Lice Clinics of America Bucks National Franchising Trend
Franchisor uses technology to improve franchisor-franchisee relationship during pandemic
Salt Lake City, UT, Dec. 16, 2020 // GLOBE NEWSWIRE // - In a year where COVID-19 has devastated small businesses and fractured franchisee-franchisor relationships, Lice Clinics of America franchisees are expressing high satisfaction rates. Some clinic owners are even saying that now is the time to expand.
A recent Wall Street Journal article states that the pandemic has fueled public bickering between franchisors and franchisees. According to the story, franchise executives are citing pandemic-related safety concerns in order to demand store owners buy new equipment and adopt costly safety protocols; but the franchisees are pushing back - some through lawsuits - saying this undercuts their profits.
Lice Clinics of America, the country’s leader in urgent-care lice-removal clinics, has taken a different approach. Rather than dictate additional investments and operational requirements, it recommended best practices, provided a variety of viable solutions, and then enhanced support to its franchisees this year. It then let the clinic owners make changes according to what they felt were best for their local technicians and clientele. Some of those options included temporarily closing clinics, offering telehealth services with curbside pickup of treatment products, and treating just one family at a time inside the clinic.
Like many companies early in the pandemic, Lice Clinics of America sent its employees home to work, connecting via Zoom. The company immediately opened many of those Zoom calls to its franchisees each week, a practice it has continued. In addition to helping franchisees secure PPP loans and adopt new safety protocols, that extra face time has helped all of the employees understand the plight of the franchisees. It has also created a deeper sense of community among the franchisees and increased trust in the franchisor.
“It’s been really nice to see our clinic owners step up and help each other out,” says Claire Roberts, CEO of Lice Clinics of America. “One of our calls is a weekly roundtable discussion where many of our clinic owners across the country hop on Zoom and speak about what’s working for them and what’s not. It’s a great open discussion in a frequency and format that we didn’t have before.”
“I enjoy our weekly calls,” says Melanie Sherman, owner of the Lice Clinics of America clinic in Bakersfield, CA. “We’ve learned some creative ways to be successful in our market this year and we believe we have helped contribute some ideas to other clinics. It’s fun to share ideas with other franchisees, listen to what is working for them in their markets, and then try them in ours. We then report back the following week on what worked for us and what didn’t.”
Some Lice Clinics of America franchisees have found opportunities to expand as competitors have closed and rents have dropped. Ally Anthon, a franchisee who operates a clinic in Sugar Land, TX recently acquired the neighboring West Houston territory, only months after opening her first clinic. “Social distancing has certainly had an effect on our start here, but once schools get back to normal and kids get to be kids again, the demand will return, and we’ll be ready to take care of even more families in the West Houston and Sugar Land areas,” says Anthon.
Anthon isn’t the only one expanding in Texas. Sheli Schomer and Tracy Copeland have owned and operated the clinic in West San Antonio and have expanded to take ownership of the East San Antonio territory as well. “We’re really excited to be able to service the entire San Antonio area starting in 2021,” says Copeland. “We’ve been in this business a few years now and we’re even more dedicated to helping our community than ever.”
SOURCE Lice Clinics of America
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