By Sullivan Alexander, Contributor, the Price of Business Show. * Sponsored
Sullivan Alexander recently interviewed A.G. Crowe, CEO and co-founder of The File Depot.
About the interviewee
A.G. Crowe is the CEO and co founder of The File Depot. A.G. is a serial entrepreneur, and has owned many successful businesses including an office supply store and a print store, and he currently owns and operates a The File Depot location He has served 2 terms as a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and is currently the State Senator for District 1. He has served on the St. Tammany Parish School Board, as President of the St. Tammany Parish Economic Development Foundation, a board member of the Slidell Chamber of Commerce, a board member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a board member of the Boys and Girls Club, and an Executive Board member for the Southeast Louisiana Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He is a member of the Rotary Club, Lions Club, Louisiana Wildlife Federation, National Rifle Association and Ducks Unlimited.
Describe the franchise model including (products or services offered, number of employees, location, type of customers you work with, etc.).
The File Depot Storage Facilities offer vital business to business full service document storage, retention, secure destruction, and online retrieval or daily delivery. We offer quality and efficient services, procedures and programs giving both businesses and government entities a solution to confidential document storage, retention and disposal, allowing them to maintain records offsite in a secure location, quickly retrieve any required records, set destruction dates and have the items securely destroyed, all within the confines of local, state, and national standards and laws. File Depots are located in easy to find and inexpensive warehouse real estate, and can be ran by a single owner/operator or a single employee.
Tell us about the franchise branding, both in terms of customers and franchisees.
Our name describes what we do. We are a safe, secure and efficient “depot” for storing, managing, delivering and securely disposing of client records for just about every business or organization (public and private). Most of our prospects store their records in mini-storage units which is not secure, records are not bar-coded and tracked when moved, there is no retention schedule and the units typically turn in to piles of records over time.
Our franchisees benefit by offering the no-brainer alternative to the mini-storage for about the same cost (clients can store 100 letter-legal boxes for less than $50.00 a month, for example) but with all the safe guards. Our site model allows for the maximum amount of boxes of records to be stored in the franchisee facility, and allows the franchisee to quickly locate any records within the facility which, in turn, creates a profitable system for the franchisee.
Briefly describe the key franchise systems that have been developed and put in place?
We have developed our own unique in-house software system that manages everything electronically from bar-coding records to client billing. We have a Certified Records Manager (CRM) on board which allows our franchisees to compete for practically any bid. We offer hard copy and digital storage and services including daily hard copy delivery as well as digital delivery via The File Depot Cloud. We provide corporate scan services and destruction/disposal services with regional and national vendors for our franchisees to enhance their profitability. We maintain a sales and marketing hotline accessible daily and during off hours by appointment. We assist in “big-hit” and national contract opportunities working closely with our franchisees when those opportunities come up. We provide a technical assistance hotline for software and related inquiries.
What do you see as important considerations in selecting a franchisee and what is the initial investment and operating cost profile of a typical franchisee location?
Our initial investment ranges from $40,000-$90,000, including working capital. Once up and running, the facility will have minimal overhead, just inexpensive real estate plus normal cost of during business (phones, lights, etc). We are looking for a franchisee who is comfortable in the business to business world, and has some background in business ownership or management.
As the franchise expands what do you see as hot button issues?
The hot-button issues in the managed records storage facility are price-competitiveness, legal and HIPPA compliance, and online storage and access. There is only one major competitor in this market, and they primarily concentrate on large accounts of thousands of boxes. Though The File Depot is price-competitive with those large accounts, and can typically bring the client significant savings, we specialize in servicing the smaller clients that are often overlooked by our competitors. All of our document storage and destruction is HIPPA compliant, and we will help a client design a compliant retention policy. We currently offer an online records retrieval process, as well, and are allocating resources to expand our digital services.
When you look at other franchise options available, describe why this is the next big thing both from a customer and franchisee’s point of view!
The records industry continues to grow as more and more paper records are created every day. For most clients, digital storage of all, or even most, of their records just doesn’t make sense. The personnel required to digitize records that they will most likely never need to retrieve again is cost-prohibitive. From a franchisee standpoint, The File Depot is a very attractive investment. A combination of a low start-up cost, low employee count, and a significant return on investment makes for an ideal business investment. The File Depot is the only franchisor operating in this space. Additionally, many franchisees either purchase or do a purchase option on the warehouse space, thereby building both their business and real estate portfolio simultaneously. Finally, the level of franchisee satisfaction that The File Depot enjoys is truly unequalled in most, if not all, other franchise brands.
Sullivan Alexander is a contributor on the Price of Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston), whom you can learn more about at www.contureadvisors.com.
Sponsored by the Price of Business, on Bloomberg’s home in Houston, TX