Jeff and Heidi Ross purchased their first Showhomes home staging franchise in Little Rock, Arkansas in 2002 after living as Home Managers for several upscale homes in Mobile, AL.
They not only are top performers, often earning awards and making the top 10 list, but also are experts on finding and keeping quality home managers. They should know: The Rosses have lived in over a dozen Showhomes properties, and they are still active home managers in Little Rock, Ark. The couple since purchased the rights to the Memphis, TN, franchise and has been focused on building it up this year.
Showhomes: How long have you been a Showhomes franchisee?
Jeff Ross: We’ve owned Showhomes Little Rock for eight years. We bought a Showhomes Memphis franchise two years ago.
SH: Why Showhomes?
JR: We liked the low franchise fee and low cost of entry, but even more important we loved the concept. We live it; we have passion for it. We became Home Managers for the Mobile, AL, franchise when we sold our home more quickly than we expected and didn’t want to purchase another home. Our Realtor suggested we move into one of Showhomes’ properties because Heidi is an excellent designer and she thought we would be able to help sell a few homes. She was right! We liked the fundamentals of the business so much, we looked into buying a franchise. From the very beginning, Heidi and I made a commitment to build a franchise on quality, not quantity. Showhomes makes it easy to focus on quality. It’s a strong player in a niche industry, offering a superior service and an ingenious business concept.
SH: How did you hear about us?
JR: From an ad in the Mobile Press-Register and our Realtor. We became home managers first. In fact, after eight years of being a franchisee we are still home managers. We’ve now lived in 13 Showhomes. It’s not really typical for franchisees to continue so long as home managers, but it’s a lifestyle for us. We’ve got it down, and it works very well! We get to live and raise our family in gorgeous homes for a fraction of the price it would take to own them. Living in a Showhome has some real sales advantages and its a great perk – you can save thousands on housing costs.
SH: What’s your background?
JR: Heidi has a background as a registered nurse. She’s also extremely passionate about interior design and staging. My background is in insurance sales and marketing and I was working on the Gulf Coast as a claims adjuster when we found Showhomes. We have compatible professional skills that work together well in managing a Showhomes franchise.
SH: What do you like best about the Showhomes franchise opportunity?
JR: We wanted something we could do together. We like the fact that each day is different. The variety is great. You have to be detail-oriented. If you aren’t willing to multi-task, it’s probably not for you. But we are energized and challenged by it. It’s very gratifying to help people get the best bang for their buck. It’s a great feeling to know you are giving clients peace of mind that they don’t have to take low-ball offers. Overall, its a great business for couples.
SH: What keeps you active in your free time?
JR: Almost everything revolves around our family and the Showhomes franchise. We have an 11 and a 9-year-old, so you can imagine how much we transport them around from place to place. We’re active in church. We really do live and breathe Showhomes. It’s not a 9 to 5 job for us. At the same time, it allows us the flexibility to be there for our children because we can control our hours. Yesterday I worked from home because my daughter was sick.
SH: Why would you recommend Showhomes to someone interested in owning a business?
JR: Showhomes really works. I don’t know where you can find a better investment. If you are disciplined, organized and passionate about working with people, you can really succeed with this franchise.
SH: Can you share one of your secrets? What really works for you in your market?
JR: We over-communicate. I think I may have that etched on my gravestone. But seriously, keeping everyone informed is extremely important. Call everyone just to find out how things are going. We are constantly following up with emails and phone calls. You don’t want all your communications to be about sales, you’re just keeping everyone in the loop, keeping them informed and finding out if there are any issues or concerns.
SH: What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned?
JR: That you have to constantly be on your toes when it comes to marketing. You have to find ways to continue to stay top of mind. You can’t ever let up, even if you’ve been in business for a few years. Yes, you have credibility with clients you’ve had successful working relationships with. But that doesn’t mean they are going to remember you the next time unless you’re connecting with them consistently.