Over the years Showhomes has proven to be a great model for spouses to work together in their business. Lisa and Chris Gulliver have been Showhomes franchisees since 2010 and were the 2011 Rising Star Award Winner. Learn more about why they chose to leave Corporate America to become their own bosses with their own Showhomes franchise.
Q. Why were you interested in Showhomes, and what about it led you to purchase the franchise?
My wife Lisa and I became interested in a Showhomes franchise because we felt it was a great use of our 15+ years in corporate sales and marketing and experience owning a retail antique business. Lisa also has a natural ability in design having earned a B.A. degree in Architecture and has extensive experience designing and remodeling homes. Lisa and I were also attracted to Showhomes since we felt it allowed us the flexibility we need to spend time with our two, active teenage children.
Q. Why should someone thinking about opening a business consider Showhomes?
The investment in a Showhomes franchise is relatively low when compared to other franchise businesses. Showhomes is a very stable and well established company having been in business for over 25 years. Also, the financial model of a low furniture inventory investment (vs. most staging businesses) makes sense. Instead the focus of our franchise business is on obtaining and holding on to good home managers who provide the staging inventory and pay a monthly fee which provides a good cash flow. Finally, I think the recent corporate management team has integrity and is genuinely interested in helping the franchise system prosper and grow. Showhomes CEO Bert Lyles has made investments in the tools and staff needed to keep the Showhomes system successful.
Q. Who makes a good Showhomes franchisee?
A good Showhomes franchisee starts with the owners who must have a solid business background. Having experience owning and operating your own small business prior to purchasing a Showhomes franchise is also a big plus. The owners must also be able to create a team which is essential to longevity of the franchise.
Q. What has it been like starting up and running a business with your spouse?
A Showhomes franchise really lends itself well to being run by spouses, especially if you both are fortunate to have some of the keys skills needed to be successful. Starting and running a business has been fun for us. It is not without challenges however, and you occasionally need to work out your disagreements. The best advice I could give to anyone thinking about starting their own Showhomes franchise is: know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Fortunately in our case, we had six years practice owning and operating a retail antique store before we purchased our Showhomes franchise. In our previous business, we quickly learned what each other was best at doing and we split up the responsibilities along those lines. If you are lucky, one spouse’s strengths are the other spouses weaknesses and vice-versa. If you still have things that you are both not especially good at, you can (and should) hire good, talented staff to make up the difference.
Q. What’s the best thing about Showhomes?
The best thing about Showhomes is knowing that we truly offer a value added service to our customers: the Realtor, homeowner and Home Manager. It is also very satisfying to see the final results of our hard work. Staging really does profoundly transform a vacant house. We are very proud of what we do and we have a great team to help us make it happen. It’s great when a job comes together and we’ve created a beautifully designed and staged home with very satisfied clients.