Express Employment Professionals’ Franchisee of the Year Shares How He Adapts to an Ever-Changing Business Landscape

Franchise owner spotlight

In a continuously changing job market, Express Employment Professionals consistently adapts its practices to best serve job seekers and employers, furthering its title as a top franchise worldwide. Meet the brand’s 2022 Franchisee of the Year in this blog to learn about the importance of leadership and insights to becoming successful franchise owners with Express.

Headshot of Successful Franchisee Owner John Culpepper

Franchise Owner: John Culpepper, “Franchisee of the Year” 
Territory: Athens, Braselton, Covington, and Lawrenceville, GA 
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? 

  • John: Before Express, I worked in sales at Yancey Brothers, Georgia’s Caterpillar dealer. I worked there for about 10 years selling heavy equipment. 

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? 

  • John: I was interested in pursuing a new opportunity and had met someone at Express who was able to connect me to I suggest we use “the franchising team at Express International”. I thought there was something different about Express. Really, it was the people that attracted me to Express. So, I went home and spoke to my wife about it and ultimately jumped into it quite fast, but something about it to me felt right. I knew Express was one of the top franchises in the U.S. and that it has a proven system, and that Express was known to create successful franchise owners.  
  • “What I like most about being a part of Express’s franchise business model is the support they provide. The training and support are incredible and really guides us on our path to becoming successful franchise owners. While I previously worked in sales, I began at Express not really knowing much about leadership. The Express Leadership Academy really helped me embrace being a leader and helped me train my internal employees to be leaders as well. From Express’s training, I’ve learned how to instill a culture with a strong vision, mission, and values, even through times of uncertainty.” 

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? 

  • John: Fresh out of college, I had a great job making good money selling bulldozers. However, this job wasn’t fulfilling, and that’s not something I realized until after I left. Now, I help people find jobs. I have a box of letters behind my desk with notes from individuals we’ve secured jobs for sharing how I helped change their lives. It’s so incredibly rewarding and I’m lucky that I get to change people’s lives for a living.  

How is the future of the business looking and how is the local landscape changing?

  • John: The pandemic taught us we have to adapt. In any business, market changes are constant and to be successful, you’ll need to adapt accordingly. Currently, we’re hearing about the labor shortage, and that’s not something that’s going away. To be successful franchise owners in the staffing industry, we need to work with employers and educate them on how to treat people and how to create a positive, memorable job experience. Before, we had the luxury of lots of people eager to go to work, and now we don’t. Everyone’s hiring, but in order for people to want to work for you, you’ve got to do everything you can to keep employees engaged and make people feel comfortable. Many people are terrified on their first day, and if they don’t have a good experience, there are plenty of other opportunities out there for them to go elsewhere. The business landscape is changing, and I believe it’s important to implement more workforce development programs for high schools and community colleges. Creating a curriculum to educate students is key to ignite them with the work ethic and skills needed for when they enter the workforce. 

What do you think sets Express Employment Professionals apart from other staffing agencies? 

  • John: The people. It’s the foundation that Express sets through the franchise model and through their training and leadership. They give us the opportunity and resources to develop our teams and business. We’re locally owned but we have the support of a billion-dollar franchise, and one of the top franchises worldwide. The resources they provide us on how to train our people and how to be good leaders truly helps us become successful franchise owners. 

What do you believe has been the key to your success as a franchise owner?

  • John: Following the Express model and franchise system taught me how to properly run the day-to-day operations and has provided me the resources to train my people. This ultimately is what leads Express to developing successful franchise owners. 

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?

  • John: Successful franchise owners aren’t distant owners. You need to be there every day and you need to be engaged. Don’t be an absent owner. At the same time, you will need to effectively develop and train your employees if you want to own multiple offices.  
  • When it comes to ROI, I think a staffing franchise is one of the best to own. The support we get at Express is unmatched. We’re given good resources on how to train employees, and we’re always ahead of the curve on latest trends in the market.  

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. 

  • John: Automation is an interesting trend we’re seeing in basically every industry. While automation is great for efficiency, you’re losing that personal touch. In the staffing industry, you have to be careful when it comes to automation. While automation might make things easier, it’s that personal touch that makes us who we are and allows us to differentiate ourselves and provide that compassion for job seekers we’re helping find work. Even though it’s a lot easier to send an email, picking up the phone and calling someone will make for a more memorable experience. Still, automation is important and there are certain processes we need to embrace to maximize efficiency and make applying for jobs easier. We just have to be careful that we don’t lose that personal touch. 

If you are interested in owning the #1 Staffing Franchise and discovering how successful you can be with Express, fill out the form below.   

*For territories open more than 24 months, average sales in 2021 were $6,119,487. First-year offices averaged $900,049 according to Item 19 in the Franchise Disclosure Document. $185.5B industry revenue projection provided by SIA. 

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