Learn about the benefits of starting a franchise from multiple-center owner Sheryl Ross.
Sheryl Ross has been a part of The UPS Store franchise network for almost two decades. During her time with The UPS Store, Sheryl has steadily grown her business and now owns four centers in California.
Before starting out as a franchise owner, Sheryl was an insurance account manager for a school district. This experience gave her a unique perspective on the needs of her current customers.
“I was my customer, I was the one that was on the road and my office was in my car,” Sheryl said about her previous career. “That's who I was and now I'm at the opposite end of it.”
Recently, Sheryl reflected on her journey of opening a franchise and becoming a multiple-center owner (MCO) with The UPS Store. Below is a summary of Sheryl’s conversation (some parts have been edited for length and clarity).
How starting a franchise has changed her life
Owning my own business has changed my life dramatically. It gives me freedom, it gives me stability. I've had some tragic things happen in my life that I'm able to take care of with my family and not worry about my day-to-day job. It’s a blessing to me, to be where I'm at today owning my own business with The UPS Store franchise network.
Why she wanted to own more than one franchise location
I decided to become a multi-center owner to make more money. The only way I could see to make more money was to put more things in place. And that's what I did – until I decided how much money I wanted to make, then I stopped.
Why she loves owning multiple The UPS Store locations
I own four stores and I'm very proud of each of them. Owning multiple units gives me a competition for each new location I open. To be able to reach for new sales goals and be recognized for this achievement within the franchise network. Three of the four stores that I own are in the top four sales-level categories and my fourth store will be there this year. So that gives me the drive.
And then to have my employees and just knowing that you're helping people and that you're there for them. I love it, I could own ten stores or twenty if I had the time.
On the freedom afforded by owning multiple centers
I go to work when I want to go to work. If I don't have time to make it to a specific location, I have a competent staff in place to handle the day-to-day operations. I love it. I have grown my business where I am not the sole provider in that business – I have employees that I oversee. I learned that through the MCO training I went through and I've put that in practice and I am a happy, grateful franchisee.
On the importance of delegating
I think the benefits of owning multiple franchise locations is that it allows you to have a little bit more freedom. You can't be at every store at one time, so you have to really be disciplined and trust your employees.
Entrepreneurs don’t always like giving away control. But in order to grow, you need to delegate some tasks to free up the time to focus on the bigger picture.
On what prevents franchisees from owning multiple centers
What holds single-center owners back, I feel, from owning multiple centers is fear. It's the fear of "I have one center, I'm doing OK. Do I really want to add another one? And, what if that new center doesn’t do as well?"
That is a big fear. That was my fear. And also the fear of losing control. When you're a business owner of a single location, you are it. You’re the location. You're the face. You're everybody. When you have multiple centers, you can't be that.
Letting go of control is a big hurdle for entrepreneurs. But once you get past those two fears – those were my two fears – and once I got past it, it was easy. It was easy because you have staff, you're not in it by yourself, and you have a great franchise network with The UPS Store.
On what makes her business successful
My locations are successful because The UPS Store brand is a great brand. The brand alone brings so many people through my doors… When I became a franchise owner, my sales increased dramatically for three years.
The other piece of my success is the network of franchise owners. We’re independent business owners and working together makes us more successful. I think we take so much pride to take care of the brand and deliver our world-class customer service. I am so into customer service.
How she grows her business
I'm currently the president of our local group of centers, called a co-op, and I also advertise for my individual locations. I advertise using Every Door Direct Mailers (EDDM). We go out to chamber events. We have our own events inside our stores. Right now, we're doing a huge shred event through our co-op.
To get people back into the store, we advertise a lot by word of mouth, with bounce-back coupons where every customer leaves the store with something to bring them back – and through whatever our means allow at the time.
How The UPS Store franchise system helps her grow her business
A big way that The UPS Store franchise network has supported me in becoming a multi-unit owner is through technology. I think our technology's great. Our systems that are in place are great.
When I'm buying a new franchise center, the team from headquarters is there to help walk me through the buying – what to do, what not to do. They help design our stores the way we want them and it's great. I can pick up the phone and talk to someone if I need help. If I have a concern about something operationally, they're there for me and I know that – and it's a great comfort that I'm not out there by myself.
On helping small business owners
How I support our small businesses, I think it's very important we all work together because I'm a small business. I am there to help our small business customers look bigger. I want to help them be successful, to help them build larger client bases. We put all that in front of them and help them with whatever decisions they make.
Right now, I have two subscription businesses that we do everything for. They bring it in, we print the cards, we separate everything and just try to make their job a lot easier. They can focus on what's important to them. Packaging and printing are not for every business owner. It is our business, and I want that business to come to me for those services.
Her advice for potential franchisees
I would recommend to anybody that wants to own their own business to become a The UPS Store franchise owner. In this franchise system, you will have support. You will have a lot of support. And you have people you can talk to. You’ll have your business plan and goals, and you can go as little as you want or as far as you want. The platform is open and it's up to you to create it. That's exciting!
Other franchise systems don't provide the same level of support. Sometimes, others franchise businesses take the money but they don't do a lot. I've talked to other business owners that are in franchise networks and they are so upset because they don’t have the support and not all of us know what to do when we get here. Some of us went to college, some of us didn't. I didn't go to college, I learned by the hard-knock school and I'm loving it.
Looking to the future
I plan to be part of The UPS Store franchise until I am unable to work anymore.
I have a lot of employees that would like to buy my business. So that’s my long-term goal. To help these young women become entrepreneurs and be able to buy a business where they have worked. Where they know the business and where they will have a better life because of it, just like I have. And I get to pass that on to them.
Interested in starting a The UPS Store Franchise? Contact our franchise development team to get started.