We sat down and spoke with Batteries Plus Bulbs’ CEO Scott Williams opens in new window about the strengths of the company’s franchise business model, how it fares with other franchise opportunities, as well as a brief summary of what the company’s future holds.

Scott Williams - CEO or Batteries Plus Bulbs

Why is now a great time to become a franchisee?

“I think now is the best time to look at Batteries Plus Bulbs, because in the evolution of our history opens in new window there’s never been a more exciting time to think about the various product categories offered. Our name says Batteries Plus Bulbs, but we have a very robust service business that includes key fobs opens in new window, and includes device repair opens in new window and that customer also skews twenty years younger. So you’re really servicing various different age groups, you have all sorts of different customers, and then giving owners even more growth opportunities through commercial sales.”

What key factors distinguish you from other franchise opportunities in the industry?

“So if you look at other franchise opportunities they’re fairly limited in scope and the opportunity of where they can go from a customer demographic, from where they can go from a product category. In our case, we have multiple outlets to be able to grow sales, and they all come into the successful sales and profitability of our franchise. There’s also an element of what I call ‘immediate need’. Being cut off from your phone is a big deal. When you need a replacement key for your car, you need it as soon as possible. Our customers come to us with their immediate needs and our stores are able to provide that for them and get them back up and running as quickly as possible.”

What do you learn from franchisees, and how does it influence the direction of the brand?

“One of the most impressive things for me is our existing franchise community. It’s absolutely amazing to me. We have 280 franchise owner groups across 740 stores. So the average is 3 stores per group, but we also have 1-store operators and 18-store operators and everything in between. When I meet them, the passion they have for this brand is amazing. They feel like the brand is an expression of themselves, meaning folks know the brand in the community, partly because it’s Batteries Plus Bulbs, but partly because the owners are so excited about it and have built that reputation. Really, they look at it as ‘that’s my Batteries Plus Bulbs’. And so the dedication and the excitement that everyone has for this brand, it’s kind of like joining a community of friends that welcome you into the family.”

How big is the Batteries Plus Franchising opportunity?

“As folks look at our Franchising opportunity, they have questions like, ‘What does leadership look like?’ ‘How does the CEO see the business?’ I want them to know several things. First of all, I joined this organization thinking about growth, thinking about high-level customer service, and thinking about making our franchise owner network very successful. We’ve consistently been able to invest in the business, we’ve consistently been able to roll out new product categories and new services and be able to evolve the brand. I want them to know that is going to continue in the future. I can tell you that I’m just starting on what I’m expecting to be a long, long journey to take this to the next level. We see the opportunity to go from 740 stores to 800, 900, 1000, with opportunities that bring us more and more coverage, more and more success for multi-unit franchisees and more and more buying power to bring increased margin and profitability to the franchise owner.”

What do you do to provide ongoing support to franchisees?

Looking at this model, I think there are a couple of important ways in which the franchisor helps the franchise owner. First of all, it’s the attitude and approach. The company works hard putting together World-Class programs and services and making it very seamless and easy to implement. The second thing is that, oftentimes, people feel like, what is the need for a franchisor? Would I ever embark on this on my own? Could I ever just start selling batteries on my own? And as we go forward, I think people realize that we have World-Class purchasing, World-Class training programs and great price negotiations. We handle details like data security and shipping regulations, and really boil it down so that the franchise owner can focus on the customer and really do what they need to do.”

As franchise owners grow with the brand, what can they do to get them to the next level?

“To my mind, the biggest opportunity for growth lies in building commercial business. It offers a huge potential for franchisees to build up their businesses to be as large as they want and create their own destiny. And the best part is, it’s essentially limitless. There’s a market size there that’s at least as large as retail. By doing that, they also help to make themselves and their stores stand out with new revenue streams coming from commercial businesses and government agencies. We have a lot of owners that have already gone this route and come to realize just how profitable this side of the business can be and I think, moving forward, more and more franchisees will come to realize the enormous potential commercial accounts represent for both them and the company as a whole.”

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