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Franchise watch: FASTSIGNS has proven to adapt amid the pandemic

Franchise watch: FASTSIGNS has proven to adapt amid the pandemic

How FASTSIGNS International, Inc. has supported the community and helped its franchisees succeed during unprecedented times.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to pose challenges to business owners across all industries around the world. While the landscape has changed rapidly due to shifts in guidelines, regulations, and more to keep individuals safe, one thing that has remained consistent is a business’ need to communicate.

With a proven business model, international brand recognition, and unparalleled training and support, FASTSIGNS International, Inc. has remained on the cutting-edge of its industry, and through these unprecedented times the support of its franchise system has helped its master franchisees and individual franchise owners stay afloat.

As many businesses, retail stores, salons and restaurants were mandated to close their doors temporarily in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus, FASTSIGNS centers in the United States were deemed essential businesses and were able to continue operating as they provided signs, graphics and visual communications. Local franchisees quickly pivoted their services to best support their customers and local communities to inspire safe environments.

Since early March, broader COVID-19 sign products related to social distancing, germ prevention, operational and directional signage, and more resulted in more than 90 per cent of FASTSIGNS’ sales. Additionally, franchisees shifted gears based on local demand from nearby organizations to produce PPE items like face shields, safety shields and intubation boxes, resulting in tens of thousands of PPE products for local hospitals across the country.

With franchisees utilizing their supplies and services to focus on providing solutions to protect their communities, FASTSIGNS centers have displayed the ability to adapt and persevere despite the state of the world. As the demand for signage continues to not only stay relevant but increase, FASTSIGNS has an ongoing commitment to upholding a highly- adaptable company, providing visual marketing solutions that meet the ever-evolving needs of its franchisees and customers internationally.

From the United States to Chile, and across several oceans to reach Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Malta, and France, FASTSIGNS locations are all over the world. Its growth has been strategic, says Mark Jameson, EVP of franchise support and development of FASTSIGNS International, Inc., focusing on enlisting strong master franchisees — both prior to and post the pandemic — capable of building out an entire country.

WORLD-CLASS TRAINING AND RESOURCES

FASTSIGNS is known in the industry for equipping its franchisees with training and tools vital to securing the ongoing success of each location — wherever they operate. FASTSIGNS has more than 120 support staff, boasting a support ratio of 1:6 worldwide, the largest of any sign franchise.

FASTSIGNS’ training and support resources include its online FASTSIGNS University, sales training, a mentor program, a new center business consultant, sales leadership academy, and more.

Linda Sultmann and Dean Rowland are the master franchisee in Australia for FASTSIGNS, where centers operate as SIGNWAVE. Prior to becoming a master franchisee with FASTSIGNS, Linda was a business consultant for the brand in Australia. After learning about all of the tools and resources FASTSIGNS offers to its international partners, they decided to transition from business consultants to master franchisees to help catapult expansion throughout the country.

STAYING AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION

Launching an American brand overseas has its benefits. In many countries, U.S. technological advancements in the signage industry are several years ahead, meaning that once there is a demand in a master franchisee’s home country, FASTSIGNS has already worked out the best usage methodologies.

“Franchisees shifted gears based on local demand from nearby organizations to produce PPE items”

Across all nine countries, FASTSIGNS is at the forefront of industry development and its offerings extend beyond traditional signage to include digital signage, architectural signage, and interior décor.

“Franchisees worldwide benefit from our diverse product range, so they can serve the unique needs of their customers,” said Jameson. “We know that to be a truly global franchise, we can’t only offer products that are popular back home in the U.S. While people worldwide need signage, graphics, and visual communications, they often consume these things in different ways depending on where they live and do business.”

In 2019, FASTSIGNS opened its first location in Chile following the signing of a master franchise agreement with sign company NEOMARK to expand in Chile. The full-service sign business based in Santiago, Chile, committed to open five additional locations throughout Santiago.

“Although we are a family company with many years in the graphics industry, we can always be better. FASTSIGNS showed us that they are able to help us strengthen our business to take it to the next level, with growth potential even outside our country,” said Gonzalo Alcayaga Granic of NEOMARK. “We believe that the mix between the power and experience of the FASTSIGNS brand and the NEOMARK team will be the perfect formula to develop a very successful business in Chile, and perhaps South America.”

Today, FASTSIGNS has more than 725 independently-owned and operated FASTSIGNS centers in nine countries including the United States and Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, Canada, Chile, Grand Cayman, the United Arab Emirates, Malta, France and Australia (where centers operate as SIGNWAVE). The brand continues to set its sights on finding master franchisees for Québec, New Zealand, India, and Brazil, as well as countries throughout North Africa, Southwest Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

“It may seem like we’re casting a wide net, but that’s because the FASTSIGNS business opportunity is designed to succeed anywhere, especially in today’s environment,” said Jameson. “As long as there are businesses and organizations needing signage, graphics, and visual communications, FASTSIGNS can be there to fulfill that need.”

AT A GLANCE

Established: 1985

Number of franchised units: Over 725

Location of units: United States, Canada, Chile, England, Grand Cayman, Puerto Rico, the United Arab Emirates, Malta, and Australia (where centers operate as SIGNWAVE).

Investment range:

Cobrand: $96,881 – $206,501

Conversion: $106,054 – $219,842
New center: $218,596 – $298,679

Minimum required capital: $80,000

Contact: mark.jameson@fastsigns.com / +1 (888) 285-5935

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