SpeedPro Imaging

SpeedPro

SpeedPro Imaging franchisees value the scalable business model

while combining creativity with entrepreneurship.

By Staci Davidson, Knighthouse Media

Larry Oberly, president and CEO of SpeedPro Imaging has been in franchising for 27 years. He started with Baskin-Robbins in 1992 as a franchisee and bought his second store in 1993. He was twice elected to the company’s national marketing committee and profitably sold his stores by 1998. He served on the inaugural Fair Franchising Standards Committee with the mission of ensuring equality. He was then asked to join the home office of the number one real estate franchise in the world, RE/MAX, in order to grow the brand in the United States and internationally. When asked to lead SpeedPro Imaging as chief executive officer (CEO), he recognized the vast potential in the system and strong roots as a franchise system and stepped up to take the reins.

“SpeedPro has a lot of things that I love,” Oberly says. “It is a very entrepreneurial model, and every studio has a different focus, different clients and different industries they can focus on. The owner can really scale up to whatever size they want with our model, and they are not limited to selling just in a small geographic area. The franchisee leverages lower-cost flex or light-industrial space. I like that it is a business-to-business model. Our owners love serving hundreds of customers per year, not hundreds per day, and that hours are generally 8 to 5, Monday through Friday. Our average sale is significant as are our gross product margins.”SpeedProwebsite info box1

SpeedPro is the nation’s leader in large-format graphics, providing clients with superior display graphic products such as wall murals, window and floor graphics, event and tradeshow displays, car wraps and much more. The company’s studios partner with clients for the long-term, working as an extension of their marketing teams and advertising agencies and collaborating with them to deliver custom solutions.

“Every studio gets the same tools, resources and support,” Oberly explains. “We have a number of owners who work different verticals, and it’s up to them on what they want to pursue. Fleet wraps, for example, are a very big business for us. Some of our studios specialize in vehicle wraps and provide graphics for big fleets of 150 to 200 vehicles at a time. Other studios don’t have that focus – they may only do 50 car wraps in a year. Many studios focus on wall murals or floor, window and ceiling graphics or Point of Sale Displays and trade show booths.

“Every owner has a specialty and a type of client he or she likes to work with,” he adds. “We encourage each individual to experiment and develop the type of business he or she enjoys most. Because of the nature of working on large, often-complex projects, we develop long term relationships with our clients, which fosters recurring business from the same client over time.”

Cooperative Club

SpeedPro has approximately 135 units in the United States and Oberly is excited to grow the network. He says that the company typically looks for franchisees who are Type-A people who love networking, building relationships and selling. Successful SpeedPro franchisees are problem solvers who excel at consultative sales, working collaboratively with each client to help him or her achieve a vision.

“What I hear from owners is they really enjoy the business,” Oberly says. “It is something that comes from the heart. Our owners wanted to work for themselves, but not by themselves. Every day is different, and they are presented with challenges and opportunities to solve problems for their clients. Owners get to use their creative nature and be entrepreneurial, and they enjoy the small-team environment. The average studio has two to five employees, so owners can be very hands-on in operating the business.”

SpeedPro Imaging frequently works with many types of businesses, nonprofits, schools, religious organizations, transportation services and more, reaching most major industries. The company has identified 30 different verticals for its franchisees to target. Oberly notes last year the company served 45 of the Fortune 500 companies. SpeedPro franchises also tend to be “cooperative, not competitive” with other printing firms, advertising agencies and other marketing vessels. For example, SpeedPro Imaging serves as a white-label large-format printing arm for many small-format printers in order to better serve their clients.

“There is plenty of business out there for all of us to work together,” he says. “We have a club mentality with a very open and sharing type of environment. Even studios in the same marketplace are very cooperative with each other and the owners appreciate that.”

Not only does Oberly have big plans to grow the overall network, but also to nurture scaling within each individual location. Because of the nature of the model, there is no limit to how large a single location can grow. According to Oberly, the average studio open for at least two years had gross annual sales of about $600,000 in 2018 and the company is ramping up and he believes the average studio open for at least two years will gross over $1 million annually by 2022. With its Studio Performance Improvement Plan, SpeedPro plans to grow through enhanced communication, education of franchisees, systems, benchmarking, creative coaching programs, and innovation.

“If you look at our net promoter score, we are driving excellent customer satisfaction and driving opportunities for referrals and repeat business,” Oberly says. “Our score is 96, which is off the charts. Our owners know how to provide great and timely service and being the best in the wide-format industry is critically important to us.

“We are staying as close to the owners as we possibly can to help ensure their growth,” he adds. “With our ‘ask the owners’ communications system, any owner can ask the others for solutions to issues. Our Franchisee Advisory Council also is very active in helping the owner group and drive innovation. We are very focused on staying close to our owners and being in step with their needs so they can achieve their goals.”

 

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