Starting a Business Without Experience: Why This 26-Year-Old Carpenter Started a Spray-Net Franchise to Become His Own Boss
Not all short-cuts are bad. Especially those that shorten your path to success. That’s the motto of 26-year-old entrepreneur Nathan McQuaid, who started a Spray-Net franchise to follow his dream of owning his own business in the home-improvement industry. Having done carpentry work with his father as a teenager, he was pretty confident with the hands-on part of running a home-improvement business. What he lacked was real business experience. Instead of going through the trial-and-errors of building a business from the ground up, he turned to franchising to fast-track his goal of becoming his own boss.
Who is Nathan?
Nathan is co-owner of the Spray-Net Charlottetown franchise in Prince Edward Island, Canada. At just 26-years old, he’s our youngest franchise partner. This year, he completed one of Spray-Net’s largest projects to date. He and his team sprayed over 36 000 square feet of aluminum siding for a local sports arena, landing him and his Spray-Net franchise on the front page of local newspaper, The Guardian. Thanks to a vinyl siding video that blew up on Facebook in his hometown during the 2016 season, this year Nathan is working through his back-log of quotes with the goal of tripling his year 1 sales. Not bad for a rookie, huh?
Like most millennials his age, Nathan wanted a career he could be passionate about. “Self-employment is something that I really became interested in as I progressed through University. I feel that since work accounts for about a third of your life, you better enjoy what you do and who you do it with,” he says.
Nathan and his business partner and neighbour, Mike, teamed up after Mike discovered Spray-Net on an episode of Dragons’ Den, the Canadian version of Shark Tank. “We decided to start a Spray-Net franchise together and without Mike or the help of my brother Derrick, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” But, knowing what you want to do and with who is the easy part. Getting past the insecurities to get started is the tough part.
How franchising made it possible for Nathan to start a business without experience
Surprisingly, the number one reason why people don’t start a business is fear…not money. “Business can be intimidating, especially when you lack experience,” says Nathan openly. Instead of dwelling on the fact that he was younger than some people’s careers, he found a way to work around it. With its proven track record of success, a franchise was exactly what he was looking for. “Franchises have so many advantages, especially when you’re entering a new market. The knowledge the franchisor possesses gives you a major competitive advantage.”
If you’re young, in your twenties and don’t have previous business experience, there are 5 invaluable advantages that a franchise will give you:
1) Proven business model: a franchise is a business that has a proven track-record of success in different markets (which the franchisor is required to show you). Franchises reduce the risk in starting a business and generally have a higher success rate than independent businesses.
2) Initial training & on-going support: it’s the franchisor’s responsibility to make sure you receive proper training before you officially launch your business. Often franchisors will provide on-going support in the form of full-time coaches and e-learning.
3) Easier to secure financial assistance: With its proven business model and high success rate, it’s typically easier to secure a loan for a franchise than an independent business.
4) Established brand: you benefit from a brand with a growing regional and national presence, which demonstrates credibility to your customers.
5) Marketing support: a franchisor will provide you with tested and approved local, regional and national marketing strategies for building brand awareness and attracting customers. They assist with the planning, budgeting and in some cases, the execution of your marketing campaigns (especially important if you don’t have traditional or digital marketing experience).
Why Nathan chose a Spray-Net franchise
Nathan’s choice to go the franchise route was a strategic one. By using what others have learned through experience, he could exploit his talents and accelerate his dive into entrepreneurship much faster than starting from scratch. “The main challenge in any new business is operational efficiency. Oftentimes, experience will lead to the most valuable knowledge, but if you don’t have that experience, surround yourself with people who do and who have the patience to teach you,” he explains.
Nathan, at the 2016 Spray-Net Franchise Training Week
With so many franchise concepts out there, how do you choose? For Nathan, it was about choosing a unique service in an industry he loved and felt comfortable in. An innovative permanent exterior paint solution in the renovation industry hit the nail on the head. We do things differently when it comes to exterior painting. We’ve taken regular house painting and factory painting; and we’ve fused them together! Using our exclusive line of weather-adjustable paints and coatings and specialized spraying technique, we cost-effectively revamp exterior siding, stucco, doors, windows and even brick. With every project, we deliver a factory-quality finish that won’t peel and looks just like-new… not repainted.
“Spray-Net made sense for me for a lot of reasons. Being in the carpentry trade, it was obvious that most siding replacement is due to color-fade or the homeowner simply wanting a change. With Spray-Net, I can offer homeowners an affordable alternative, while keeping tons of old siding out of landfills and dumps. The idea of taking a home and completely revamping it in a day really appealed to me.”
As a millennial, Nathan immediately connected with our young and energetic corporate culture. It was the right fit for him on a personal level. And it even ended up benefiting him on a day-to-day business-level as well. “One Saturday night in October, I spent two hours on Face-Time with my production coach troubleshooting one of our paint guns that I couldn’t get to work. He never once complained and eventually, we got it to work! It’s this type of energy within Spray-Net that is both motivating and necessary for the growth of our business.” Our commitment to science and technology- like using our custom-designed cloud-based software, The Spray-Network to calculate our quotes- is also something that resonated well with him.
Nathan’s business today
Today, Nathan is a busy owner-operator. He takes care of all his at-home quotes and leads his young crew of spray painters, which includes his brother, Derrick. Starting a franchise removed much of Nathan’s legwork; but like any business, it’s a lot of work. “It’s been a learning curve to say the least! A new business requires so much time and commitment that it really doesn’t leave time for much else. So, you really need to enjoy what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with.” And what Nathan loves the most is interacting with his customers and transforming their most prized possession. “I would have to say the coolest part is getting to meet new people on a daily basis. It’s always rewarding to see the excitement on a customer’s face when they see the transformation of their home!”
A review from one of Nathan’s excited customers on our Spray-Net Facebook page.
As a 26-year-old guy from a small-town who achieved his dream of becoming his own boss early on in life, Nathan has one key piece of advice for you…
“Surround yourself with the people you most want to become. If you can find a mentor who will take the time to share their knowledge, ask as many questions as you can and listen more than you speak. If you can learn from other peoples’ experiences, you will undoubtedly shorten the path to success.”