If the past 18 months has shown anything, it’s that the home services market is one of the most resilient that investors can buy into. Not only have recurring stay at- home orders around the world led people to remain in their properties perhaps more than any other period in human history, but a completely evolved way of working that now firmly includes remote operations means that people are choosing to remain in their homes for larger portions of their day.
What this means is that homeowners, landlords, and property maintenance specialists are looking to prioritize spending on home repairs and refurbishment. And for Neighborly’s network of 4,800-plus franchise businesses, all falling within the professional service industry, this has caused a consistent demand for services – and healthy growth of franchisee success.
“For most people, their home is their largest investment, so they’re incentivized to take care of it. Neighborly brands are focused on enhancing, repairing, and maintaining that investment. While many businesses slowed or closed over the last year and a half, the home services industry has grown,” says Brad Stevenson, chief development officer for Neighborly.
“With people spending more time at home because of the pandemic and remote work arrangements, homeowners have prioritized improvements and renovations to make their investments more comfortable, enjoyable, and valuable.
As a result, they continue to call on the professionals who can ensure their plumbing, air conditioning, and appliances are efficiently running. These realities have benefitted Neighborly brand franchises.”
A brand for every need
Part of the appeal of Neighborly is the sheer variety of services covered by its 17 established franchise brands in North America. These all come under the aforementioned professional service industry, but all deal with different aspects of the home. As such, if a homeowner or renter has an issue of any kind, there’s a great chance that Neighborly has the resources to deal with it.
“The National Association of Realtors reported that home prices increased by 17 per cent from March 2020 ($280,700) to March 2021 ($329,100), pushing some out of the buying market and into the rental market. As a result, our Real Property Management franchises have seen a dramatic increase in the need for property management expertise,” says Stevenson.
“And don’t forget what happens when people ready their homes for rent or sale: repairs are always at the top of the list. Brands like Aire Serv and Mr. Rooter Plumbing have seen major increases in service calls. And for those owners who want to stay put, the last year has been the ideal time to take care of improvements and repairs, pushing demand for Mr.
Handyman and Mr. Electric services. “Whether the home is new, up for sale, or getting older, it’s inevitable that homes will always require varying levels of maintenance. Therefore, there will always be a need for professional home service providers.
“Home services franchising offers an ideal opportunity to participate in an ‘evergreen’ industry. Ours is a business with staying power – one that won’t be replaced by technology or computers. For any entrepreneur looking for autonomy, support, resources, and brand recognition, franchise ownership with a Neighborly brand provides a red-hot opportunity to succeed, especially in today’s housing market.”
Attracting every kind of investor
Because of its enduring appeal and resilient nature, Neighborly’s network has attracted franchise investment from each and every kind of investor – in particular, professionals who have worked in a long-term career outside of home services, and are now looking for a reliable, proven investment to continue their success.
This includes prospective business owners who want to come out of retirement and channel their time, expertise, and financial backing into a project that will prove fulfilling, personally and professionally. Take Jim Ednes, for example, who had a 33-year career with the FBI. When looking to rejoin the workforce, Jim wanted something new, and identified Neighborly as the best opportunity to suit his skills and professional drive. He now operates Aire Serv of Martinsburg, serving the West Virginia market, and after just one year has experienced steady demand for his business.
“Whether the home is new, up for sale, or getting older, it’s inevitable that homes will always require varying levels of maintenance. Therefore, there will always be a need for professional home service providers”
Neighborly is also perfect for veterans looking to use their competitive drive and leadership skills in a brand-new way. In fact, across the brand’s thousands of franchise owners, many locations are owned by veterans.
One prime example is Edward “Ed” Piotrowski, who retired from the U.S. Navy and decided to run Mr. Appliance of Howard, Carroll, and Frederick Counties in Maryland with his wife, Beth. Another example is the father-son team of John and Rouven Sefick, who own Mr. Electric of Gainsville, Georgia. The duo both served in the U.S. Air Force and retired as an E-6 (technical sergeant) and E-7 (master sergeant), respectively.
Neighborly is also perfect for franchise owners who started their own business in a completely separate industry, but were looking for a change that reflected their skillset and passions. Eric Campbell and his wife Christy – who were previously a former C-suite healthcare executive and licensed cosmetologist and esthetician, respectively – decided to make a change and launch Mr. Electric of Lutz, Florida.
Valerie Stewart, meanwhile, spent almost 20 years in the human resources arena of corporate America before putting all of her experience into a business that “would allow people to need [her] throughout the year.” That business was Mr. Appliance of Littleton, Colorado, which has been a rewarding venture for Stewart ever since.
“Ours is a business with staying power – one that that won’t be replaced by technology or computers”
Timeless sector in constant demand
The home services space is currently valued at over $250bn, and this number is only set to rise as more millennials become homeowners, and the need for home repairs and maintenance continues to climb.
If you’re looking to jump into franchise ownership for the first time, or have a plethora of experience in this space and want to join one of the most experienced, successful franchisors in the market, then opening one of Neighborly’s many franchise opportunities could be your next best move.
Four reasons to invest in home services
Home improvement projects are on the rise, and home maintenance has never been at the front of consumers’ minds quite like it is today.
For this reason, investing in a home services franchise like the many under the Neighborly umbrella is a smart, timely decision that thousands of franchisees have made.
To outline this point, Brad Stevenson, chief development officer for Neighborly, outlines four reasons why now is the time to dive in to this hands-on sector:
1) Homeowners can’t do it themselves
“There was a time when students were required to take classes dedicated to teaching basic skills such as woodwork or mechanics. Over time, these courses were eliminated and replaced with more traditional classroom subjects.
“Now, those who grew up with little or no training in these basic skills – primarily millennials – are purchasing homes. Their lack of basic maintenance expertise contributes to the increased demand for professionals to tackle household projects, resulting in what the industry today refers to as ‘the golden age of service’.”
2) Homeowners don’t want to do it themselves
“Millennials aren’t the only homeowners dependent on professional service providers. Baby boomers, who in many cases have the know-how to complete such projects themselves, would still prefer to leave it to the professionals.
“As homes age, they require ongoing upkeep, and the best way for a boomer to keep retirement relaxing is to bring in professionals to do the work for them – for example, Molly Maid to clean their home, Mr. Appliance or Mr. Electric to fix their smart devices, and The Grounds Guys to mow their lawn.”
3) Homeowners will pay for convenience
“Before the pandemic, homeowners were known to have more disposable income, but less spare time to spend on home improvement projects. In today’s current state, that may not reign true, but we have found through our brands that if homeowners can afford it, they are much more likely to pay to save time as opposed to learning how to tackle various household projects themselves.
“Franchisors recognize this push for convenience, making innovative strides to ensure homeowners can connect with all the providers they need more easily than ever with ‘one-stop-shop’ cross-marketing platforms.”
4) Systems are capable of keeping up with trends
“While traditional mom-and-pop providers are certainly still capable of quality service, they rarely have the resources to support increased demand and expectations of the modern consumer. But the owner of a locally owned and operated franchise business has access to training in the latest technologies, group pricing discounts, and more support to keep their business ahead of the competition.
“As long as people intend to live in and enjoy the comfort of their own homes, Neighborly’s family of home service brands will be able to help them. And that’s why franchise ownership in the home services industry is the career path for anyone who seeks stability and a promising future, even in a ‘new normal’.
At a glance Neighborly
Year Established: 1981
Number of franchised outlets: Over 4,800
Location of units: U.S.A., Canada, U.K., Germany, and Austria
Investment range: Varies by brand
Minimum required capital: Varies by brand