There’s a curious thing that happens when the economy goes belly-up, at least if you’re in the business of recruiting for franchise companies.
Mike Hall, market president for Frannet, an executive recruiting firm for franchise companies, remembers what happened back in the dark days of 2008 to 2010.
“Those were bad years for business, bad years for people who wanted to work, really high unemployment. And yet during that time, we probably saw more people buying franchise businesses than we ever had before,” Hall says.
But that correlation makes sense if you think about it, according to Hall, because if someone has no job and bleak prospects of finding one, the inherent risk of going into business for oneself seems less ominous.
Jump ahead to today’s “roaring, raging economy,” as Hall calls it.
“With everyone working now, as opposed to back in 2008, I think what we’re seeing right now is actually a slight decrease from years prior,” he says.
Hall says he’s personally glad to see a slight dip, if it means the economy is doing well across the board. Besides, he says the locations under his purview still offer unique opportunities for franchise businesses.
That’s especially the case for areas like Greenville, which has seen consistent growth year over year. Greenville’s recent Downtown Master Plan projects that the downtown population will grow by up to 6,000 new residents in the next eight years.
That growth is enticing for companies like the doggie day care company Hounds Town, which is expanding into Greenville.
“The area has seen significant growth since the last official census,” says Hounds Town founder and CEO Michael Gould. “In particular, downtown Greenville is an attractive area due to the recent revitalization as a residential and business hub where young professional and families are in need of pet care while they are at work or traveling.”
Companies that offer franchises are also taking note of the high rates of home construction. Greenville County’s housing market has seen consistent yearly growth, with the number of building permits in 2019 (3,714 permits) exceeding the number of permits issued at the pre-recession peak of the housing market in 2006 (3,698 permits), according to the Home Builders Association of Greenville’s 2020 Housing Profile.
That construction caught the attention of Michael Wagner, president of Pool Scouts, which provides residential pool services.
“With a fast-growing local economy and high rates of home construction, the environment is ideal for our brand,” Wagner says.
On the recruiting side, Hall says the variety of franchise opportunities continues to expand along with the growing economy.
“When people think franchises, the first thing they usually think of is McDonalds,” Hall says. “But food is just one quarter of franchise opportunities. The other 75% is everything else. There’s really so much out there for people.”