How a former business owner got back to her roots with a thriving wood refinishing franchise
N-Hance Wood Refinishing Franchise Review: Meet Nellie Garibyan
No matter what industry you operate in, businesses across the country have faced tremendous challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Company leaders have not only had to be nimble and overcome during this unfortunate time with resilience, determination and confidence, but also shepherd their franchise owners with robust support, updated protocols — including temperature checks and sanitizing high touch areas — and communication.
Nellie Garibyan, a N-Hance franchise owner in Boise, Idaho, understands the importance of communication and transparency during challenging times. Prior to joining our thriving wood refinishing franchise, Garibyan worked in advertising and owned her own grout and tile business. In this wide-ranging interview, she shares how her background in marketing has helped her thrive in business, even as she adjusts her practices to keep her customers and employees safe.
What were you doing before you franchised with N-Hance Wood Refinishing? How did you become interested in investing in our thriving wood refinishing franchise?
Garibyan: I had worked in advertising and sales, and also owned my own grout and tile company. I enjoyed being a small business owner and wanted to invest in a company that offered multiple services, which is what attracted me to N-Hance. Here we can work on cabinetry as well as flooring, banisters, handrails, and more. There isn’t a limitation to the types of services we can offer, which not only creates multiple revenue streams for N-Hance franchise owners, but also makes us unique in the market. For instance, in my market I have developed a significant presence and have a reputation for professionalism. Additionally, I think the primary thing that makes us unique is the products that we offer. Our Lightspeed™ U.V. curing technology, for example, shortens the refinishing process and produces less dust, mess and odor than traditional methods — even better, the service costs one-fifth the cost of the industry average.
When you joined N-Hance, you couldn’t have predicted that something like a pandemic would happen. What’s been your overall experience through this crisis?
Garibyan: We’ve been fortunate in the Boise market as we were not mandated to shut our doors. We just had to make some modifications to our business model to keep our team and customers safe and healthy. So we took the necessary precautions with masks, gloves, sanitizer and things like that. Granted, we have had some cancellations and reschedules, but that was very minor at about 10%. The main thing we modified is the way we do our estimates. Prior to this crisis, all of our estimates were done at the customer’s home. Since the pandemic we have created three options to provide estimates: customers still have the option of letting us into their homes, we can also schedule a virtual estimate via FaceTime or Video Messaging, and clients can come to our showroom by appointment. Our showroom is a sanitized environment, allowing customers to touch, feel, and see what we can do. Ultimately, this pandemic has made us stronger and we’ve come out differently, which will be very beneficial in the future.
With so many people stuck at home the past few months, especially those who may have had plans to to take vacations or other expenditures, do you think that they are more willing to invest back into their homes?
Garibyan: Absolutely. People have been stuck in their homes, staring at home renovation projects that need to be done, and I think things are loosening up a bit. They may have had to cancel vacations and other things they had planned, so this discretionary income gets reallocated. Additionally, there are people who planned to do home renovations, so our market is saturated from both spectrums for our services. I think the ultimate driving force is people do not want to spend $20,000 or $30,000 renovating their kitchens or even $10,000 renovating their bathrooms. However, they are comfortable with doing these projects for a great price. That’s where N-Hance excels. When people have the option to save money, but still have a visual difference, it can be really beneficial.
The crisis speaks volumes about why you should be a part of a franchise system because of the support from both corporate and your fellow franchisees. N-Hance is known for having really collaborative franchisees. What’s been your experience with your peers in the franchise network during this time?
Garibyan: I’ve had a really great experience with my peers. I also feel BELFOR and HRI have been really responsive and supportive. They have ramped up communication and everyone has been really empathetic. The training department as well as the coaches have done a really good job of putting together bi-weekly Zoom meetings about relevant topics that are fantastic for franchisees to take advantage of and use to work on their business versus working in their business if they don’t have the opportunity to do so. I think it’s fantastic that they take their time to allocate resources for that.
What advice would you give to your fellow peers at this time?
Garibyan: I think things like this really bring out the weaknesses we have in our individual companies and structures. So it’s important to look within and determine when something like this happens, and it’s a very unique situation, are we prepared? What gaps do we have financially? What kind of contracts do we have with our customers? Things like that and more. So, it’s important to look within and determine if everything is set in place and structured properly so that if something different happens you know if you can weather that storm as well. Being more prepared, I think will be a great thing that comes out of this — folks will be able to make an educated analysis of what occurred and then determine how to be prepared for the future.
For those looking at opening a business at this time, why do you think N-Hance Wood Refinishing is a good business to invest in?
Garibyan: It’s the best home services franchise to invest in right now. I think there will be a big shift coming in the near future. There are many people who have been in the business for many years, and they’re either tired or want to retire, so there’s going to be demand with shops closing or being sold. Buying a small business during any kind of change, in my opinion, creates a very big financial opportunity because you can grow much quicker. I think N-Hance is a great opportunity, especially during this time, because people do not want to spend a large amount of money, but want to have a refinish done economically — N-Hance is an economical option.