Mike and Janine Callahan are the 2011 Showhomes Franchisees of The Year. Not only are they Showhomes franchisees but they are also home managers. Over 50% of Showhomes franchisees are also home managers which allows them to enjoy an amazing lifestyle at a great price! See how Mike and Janine have been able to take advantage of the Showhomes lifestyle while building a leading business in the Chicago area.
Q. Why were you interested in Showhomes, and what about it led you to purchase the franchise?
As a retired mortgage banker and Janine as a decorator for 30+ years—this opportunity merged both our backgrounds; real estate and decorating. We didn’t ever really think our skills would have us working together, but this is a perfect match for us.
Q. Why should someone thinking about opening a business consider Showhomes? The Showhomes business model represents a clear ‘win’ for every party involved in the transaction. We provide lower cost, luxury housing to our home managers and faster sales with higher offers to our sellers and realtors. All of this at a very reasonable cost. Everyone wins. We can feel good about what we have accomplished for everyone involved.
Q. Who makes a good Showhomes franchisee? Willingness to put in the time and effort to succeed! There are no short cuts; after 33+ years in running and owning businesses I have learned that your efforts typically follow your results. If you are not the person to be out on the front line marketing your business to everyone you meet, you need to have someone in place that can handle that part. Nothing happens until someone sells something. That’s an old sales idiom and it is so true. Until we have a house to stage and fill we’re not providing our services. If we’re not providing our services to paying clients we are not generating income. It sounds simple, but it is interesting to me that so many people start a business and spend months developing tracking systems, customer tracking systems, social media campaigns and marketing their business is an after thought. We compliment each other. Janine is an extraordinary stager and decorator, I am willing to talk to anyone and everyone about our business until they say ‘STOP!” But, we also were wise enough to bring in a general manager that can fill in our skill gaps. This is not a passive opportunity and I think it is the rare owner that can succeed long term as a solo operator. The business model is gratifying and proven successful, but it takes effort and there many moving parts. It would be easy to miss something by running this business on your own. I wouldn’t say it can not be done, it would be much more challenging.
Q. What has Showhomes franchise ownership allowed you to do that you wouldn’t have been able to do
otherwise? We became Home Managers about a year after starting our business and we have been blessed to live in homes that are so far out of our lifestyle it is amazing! The home manager lifestyle is definitely not for everyone, but we have absolutely loved the opportunity to live in mansions AND to see the success of helping the homes sell.
Q. What has it been like starting up and running a business with your spouse? As I mentioned before, we did not really see our skills blending into an opportunity to work together, but here it is. I can say that we totally enjoy working together and since we both have different areas of responsibility, we may work together but not even see each other until the end of the day. We recently celebrated our 36th anniversary and I can safely say at no time was the relationship ‘at risk’ because we are working together. If anything, we can both see how each other’s skills add value to our total business. While we have separate areas of responsibility we are both willing to ‘consult’ with each other. More input is a good thing.
Q. What has the experience of being a home manager been like? We are currently living in a 12,000+ sq foot mansion. We could not afford the taxes on this home, much less to purchase it. We just had the wonderful experience of assisting in the sale of this amazing property 5 years on the market, we moved in just over a year ago and were truly instrumental in assisting with the sale. The owners are thrilled, the realtor of course is thrilled and the new buyers love how the home looks. In fact the buyers have put together an extensive list of items they would love to purchase from our inventory. I would be remiss not to mention that there is a certain amount of anxiety waiting for our next home. The true value has been that we can identify with our home managers. There hasn’t been too many situations that can come up that we have not experienced, so it is a great learning tool for us.
Until you live the same life of your home managers it is very difficult to know when they have a legitimate concern or just a ‘minor’ bump in their road.
Q. What’s the best thing about Showhomes? The company has a great story to tell; our business model works regardless of the economy and we help everyone along the way at very affordable options. The core values of Showhomes are based on integrity and excellence. My personal philosophy has been the golden rule; ‘treat others as you would like to be treated’. I don’t always make that but I do try. Showhomes values and our values are totally in line and that is both refreshing and affirming to us.