When I first heard the word ‘franchise,’ I was hesitant. I didn’t like the idea of paying a royalty fee. However, Nadeem was persistent, so we went to the open house at the franchisor’s Canadian head office in Oakville, Ont.
Their presentation gave us a lot to think about it. The UPS Store was very appealing. We learned about the three components of the business—shipping, printing and packaging—and the family-oriented operating hours. Nadeem had been working long hours at his job, so the idea of us having time together made all the difference. He wouldn’t be coming home late and we could have dinner together as a family. With The UPS Store, we could even take Sundays off.
Before we made any decisions, Nadeem visited some of the existing franchises in Toronto and spoke to their franchisees. He needed to gauge whether or not this was a serious option for us. Everyone was pleased with how their experience had been panning out, so it seemed like a good idea.
In early 2006, we got the ball rolling. It took nearly a year for us to finalize everything. After doing our homework and research, our goal was to find a location close to our home and our children’s school. I wanted to be able to collect our sons at the end of their school day.
We found the perfect location in an up-and-coming neighbourhood in Vaughan. The plaza was being built, so we told head office and they agreed to negotiate a deal for us with the owner. We opened in March 2007. So, this year is our 10th anniversary.
The first step toward opening our business was to take an at-home skills test. Once both Hena and I passed, we met with the franchisor, signed the franchise agreement and paid the deposit. After that, things started to move.
The franchisor put together blueprints for our new location. With just a few drawings, we could see where everything would be and how the store would look. This is when we began to feel like we were part of a big family. The franchisor really was there to help us and wanted us to succeed. It was a smooth transition.
Hena and I had to split our training because we had young children and had to trade off parenting duties. I did mine first.
We each spent one week at an existing franchise learning how to do everything and then went to head office for an additional two weeks. Since our store was delayed in opening, due to construction complications, Hena and I worked at a well-established franchise in Toronto owned by our now-friends, Tammy and Rob. It was a great introduction.