Franchise ownership may not be for everyone, but if you do the proper research to find a franchise opportunity with a strong franchisor, it can be the most rewarding and valuable career you’ll ever have. Read more in this blog to hear from a dynamic duo and their journey to becoming successful franchise owners with Express Employment Professionals, the top franchise in the U.S. and worldwide, amidst ongoing challenges within the employment industry.
Franchise Owners: Nancy and Jeff Reed
Territory: Brownsville, Harlingen, Weslaco, and Southwest Dallas, Texas
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?
- Nancy: Prior to becoming an Express Employment Professionals franchisee, we collectively spent more than 45 years building our professional careers. Specifically, I spent nearly 10 years wearing different hats in human resources for a variety of companies and industries, including manufacturing, retail, and workforce development. Though I no longer work in human resources, my doting husband Jeff claims I am considered the “HR guru in the Rio Grande Valley area” and I still help with HR for Express Employment Professionals. Combined, I bring more than 26 years of HR knowledge and experience to Express, the #1 Staffing Franchise and the top franchise both in the U.S. and worldwide.
- Jeff: On the other hand, I spent more than 20 years of my career in sales for companies such as Weyerhaeuser and Temple-Inland. During my time with each low-cost, highly efficient manufacturing company, I specialized in selling corrugated packaging, specifically boxes, and building products. Temple-Inland’s mission states its employees strive “to be the best by consistently exceeding customer expectations, maximizing asset utilization, lowering costs, and improving efficiency,” which all have proven to translate well once becoming an Express Employment Professionals franchisee.
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?
- Nancy: Originally from Mexico, I was born into a family of small business owners with my father at the helm who specialized in owning and operating local restaurants. My parents and I migrated to the U.S. when I was 7 years old where we spent time moving around the Rio Grande Valley from McAllen to San Juan, Texas before settling in Brownsville where I met my husband, Jeff. Though I still have a handful of family members in Mexico, both my immediate family and roots now live in the Valley.
- Nancy: After watching how hard my dad worked to support our family, I knew I wanted to follow in his footsteps of owning a small business that would leave a big impact and Express Employment Professionals has given me an outlet to do so. Lucky for me, my lifelong partner Jeff was on-board with this strategy, as he also always wanted to own a business.
- Jeff: Like Nancy, I grew up frequently moving around specifically throughout Texas after I was born in Pennsylvania, as my dad was often transferred within the corrugated packaging industry. This should have been a forewarning as I, too, began traveling a lot with my previous job in sales. Though I felt stagnant and could no longer see my growth trajectory, the highlight of my sales career was meeting Nancy. Guess I must have sold her with my winning charm and good looks?! Jokes aside, Nancy and I got married and had our first child. I then realized I wanted to spend more time at home with my family but needed a way to properly support us, so I began seeking out franchising opportunities.
- Jeff: We ended up speaking to a franchisee in the area where we had previously lived, and he happened to be the owner of an Express Employment Professionals location. Coincidentally, Nancy had used Express as a previous resource during her HR days and remembers how beneficial that partnership was as the top franchise in the U.S. The franchisee then encouraged us to invest in the Brownsville location, which I’m sure you can all guess where this is now headed…
- Jeff: When discussing what would be the right franchising opportunity for us, we were immediately drawn to the fact that Express Employment Professionals had a model to follow for its operators and a robust franchise network — and corporate team — that assured us that we wouldn’t be doing it alone. We were thrilled to know that we had found a partnership with the best of both worlds where local ownership and corporate backing coincide. So, we decided to give it a shot!
- Nancy: Now that we own a number of Express Employment Professionals locations, we feel certain this was the right move for our professional careers and has proven to be the most rewarding career to date. Express offers an unmatched business model that is truly second-to-none. When there are challenges in the market, we know we’re never alone in trying to figure out the answers because Express has a team of colleagues to network with — whether it be fellow franchisees or even the President of the company. Not to mention, we have frequent committee meetings to figure out how to best support each other and how to navigate these challenges that come up as the industry’s landscape evolves.
- Jeff: We work really hard in the offices daily and I can assure you that if we didn’t have the corporate backing that we currently have, we may not have the bandwidth to survive. So much of this business is having that support behind you and it truly makes all of the difference.
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?
- Jeff: Do you want my honest answer? The money.
- Nancy: You’re funny, Jeff! I have a big passion for helping people which really brings out the soft side in me and I truly enjoy the purpose of what we do at Express Employment Professionals. Helping someone in need to find a job is a really rewarding career. Even as an HR professional, I enjoyed helping a company to find that skillset that they needed and give back to them by helping grow a quality business, which now translates well to my role with Express and has pushed me to become a successful franchise owner.
- Jeff: Recently, I had a large job order to fill by 5 p.m. and still needed to place one more person in a job as the end of the day was fast approaching. An eager 19-year-old walked in after noticing the ‘for hire’ sign on the door. Immediately, I asked if he was ready to go to work tomorrow and of course, he said yes. We processed him really quickly and four months later, he came in and asked to speak with me. He said, “You know, Jeff, I was out on the road picking up cans because my mom was sick and needed money for her medical bills and care. I saw your sign and knew I had to walk in so I could support her. Now, my mom is doing just fine, and I was finally able to buy my own car. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you; you changed my life.” Those are the moments in working for Express that make you feel really warm inside. You can make a good living which allows you to provide a better life for your family and leave a lasting legacy.
How is the future of the business looking and how is the local landscape changing?
- Nancy: We are having challenges just like everyone in the nation, especially within the manufacturing space, but Express Employment Professionals offers so many service lanes to be flexible and stay prosperous to get the best opportunities for both clients and workers alike.
- Nancy: Express has taught us how to properly change course as the market shifts through the many training opportunities catered to what industry is looking for jobs at the time.
- Jeff: We’ve really honed how important it is to stay agile in the local market in order to be successful franchise owners. We also have open communication with both our Zone Vice President and CEO, which not many franchisees can say, who continuously create new programs that speak to being adaptable and nimble in this industry.
What do you think sets Express Employment Professionals apart from other staffing agencies?
- Jeff: Something that has really stood out to Nancy and me is the integrity and the camaraderie between franchisees. So much so that some fellow franchisees have now become our best friends. It’s nice because they go through the same stuff we do, so we know that we can always call them to talk through challenges and vice versa.
- Nancy: Yes. Express offers really great tools and is constantly evolving their processes, especially within the technology realm, that I feel really sets us apart from our competitors and also sets us up for success. We have a really good system in place that tracks our applicants and clients, and stores skills so that we can go back and research to pull what skills we need based on the jobs at hand.
- Jeff: I also think the fact that we are owners of our business yet live in the community means we are able to provide the best customer service with a more personal feel. As the local owners, we are always more supportive of any immediate and ongoing challenges versus our competitors who aren’t as flexible or available to address needs when they come to fruition. Package all of this together and there’s no question as to why Express is the top franchise in the U.S. and worldwide.
What do you believe has been the key to your success as a franchise owner?
- Jeff: Like I said before, my overwhelming good looks.
- Nancy: Don’t listen to him! I think the involvement of the owners in the business has been our key to success as franchise owners. We started off as producers of the business, so we knew how to do the functions of the business, which has really helped us grow our business now as coaches.
- Jeff: Managing budget and finances is very important in order to grow your business.
- Nancy: Jeff is really good at that.
- Nancy: Express Employment Professionals has a strong process in place so essentially, we bought into a process that works. To be a successful franchise owner, you just need to follow it and use it, and then never stop using it because that process works really well as evident by the success Express has seen through the years.
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?
- Jeff: If you’re considering it, do your research! Whether with Express Employment Professionals or another business, make sure franchise ownership is something that you want to stick with for the long term because you’re not just getting a job; you’re buying into something that is what you want to live and breathe every day. Just because you buy a franchise doesn’t mean it’s not hard work. You’re still going to have to work hard every day to achieve your ultimate goal of becoming a successful franchise owner.
- Nancy: A lot of people think, “OK, I bought a franchise; I’m good to go now,” and then they’re sitting there wondering why they’re not making any money because they’re not putting the time and effort into working to make the business successful. You must get out there and into the community to develop the product line locally.
- Jeff: Our franchise does best when the owners are involved from day one.
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.
- Nancy: Lately, we have been noticing the entry-level positions are not coming back while more construction trades and administrative positions are coming back. I’m not sure if this is going to be long-term, but there’s a shortage of raw material in the manufacturing industry so they’re seeking higher-skilled workers versus lower-skilled workers. At our locations, we are securing very few temp opportunities. In fact, 98% of our business stems from evaluation hires versus people looking for short-term positions.
- Jeff: At the end of the day, it’s not who we send. It’s who we don’t send that ends up differentiating us from the competitors.
- Nancy: Because we are able to use the experts at Express Employment International as resources, we’re now able to enter a niche that we previously had not entered because we were so overwhelmed with non-skilled workers seeking jobs. With this help, we are better suited to growing the service line in our market, which directly benefits our associates and job seekers in our markets. We’re also able to better assist our employers as a vital resource to fill those mid-level and high-level positions because so many of them lost the talent in those positions during the pandemic. As you can see, we are extremely passionate about our role as franchise owners of Express Employment Professionals, the top franchise in the U.S. and worldwide, and encourage anyone considering franchise ownership to go for it — after proper research!
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.