The company oversees more than 1,000 franchises operating in the U.S., Canada and Mexico across three brands:
- •Budget Blinds, the top-ranked window covering franchise in the United States since 1996;
- •Tailored Living, which is a home organization franchise;
- •Concrete Craft, formerly All American Decorative Concrete, the nation’s only decorative concrete franchise, which the company acquired and rebranded in late 2014.
“We feel like we work harder and smarter than everyone else,” Hallock adds. “At the end of the day, a great attitude and great work ethic is what makes us successful, and I think people can feel and sense that and want to be a part of it.”
HFC provides its more than 1,000 franchisees with shared services and support.
“When we started, the industry was very fragmented and archaic in the way it does business. We didn’t feel that the industry should be the way it was, so we set out to change that,” Hallock says of the company’s business model. “The window coverings industry had always been made up of dealers working against each other; we decided that we’re better off as a unified brand, so we carved out territories for our franchisees instead of having them compete against each other.”
All franchisees have the opportunity to benefit from the company’s nearly $10 million annual national advertising budget, which goes toward television, print, radio and online advertising and is funded by the National Advertising Fund to which all franchisees contribute. “We put this all into place to drive leads for them. Once they get the leads, we have to make sure the products they offer are the best in the marketplace, the pricing is the best available, and we have unique products that no-one else has the opportunity to offer,” he adds.
The company’s vendor alliance department sources goods from around the world. Manufacturers and suppliers are also invited to attend HFC’s annual product showcase, which Hallock says attracts a larger turnout than similar industry-wide events.
HFC’s system-wide sales volume – more than $350 million annually – assures it preferential pricing and features. “We’re the behemoth in the industry. Because of our size, we can go to our partners and get the best pricing for our franchisees,” Hallock says. “The dealers our franchises compete against can’t go to vendors and request certain features or styles; because of our size we’re able to influence how we want the product made and at what price.”
HFC’s close relationships with vendors enable it to be first on the market with new products. “Also, so much of what we sell is private-label,” he adds. “This enables our franchisees to sell things that cannot be shopped.”
The company also leverages technology to assist its franchisees. HFC in March launched a customer relationship management (CRM) system that allows franchisees to order products from manufacturers through a single, central portal. Previously, franchisees needed to use multiple systems to source products. HFC developed the system in-house.
“This will cut down on 80 percent of the workload our franchisees used to have when it came to monitoring and managing their businesses,” Hallock says. “This is designed to make things much easier, so our franchisees can spend more time in the field and less time in the office.”
HFC also recently redesigned its franchise licensing website to spotlight all three of its brands. The company later this year will launch an e-commerce division, Made Blinds, to handle electronic orders and inquiries. Franchisees will have the opportunity to participate in projects local to their area that are generated from the website.
“We will share profits with franchisees for any work done in their territory,” he adds.
HFC’s sharing of profits from the new e-commerce venture is a reflection of the company’s team-oriented philosophy. “We care very much about the success of every franchisee and about the success of our employees,” Hallock says.
The positive results of the company’s belief in the “golden rule” of treating others the way you want to be treated are apparent to visitors and customers. “Everyone who comes here comments on how nice, friendly and helpful everyone is,” he adds. “Anyone who walks in here says the culture is unbeatable and they’ve never seen anything like it.”
HFC’s employee-friendly culture also extends outside of its own doors. The company’s community outreach programs include work with Wounded Warriors Canada as well as U.S.-based veterans organizations such as Homes For Our Troops.
Veterans also have the opportunity to become HFC franchisees at a discount. The company’s newest program “Troops in Transition” waives the initial franchise and territory fees – $75,000 – for eligible members of the Armed Forces with either two years left to serve or honorable discharges within the past two years. Veterans who have been inactive for more than two years can receive a $15,000 discount off their initial franchise fee.
“I believe that we can’t do enough for our veterans,” Hallock says. “These are men and women who make sacrifices for our country, and so many people talk a good game that they’re doing something for them but at the end of the day it really doesn’t. What we’re doing is something that’s not really been done before.”