At InXpress, Covid Has Shortened the Time from Signing to Opening
Covid-19 has influenced, ohh… everything, including franchise development. We asked Christina Chambers, Executive Vice President for Franchise Development at InXpress, how Covid-19 has affected the brand’s timeline from time of signing to actual opening.
We are not a brick-and-mortar franchise, so from signed agreement to opening simply includes the time to attend training and launch the business. No difference in timing this year, but we did adjust to all-virtual training classes instead of in-person.
Since March, we’ve seen faster time from candidate application submission to signing, at an average of just over 60 days. In 2019, this timing was 100 days, so it has been significantly faster during Covid-19. With no additional lead generation spend or additional franchise development team members, we awarded 64 percent more franchise agreements so far in 2020 compared with all of 2019. I believe this uptick is a direct result of the resilient, essential nature of our business in shipping and logistics, combined with the safe work-from-home atmosphere for franchisees.
The only area we are seeing an increase in timing is for SBA loan closings. Our franchisees are still able to obtain SBA Express loans this year, but it has gone from 30 days to closer to 90 days.
We give franchisees the tools to “pre-launch” their business before completing the training program. That means they’re able to begin prospecting small to medium- sized businesses that need quick and reliable shipping solutions for all their international small parcel, domestic small parcel, and LTL (freight) needs.
Throughout Covid-19, the newer franchisees have been able to quickly establish themselves as trusted, knowledgeable partners for small to medium-sized enterprises in need of a remote support system to address their shipping needs and to assist those facing pandemic impacts.
Because of the demand for reliable shipping solutions, those who pre-launched by making prospecting calls saw more success than in years past—especially since more small businesses were open and available to engaging on the phone in an effort to save money and increase service, or who were looking for assistance in pivoting their shipping to e-commerce solutions. Our franchisees’ ability to solve pain points for small businesses in such a challenging time has resulted in faster early launch results.
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