The national sealcoating and asphalt repair company, Jet-Black International Inc., is celebrating 25 years in business in 2012. The Minnesota based franchisor has Jet-Black franchises operating 84 territories in 12 states across the US. Jet-Black is the #1 ranked asphalt maintenance franchise system in Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2012 Franchise 500, which ranks the best of all franchise systems in the US. Jet-Black was also recently named a top 25 franchisor in the Minneapolis and St. Paul Business Journal.
Jet-Black began in 1987 when founder, Andy Hoiland, realized there were no legitimate, reputable sealcoating businesses in Minnesota. One weekend, Andy came home from college and observed that his parent’s ‘professionally’ sealed driveway was a mess. There were black footsteps in the grass and on the adjacent concrete and the sealed surface was streaky and had uneven sand texture. He also quickly witnessed that the product did not last. It didn’t take long to find there were few legitimate sealcoating businesses in most U.S. communities. Andy was convinced he could do a much better job and began sealing on his own in 1987 and awarded his first franchised Jet-Black territory in 1991.
Committing to excellence in product, application techniques, and customer service, Jet-Black quickly expanded in the 90’s and was recognized as one of the fastest rising franchises in the U.S. Jet-Black executives worked tirelessly with major sealant manufacturer’s to produce and provide the highest quality sealant and crackfiller possible.
The franchisor now has a fine-tuned business plan, which was developed to promote simple success for its franchisees. Co-owner and Jet-Black’s Director of Franchising, Nick Kelso, states that “Our system is built to allow franchisees to focus their time on completing jobs and working with customers, while we (the franchisor) work on marketing, technology, product and equipment upgrades, and industry changes. This is why someone would join the Jet-Black system, versus going at it on their own.” Key benefits include a highly evolved online customer database, dozens of in house marketing pieces, a state-of the art web site, and detailed initial and on-going training. New for 2012, the Jet-Black marketing team has developed a method to send direct mail postcards to only homeowners with asphalt driveways. Because of things like this, new franchisees enjoy instant credibility.
Jet-Black franchisee, Suzanne Pegg states “Starting a new business is usually a very long and exhausting process. It is the opposite with Jet-Black. It was a very quick turn around and an easy start up process. Jet-black gave us all the help and guidance we needed to start our company. Also, with such a low start up cost it gave us room to put our finances in all the places necessary for our company to be successful.” Along with her husband, Rob, and their son, Brent, the Pegg’s have been operating their Jet-Black in Rockland County, NY since 2010.
Jet-Black also welcomes ‘conversions’, where existing professional sealcoaters join the system at minimal cost. In this scenario, existing sealcoaters would integrate their current customer base into the Jet-Black system and then reap all the other benefits of being a Jet-Black owner. Kelso states that ‘The goal is to drastically improve sales, even for sealcoaters who have been in business for many years’.
Franchising in the U.S., as a whole, has taken a hit since the recession that began in 2008. Banks stopped lending and home equity loans disappeared. Since that time, Jet-Black has actually enjoyed steady growth and has had an increase in same store sales of over 45% (2011 vs’ 2008). Kelso states “We have made a commitment to working with existing franchisees to maximize the sales in their protected territory. We would rather grow slowly and be sure all franchisees get the attention they need in order to succeed. Our mentality is to do whatever it takes to make sure all Jet-Black operators, new and old, reach their goals.” In 2012, Jet-Black completed over 13,000 jobs.
For more information, visit www.Jet-black.com.