Is a Franchise Right for You?

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Downsizing Diva

This past fall, I had the opportunity to reconnect with Karen Shinn, whom I met at the 2002 POC Conference, when we were both starting out, and got to know quite well when we served on the National Board together. When I heard about Karen’s latest venture with her business partner, Gail Shields, I just had to share it with my readers, so I asked them to answer a few questions.

Over the last few years, I’ve seen Downsizing Diva grow from a one-woman operation, to a partnership, and now a franchise company! What made you decide to franchise your business?

When we started our business, our mission was to help seniors and their families cope with the often-overwhelming challenges of moving from a family home to a condo, retirement residence or care community.

Our client base – Seniors (and their families) – is increasing very rapidly. Some clients have family members who could help them with their move, but they choose to remain independent and take care of the details by themselves – with our help. Other clients do not have family members to help and rely on Downsizing Diva to make their move as stress-free as possible. We also have family members who hire us to work with their parents because they live too far away or are just unable to tackle this daunting task.

Almost 10 years ago, Gail and I identified the need for downsizing and move organizing services for seniors. Last year we realized that our small team can only do so much. It was time to take our systems and create a business model that will help others do what we do – help seniors downsize and move. Gail calls it…“doing well, while doing good”.

We have connected with three fabulous business partners who are helping us take our move organizing concept to the next level by creating Downsizing Diva – The Franchise! We have identified territories and are finalizing training programs to help interested franchisees become Divas in their own communities. These are exciting times for all of us!

Why would a professional organizer want to buy a franchise rather than start a business from scratch?

This is a tricky question. Every good professional organizer will not necessarily make a good move organizer, but many certainly will. Some skills are transferrable, but the Downsizing Diva skill set also requires a passion for connecting and working with Seniors. We can teach people downsizing and move organizing skills, but the ability to connect with seniors – that’s something you either have or don’t have!

What type of person is suited to becoming a franchisee?

As Downsizing Diva franchisors, we are looking for people who are interested in following a proven move organizing system and duplicating it in their own communities. The most important consideration in awarding a franchise is the knowledge that the franchisee will work within the established framework to provide a high level of care, compassion and service to all clients.

A franchise system is all about the system, the brand and the team. It is a fabulous fit for someone who can visualize the end result and will follow a specific road map to get there.

Downsizing Divas across the country will understand and buy into our unique Mission and Vision Statements and will be committed to serving their clients to the best of their ability. A move organizing experience in Halifax will be identical to a move organizing experience in Toronto and in Vancouver. When everything is under control… it’s a Downsizing Diva move!

What kind of support do you provide your franchisees?

Janet, you know us! Our goal is to help Downsizing Diva franchisees in any way we can to create a successful senior move organizing business in their community. We are all about teaching, sharing and mentoring and have developed a comprehensive training and support system. As experts in the move organizing field, we will cover theory aspects of the training in the classroom and practical aspects with on-the-job experience. In addition to an extensive training program, our Business Model, Brand, proven methodology, ongoing support and a client base developing in their community – franchisees will have almost everything they need to be a successful Downsizing Diva. All they will have to add is passion and commitment!

What are your plans for the future?

Our plan is to make Downsizing Diva the most trusted and recognized brand in North America in the area of Senior Move Organizing.

Where can interested parties obtain more information about your franchise opportunity?

We are working closely with three business partners who know all about franchising and have “been there and done that”. We know the ins and outs of downsizing, organizing and moving – and John Ferracuti knows everything about the franchise business. He’s the go-to guy for Downsizing Diva and he can be reached at (905) 823-8550 x 225.

John is easy to talk to and is the best person to contact to find out more about working with us as a Downsizing Diva!

Anything else you would like to add?

At Downsizing Diva, we love what we do and it shows! We do one thing really, really well… we help Seniors downsize and move. We have found our passion and know we are making a difference in the lives of the people we come in contact with, each and every day!

I’d like to thank Karen and Gail for taking the time to stop by and tell us about the Downsizing Diva. If you enjoy working with seniors and would like to benefit from Karen and Gail’s proven methodology, training, and ongoing support, this may be something for you to consider.

For general information about buying a franchise, check out Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning a Franchise by Susan Ward.

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A former professional organizer, I now eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

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