Meet our Franchisees: Dale Tomalin, Spray-Net Southern Wisconsin.
With over 30 years of experience in corporate America, Dale decided to leave his day job to start his own business as a Spray-Net franchisee. With no formal painting or renovation experience, Dale relied on the sales, marketing and finance experience he developed over decades in the insurance and credit union industries to follow through on his dream of running his own business. Instead of “selling promises on paper,” today Dale delivers a tangible product and service that homeowners in Southern Wisconsin can really experience.
Tell us a little about your professional background.
I’ve spent the better part of thirty years building a wide-ranging set of skills in the corporate world: from building and motivating teams, to building and managing consumer/B2B brands, to creating and executing lead generation programs, to executing B2B and consumer research, as well as managing business units P&L’s.
Why did you decide to leave the corporate scene?
Early last year I was catching up with my best friends from high school and this notion of opening a franchise came up after more than a few glasses of Blanton bourbon. What if I left corporate America and franchised something? I couldn’t get the conversation out of my head. A week and a half later, out of the blue, I got an email from a franchise broker asking, “Ever thought about owning your own business? Tired of corporate America?” I’m a strong believer in fate and I thought, I need to have this conversation. With support from my wife of more than 26 years, I started working with the broker.
Have you always wanted to own your own business? What made you decide to take the leap into entrepreneurship?
I’ve always had this inner drive to build something for myself and my family and my goal is to spend the next 10 years building a business for them. My vision is to build a business to put my family in a secure financial position and potentially leave a legacy business for my children and/or employees. I envision building a business that has a positive impact on and within the communities I serve.
How do you think your corporate experience and the skills you developed along the way will help you run your Spray-Net franchise?
Building the Spray-Net brand in a new market is at the core of what I have done for majority of my career. The beauty of Spray-Net is that it’s a tangible product that consumers can experience. Having a real and tangible product is exciting to me as I spent the latter part of my career positioning insurance products (basically a promise on paper to pay in the future). I love the idea that I’m able to continue doing what I enjoyed most about my corporate job. I spent nearly 20 years in the cooperative/credit union industry where the mission is people helping people. That’s what got me jazzed for 20 years. Now I get to do the same thing with Spray-Net: help people fall in love with their homes again.
Why the franchising route to starting a business? What were the main advantages that were important to you?
The franchise model provides you with a blueprint and the support to build a successful business. There’s no way I could build a business without this infrastructure.
And why a Spray-Net franchise in particular? What stood out the most to you about our concept compared to the other options you were evaluating?
Spray-Net is a start-up brand. While it’s a proven model in Canada, the concept and brand is new to the US. The challenge to build a new brand in Southern Wisconsin thrills me and drives me every day! I wanted to be an early adopter and take a HUGE risk that could have a BIG payout. The product and brand have a very strong value proposition and early feedback from consumers in my market is extremely positive. I believe in the product, technology, vision and leadership of the franchise. That’s what separated Spray-Net from other concepts.
What advice would you give someone who has the itch to start their own business, but is afraid to take the leap and leave their 9-5?
Be thorough in your research and ask questions from everyone. I found tremendous value in having real conversations with existing Spray-Net franchisees during my research phase. I would also strongly encourage someone considering a franchise to go spend “a day in the life” of a franchisee. I can’t wait to pass what I have learned to others.
What is your favourite part about being a Spray-Net franchisee?
Providing my clients with a killer transformation. I love selling clients on the vision and then watching (and helping) my team produce the final product.