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Franchise watch: FASTSIGNS International, Inc. anticipates continued Canadian growth

Franchise watch: FASTSIGNS International, Inc. anticipates continued Canadian growth

“We pride ourselves on our high level of franchisee satisfaction in every country we operate in around the world,” said Mark Jameson, EVP of franchise support and development, FASTSIGNS

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Communication serves as the core component of business success worldwide for businesses of all sizes. With more than 725 independently-owned and operated centers in nine countries, FASTSIGNS offers entrepreneurs and current business owners an opportunity to meet a growing demand for eye-catching graphics and marketing through franchising.

In 2020, FASTSIGNS celebrates its 35th anniversary in business as the leading sign and visual communications franchisor, priding its accomplishment on its ability to adapt to markets across the globe; specifically in Canada, where FASTSIGNS is home to over 36 centers with rapid growth on the horizon. FASTSIGNS expects to sign two to three more agreements in Canada this year and is actively seeking prospective franchisees throughout the country, including a master franchisee to develop in Québec.

“We pride ourselves on our high level of franchisee satisfaction in every country we operate in around the world and we’re honored to be recognized once again by the Canadian Franchise Association (CFA) for the 2019 Franchisees’ Choice Designation,” said Mark Jameson, EVP of franchise support and development, FASTSIGNS International, Inc. “We continue to nurture our strong franchisor-franchisee relationship, which is so crucial to FASTSIGNS’ success in Canada.”

EXTENSIVE TRAINING AND SUPPORT

After years of dreaming and talking about owning a business together, FASTSIGNS franchisees Donna Bilodeau and Jackie Raymond made the leap from friends to business partners in 2000 when they opened a center in Windsor, Ontario.

Neither Bilodeau nor Raymond had experience as business owners when they joined FASTSIGNS, but they leveraged their unique backgrounds and experience to become successful franchisees. Bilodeau, the daughter of a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, lived all over the world, learning to adapt to new situations and make new friends easily. Raymond was born to a French- Canadian family and, after high school, got a job at a local French newspaper where her interest in creative graphic design grew.

FASTSIGNS franchisees Donna Bilodeau and Jackie Raymond
FASTSIGNS franchisees Donna Bilodeau and Jackie Raymond

“Everything was finalized in July 2000 and we drove down to Dallas for a three-week franchisee training program. We spent the entire month there, returned to Windsor, and opened the doors to our FASTSIGNS center on August 1,” Raymond told Canadian Business Franchise in 2017. “It was an intense few weeks, but training was great. It was split into units. I went through the graphic design modules and Donna focused on the sales and management ones. This way, we’d be able to come back and use everything we learned and implement it into the business. Plus, we were playing to our previous experience and strengths. It was a great decision.”

This year Bilodeau and Raymond celebrate 20 years in business, and FASTSIGNS Windsor continues to thrive. Even today, they have no qualms about calling the corporate office to ask questions.

“Yes, it is our own business. We make the final decision, but they are our sounding board if we need something,” said Raymond, who previously worked for another local franchise in the print industry. “Nothing compared to the FASTSIGNS corporate help.”

A FRANCHISEES’ CHOICE DESIGNEE – SEVEN YEARS AND COUNTING

Much of FASTSIGNS’ success in Canada can be attributed to its high level of franchisee satisfaction. The brand was once again recognized by the CFA as a silver recipient of the 2019 Franchisees’ Choice Designation. This was the seventh consecutive year FASTSIGNS was recognized for its strong relationship with Canadian franchisees, as well as extensive franchisee support and training.

FASTSIGNS touts its high systemwide support ratio – the best of any sign and graphics franchise. As the brand grows throughout Canada, its leadership team continues to allocate a significant amount of resources to ensuring franchisees have access to top-notch training and support.

“We pride ourselves on our high level of franchisee satisfaction in every country we operate in around the world”

Craig Gibbs, a franchisee that opened a FASTSIGNS center in Scarborough, Ontario, in 2007, is an advocate for the brand: “I’ve been with FASTSIGNS for more than 13 years, and the support I’ve received from the franchisor, in many aspects of my business, is fantastic. From strategic direction to marketing, along with vendor relations, technology, and more, the tools and resources provided have continuously contributed to my center’s ongoing growth,” Gibbs said.

OUTSTANDING RECOGNITIONS

FASTSIGNS is consistently ranked as a top franchise opportunity. In 2020, Entrepreneur magazine named FASTSIGNS the number one franchise opportunity in its category and number 55 overall on its annual Franchise 500 list, making it the only sign, graphics, and visual communications franchise to be recognized in the top 100.

Additionally, Franchise Gator named FASTSIGNS to its Top 100 Franchises of 2020 list. In 2019, Entrepreneur named FASTSIGNS one of the Top Franchises for Veterans, and the brand also was recognized in Franchise Business Review’s Top Franchises for Veterans report. It was named on America’s Best Franchises to Buy list by Forbes magazine and made Franchise Direct’s list of the Top 100 Franchises.

Franchise Business Review also recognized FASTSIGNS as one of the “Best of the Best” for franchisee satisfaction for the last 10 years, and for its Top 50 Franchises for Women and Top Service Franchises lists in 2019. Most recently, FASTSIGNS was named the Best Communications & Signage Franchise in Global Franchise magazine’s Global Franchise Awards 2020.

AT A GLANCE

Established: 1985

Number of franchised locations: Over 725

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

Investment range:

• Cobrand: $84,268 – $209,583

• Conversion: $95,897 –$212,648

• New center: $197,172 – $313,136

Minimum required capital: $80,000

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

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