Franchising, especially in the staffing industry, allows you to see the direct impact made on the community and the individuals you work with. For one Express Employment Professionals franchisee in particular, his career has helped shape the lives of so many people – with one meaningful story that will forever be part of the why behind his passion for owning a staffing firm. Read more in this blog to learn about how his focus on the associate experience led him to such a rewarding career as a successful franchise owner for one of the top franchises in the U.S.
Franchise Owners: Greg Sulentic
Territory: Lincoln, NE, and serves as a Franchise Developer for 19 locations in the Midwest
Years with Express: 16 years
What was your career prior to joining Express Employment Professionals? What industry/role were you in before owning an Express office?
- Greg: Before owning an Express location and becoming a developer for 19 locations throughout the Midwest, I worked for a staffing competitor for 8 years. And prior to that, I spent a few years running my own manager and executive search company, where I’d secure managers and executives for staffing companies. All in all, I’ve been in the staffing industry for over 26 years and have found it to be such a rewarding career.
What attracted you to the franchise business model and Express Employment Professionals, specifically? And now that you are an Express Employment Professionals franchisee, what do you like about being part of that franchise business model?
- Greg: I was initially attracted to franchise ownership because of the completeness of the franchise model. Express has thought of and covered every base to support its Franchisees and has taken every possible consideration within the franchise model for the staffing industry. I also appreciated the longevity of the people who work for Express. I’ve been here for 16 years, and I still don’t feel like a veteran; so many people have been here far longer than I have. And the network of Franchisees has been extremely helpful to me, even prior to my decision to buy a franchise. I spoke to many different Franchisees, specifically a smaller group whom I trusted very much with their business knowledge, and still not a day goes by that I’m not seeking their advice on better ways to be a successful franchise owner. All of these things combined are part of the many reasons why our company has grown as quickly as it has as one of the top franchises in the U.S.
What do you find the most rewarding about being a franchise owner with Express Employment Professionals? What do you enjoy about the business and how is the work meaningful?
- Greg: Without a doubt, our emphasis on the associate experience – our contract employees that come to work for us – is the most rewarding. It’s such an empowering feeling to help people and offer employment opportunities to improve their lives. It has always been a satisfying industry to be in, but Express does it best, and our tagline, “Respecting people. Impacting business,” truly resonates with me as an Express franchise owner. We are always looking to improve the associate experience in everything we do, and I love that about Express.
- Just this past week, an associate whom we had not spoken to in a few weeks came in and let us know that he received a permanent offer from the company at which we initially placed him. Through working with Express, he was able to secure housing for his family. He gives all of the credit to Express for his full-time employment and getting his life back on track! He’s a fantastic employee, so stories like this and employees like him truly make this such a rewarding career.
How is the future of the business looking and how is the local landscape changing?
- Greg: What we are seeing is greater penetration rates since the pandemic. Companies must find better ways and resources to attract employees to their companies. Our penetration rates in the Lincoln market are greater than they’ve ever been, and I feel certain it is a permanent change. Companies view our industry as a solid resource for total workforce solutions.
- When we look at the local landscape, we’re more than just industrial staffing; we’ve expanded into other diverse markets, doing more from an office and professionals’ perspective. Companies are turning to us for skilled trades at a higher level than ever in the past and employees are much more accepting of our industry. The more we connect with the workforce and community, the better we’ve become at acquiring skilled-level employees, allowing me to be a more successful franchise owner. It’s a change that is here to stay.
- Another example is workforce support for call centers. Before COVID, call centers had 600 plus employees in one building. That has since changed tremendously. Most of those call centers now offer remote work options, so we’re working on solutions to help those employees get the right equipment and other means needed to successfully work from home. Essentially, Express can be the connection between employees, their remote work and the employer.
What do you think sets Express Employment Professionals apart from other staffing agencies?
- Greg: The franchise business model sets Express apart from other staffing agencies. With the franchise model and local ownerships, which is exactly that – ownership within that community – it makes a huge difference. You’re connected to the group of companies you work with and the workforce to support their business. We’re set apart from our competitors because each Franchisee has ownership and decides what they will bring to the community. This freedom and flexibility allows us to quickly and wisely invest in where we see the market going, allowing us to continue to be among the top franchises in the U.S. I truly grew as a successful franchise owner when I did this at the beginning of the pandemic, making investments in where I believed the market would go.
- I also think the overall “Express experience,” the people who work within our franchises, the training which Express University offers, and the knowledge base that is available really sets us apart. There is great support from Developers within the company and from Express International – even all the way up to the Founders, Bill Stoller and Bob Funk, who are very helpful and supportive in developing successful franchise owners.
What do you believe has been the key to your success as a franchise owner?
- Greg: From my experience, the absolute key to success stems from looking at the associate experience as the foundation of everything we do in our business. My team of 14 employees believes and carries out that message each day in our office, and in return delivers that exceptional associate experience that we pride ourselves on. As a result, we’ve had very little turnover because our teams feel the mission to serve the community and our associates, who make it such a rewarding career for our internal staff.
What advice would you give someone else considering franchise ownership? And why do you think a staffing franchise is one of the best franchises to own?
- Greg: If you’re considering ownership, take advantage of the franchise business network Express offers. Communicating with people at different levels, in different markets, and with different years of experience has taught me how to be a successful franchise owner. What makes Express franchise ownership the best is the scalability. We can grow one location year after year with our own efforts, creativity and investment in the business. You will reap in successes what you sow into the business, which is why it makes us a top franchise in the U.S. In other franchise brands, you must add more locations to grow, and so much of that growth is based on where you’re located and your traffic rather than creativity.
Are there any emerging or existing employment trends that you find interesting and why? Tell us a bit more about how you see your Express location using this trend to its benefit, especially as it pertains to the market(s) in which your franchise(s) is/are located.
- Greg: By working with more companies in a diverse workforce, I foresee Express growing dramatically over the next few years. We are no longer a place to go to for temporary placements, but substantial workforce solutions. This continuously contributes to making this a rewarding career for us because we’re talent agents who people can go to for work, giving them the opportunity to be represented in the workforce.
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*For territories open more than 24 months, average sales in 2022 were $6,497,275. For territories open more than 60 months, average sales in 2022 were $7,194,784. First-year offices averaged $1,080,407 annual sales according to Item 19 in the Franchise Disclosure Document. This statement is for information purposes only and is not intended as an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, a franchise. The following states regulate the offer and sale of franchises: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. If you are a resident of one of these states, we will not offer you a franchise unless and until we have complied with applicable pre-sale registration and disclosure. MN Registration #F-1755.