Starting a Business in Your 50s: Why This Former CEO Started a Spray-Net Franchise to Follow his Passion


Who is Dave?

Dave Martin is 56 years old. He’s been CEO twice in his life for start-ups and large multi-million-dollar kitchen and bath manufacturers in North America. Over the past 30 years, he’s been hired for assignments ranging from business development to re-structuring. He’s developed sales and manufacturing departments and has succeeded in reducing operational costs while increasing productivity. A typical Monday for Dave is enjoying his cityscape view from his floor-to-ceiling windowed office as he sips his morning espresso. NOT! At the age of 56 this boomer decided he was done with the corporate world and bouncing his family from place to place. Instead, he decided it was finally time to take control of his life and pursue his passion with a Spray-Net franchise. 

Starting a business in your 50s for a more fulfilled and balanced lifestyle

A real Monday for Dave is gearing up in his Spray-Net polo and sports jacket and visiting homeowners to quote them on revamping their siding, doors or windows. Or, you can find him in his Spray-Net orange tee on a job site getting his hands dirty with his crew of young spray painters.

Dave & his crew on-site at one of their jobs in Calgary

“After over 30 years of building businesses for others, I chose to take control of my life in a way that’s not always possible when working for others,” says Dave, the proud hands-on operator of the Spray-Net Calgary franchise in Alberta, Canada. Like others who have experienced the stress and gratification of the corporate grind, Dave eventually wanted one thing: stability. “I loved the challenge but hated putting my family through all the moves and never feeling like we had a home base.” That’s when he decided to plant his and his family’s feet firm in the city of Calgary to start his own business and create a balanced lifestyle.

Some may think starting a business and achieving a balanced lifestyle are two incompatible goals, but not Dave, who always wanted to run his own business in the home-improvement industry. With his impressive resume, waiting until the age of 56 to start his business wasn’t because of a lack of experience. “It was more about finding the right fit. The opportunity to join Spray-Net came at a time when I was desperately needing a challenge and change in direction.”

Request info from our franchise recruitment team and find out how you can start your own home-improvement business like Dave!

Dave’s age served as an advantage in starting his business

Like Dave, many people choose to start a business in their 50s. Others, however, aren’t so willing to take the leap. Whether you have a lifetime of experience in a certain industry or none at all, there’s always that one concern: that being in your 50s serves as a limitation to jumping into something new and taking control of your life and your dreams. A lot of the spotlight tends to shine on young millennial entrepreneurs. But as a boomer in your 50s, you have a few major advantages over your 20-something counterparts:

  1. Your working experience is an invaluable asset to your business. You’ve acquired industry knowledge, skills and valuable connections with clients and other entrepreneurs that you can leverage.
  2. You have more clarity in terms of your life priorities. Years of experience has given you a clearer picture of what you want in life. Now, you can start focusing on creating a real game plan.
  3. You’re past diapers and teenagers. You’re not in the process of raising a family, so you have more time to invest in your business, which is especially critical at the beginning.
  4. Customers will trust you. The saying goes that “no one will hire you in your 50s,” but they’ll definitely buy from you! You’ll be met with much more consumer trust compared to someone in their 20s.
  5. You have more working capital. You aren’t tied up in large mortgage payments and have more money saved up, so you won’t feel the financial burden as much.

If there’s anyone who knows how to be an independent business owner, it’s Dave. “Been there, done that,” he says. For this former corporate exec, there wasn’t a point of doing it all from scratch. “Choosing a franchise over starting from scratch is a no-brainer. You get all the benefits of being in business for yourself with the advantage of starting off with a proven concept, brand recognition and the support of a successful team. Having this in place gives you a tremendous head start so you can focus on building your sales pipeline and not sweating the details.”

Why Dave chose Spray-Net

“I researched multiple franchises over a couple of years before choosing Spray-Net,” says Dave. “Spray-Net’s unique ‘formulation to application’ model is easy to understand. I can sell the value with absolute confidence.”

By formulation to application, Dave is referring to the fact that we do things differently when it comes to exterior painting. We formulate our own line of industrial-strength paints and coatings, and we apply them using our specialized spraying equipment. In a nutshell, we’ve combined the roles of paint manufacturer and service provider into one innovative and permanent exterior paint solution. In just one day, we revamp exterior siding, stucco, doors, windows and even brick for a fraction of the cost of replacement. With every project, we deliver a factory-quality finish that won’t peel and looks just like-new… not repainted. Our solution gives homeowners a new way to beautify their homes and cost-effectively boost curb appeal.

Our unique approach to exterior painting and patent-pending weather-adjustable paint formulations provide our franchisees with a strategic advantage when speaking to their customers. When Dave and his team arrive on-site, they measure the real-time wind, heat and humidity. Then, they input these parameters into our custom-designed software, The Spray-Network. The Spray-Network tells them exactly how to adjust paint formulation on-site to create the ideal chemistry that can withstand the weather conditions for improved application and long-lasting results.

What Dave wants to tell you about starting a business in your 50s

Today, Dave enjoys the freedom of running his own business in an industry he loves. “Long before I found Spray-Net, I first decided on the home-improvement industry and chose the key roles I wanted to play.” And that was working hands on in his business. He drives his lettered F-150 around the city of Calgary to provide quotes to his customers and to schedule his jobs. He even goes to his job sites to manage and help his crew. “The Spray-Net experience so far has provided me with the challenge and sense of purpose I was looking. I have the energy and enthusiasm to get through many a long day.” 

Starting a business at any age can be a scary thing. “On the flip side, at 50+ you can leverage your life experience and really hone in on the right opportunity for you. Investing in a proven concept, especially one lead by a team of young talented individuals alleviates much of the fear and uncertainty.”

For Dave, it was all about finding the right concept with a good ROI. A service-based, mobile franchise like Spray-Net was exactly the kind of investment he was looking for: no brick and mortar location to invest in, no wasted inventory and equally important, a turn-key franchise system which gives him exclusive access to our innovative products and technology. “The margins are fantastic and the investment is fair for what you get,” he says.

One of Dave’s happy customer reviews on Homestars

Dave’s advice for starting a business in your 50’s is to ask yourself 3 important questions:

1) Is the business model easy to understand, execute and does it provide true value for consumers?
2) Is the financial investment and ROI attractive?
3) Do I connect with the ownership and management team on a personal and cultural level?

You’re on the right track if you answer yes to each one of these questions.

As a member of the white-haired brigade, Dave’s way of achieving balance was to join a young team. “The decision to be part of a young franchised concept was something I was specifically looking for.”

Whether you’re 50 or 20 and you want to start a business, Dave has the same advice: “Select a career that excites you! I have 30+ years of experience doing all kinds of stuff I didn’t enjoy… I knew what I liked and went for it! If you are passionate about what you do for a living and maintain a solid physical regime, success is sure to follow.”

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