.
Timeline – How Our Town America Became Successful
We know it can be a bit confusing to understand how the business started in terms of franchising and growing.
This is why we decided to include a short timeline to ensure you’re able to follow the company’s success and know when it started franchising in the first place.
After all, it started as the only place to connect local businesses with people but has grown to over 70 locations by 2021.
- 1972: The company welcomes new movers to Newton, Iowa. They deliver community packages through in-home presentations made by hostesses.
- 1978: It uses the United States Postal Service for distribution. This is a major step in the development of the industry to be more efficient and for welcoming families.
- 1984-1989: Alternative distribution methods, including UPS delivery and Solo Mail, were evaluated to give local businesses more distribution and personalization.
- 1990: Our Town America moves to St. Petersburg, Florida, into an office space on Central Avenue.
- 1997: Industries Shaking Improvements, zip code selection, exclusion, gift magnet, and information features for new mover response are included.
- 2003: A new industry landmark, more detailed analysis of movers’ responses, and online surveys included moving to the digital world.
- 2005: Our Town America starts franchising in the USA.
For the last 15 years, the franchise has exponentially grown in the country thanks to the reception from new families and local businesses who have joined the program to be advertised and introduced to local clients.
Becoming a Franchisee – Way Too Expensive or Affordable?
The main issue with most franchises is the cost and fees you have to deal with in order to join and in the long run.
There are very few that set affordable and reasonable conditions (in our opinion). Although you have many to choose from, you really need to think if franchising is the business model you want to invest in and if Our Town America is the best option for you.
That being said, we will meet our responsibility of letting you know the fees and investment you will have to face in order to join the franchise.
Just in advance, it may not be that expensive depending on how much you were expecting.
- Initial franchise fee: $47.500.
- Initial investment: From $64.000 to $86.250.
- Net worth required: $160.000.
- Cash Required: $70.000.
- Discount for veterans: $10k off the franchise fee.
- Royalty fee: 5% fixed.
- Ad royalty fee: 1% fixed.
The franchise term of the company is renewable since the term, or the franchise agreement only lasts for ten years as most franchises.
Now, what do you truly get from the investment and continuous fee you have to pay?
All franchises, or depending on the niche they’re dedicated to, will offer support and training. Our Town America isn’t the exception with this.
The program offered consists of 40 hours of on-the-job training + another 40 for classroom training. Additionally, more training is provided depending on the location the franchisee is located.
On the other hand, the support includes all the assistance to purchase real estate or set the location, online services, meetings and conventions, newsletter, grand opening, software, and much more.
The company also handles marketing strategy as they will deal with ads, social media, SEO, email marketing, and other lead generation strategies. Thus, it explains the ad royalty fee and some additional ones for the support.
Finally, an exclusive territory is provided, which you must have guessed as the franchise handles the entire settlement of the new place.
Considering the fees and investment ranges (which vary depending on time, location, and additional services), we believe it is one of the most affordable franchises available in the US.
Ranking #394 for the top 500 franchises in the country stands strong and has continued in the chart since 2017.
Pros & Cons: Making a Decision
We know it isn’t easy to say, “I’m going to invest $60k+,” which is why we are always trying to make the decision a bit easier.
As you could read, we don’t consider Our Town America a bad option but rather one of the best. However, this doesn’t mean everything is perfect, and there’s nothing to consider or evaluate.
We will never get tired of mentioning that all companies, businesses, and franchise opportunities have pros and cons; sometimes, there’s a balance between them or one that predominates.
In the case of this franchise, you will be able to see it by yourself:
- It can be started or run with only one person, which means a management team
- You can run it from home or a mobile unit.
- The franchisor has a great reputation, which makes it easier for you to build clientele.
- Long-term fees and royalties are fixed, unlike other franchises.
- It requires less than $100k for initial investment, which is great considering most franchisees have to spend about $150k+. Overall costs aren’t elevated.
- Specific equipment or tools aren’t really required but rather optional.
- You can’t run the franchise as a part-time business.
- Absentee ownership isn’t allowed.
- You need to deal with franchise fees for the rest of your life or during your period as a franchisee.
- It takes a couple of weeks to start, though it is questionable whether this is a pro or con since you can begin sooner than with other franchises and get revenue.
Something we want to include yet not as a con is a fact that you need social skills.
It isn’t easy to connect local businesses with clients or people with the companies they need unless you are able to connect with them first.
It takes networking and interaction to make this business work, and you might not be cut for it. However, training is very likely to help with this if you decide to make the investment.
Our Thoughts: Is Franchising the Only Option?
It is clear that becoming a franchisee to own a business isn’t the only option, but we know you are asking this in another light: Is it the best or worst?
Franche systems aren’t the worst, but we don’t consider them the best either due to franchise operations and how franchisors and brands operate.
To stick to our honesty, we can tell you to take your time and assess the situation before making a decision since franchising overall includes more than just paying for royalties and initial investments. Still, we get that you might be excited about the simple idea of having your own business and relying on a proven business model that shouldn’t involve too much risk.
Suppose you are able to afford the franchise investment and are interested in the franchise system. In that case, we believe this is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to become a small business owner. But if you are doing it as a way to start something new without considering it carefully, it isn’t the best you can do.
Franchisees will be required to work continuously, which is an amazing thing, but it also means that investing most of your time on it will be inevitable.
When you start this business based on another company, it is difficult to predict when you will have enough sleep or if you will be successful regardless of the support and franchise’s reputation since you also need to maintain the standard most prospective franchisees agree to.
The idea is profitable but continues to be risky in its own way.
For us, options like digital real estate tend to be more profitable and affordable: You don’t need much investment and can work from home.
Also, it is very easy to understand.
Imagine that you have a client who owns an outdoor services company. Your main goal will be to build a website for that company and attract potential clients for the business.
To be more specific and technical, you will be generating leads for this client, and you are going to get paid for each of them generated using strategies and the website as a part of a sales funnel.
They can be generated by ranking your website on Google using the right SEO tools and other methods that have been growing in popularity but also using them depending on the niche of the company you’re helping.
After ranking the site, you will need to charge a commission per lead.
It can be hard work at first, but once you rank and start generating leads on one or more sites, you will keep making money (and a passive one at that).
What If You Want to Give Both a Try?
You could still consider digital real estate if the idea of franchising continues to appeal to you since you could work less in generating leads yet work towards your own franchise growth and have an additional income.
You can view it as a way to generate leads for your website and build your own leads, and you will be able to avoid hiring someone.
You have two choices: Either make one of them your only investment, or you can work with both of them simultaneously depending on your needs, time, and ideas.
However, keep in mind that getting started in digital real estate requires some knowledge and training.
A training program that we are familiar with will provide all the necessary information and steps.
Do you feel like getting deeper into this world? You can get the missing info here!
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