Not having a background in the large-format graphics industry never impeded Bob Mejerle’s progress as a business owner.
Bob decided to become a SpeedPro franchisee after spending more than three decades in a corporate career in the global technology sector.
Having reached a point when retirement is the pathway for many people, Bob chose franchising.
“I wasn’t interested in going out and trying to prove a brand new concept,” said Bob, who is based out of Alpharetta, Georgia.
Bob also ran a number of consulting businesses, but a wide-format printing franchise was a completely new venture.
Building Momentum with their SpeedPro Franchise
When Bob and his wife Laura Lee first got started as SpeedPro studio owners, they admittedly had to wear many different hats.
“When you’re first starting out, you typically have a small staff so you’ve got to be resourceful,” Bob emphasized.
Generating brand awareness and recognition within their local market was one among many different tasks Bob and Laura Lee had to accomplish. Bob spent a significant amount of time doing his due diligence within the Alpharetta business community to identify potential clients, taking on opportunities to prove themselves as a wide-format printing vendor and converting the initial projects into long-standing relationships.
“Once you start proving yourself, all of a sudden more and more business opportunities arise,” said Bob.
One of the first big projects Bob and Laura Lee landed was applying vehicle wraps to a fleet of trucks, trailers, chaser cars, busses and other types of vehicles for a global pharmaceutical corporation that sponsors this professional cycling team that races internationally. Ever since, vehicle and fleet wraps have been a significant segment of their business.
Meanwhile, they’ve been able to foster growth in the area of corporate events; helping large organizations set up for such occasions by designing, producing and installing branded graphics for large meeting venues. For example, the Mejerles worked with a global technology company, which was hosting a multi-day event at a local hotel. Branded signage was installed throughout the entire venue, which included: parking areas, escalators, elevators, floors, and meeting rooms and hallways.
Additionally, Bob and Laura Lee have expanded their business to include a greater focus on interior and exterior signage, fabricated displays, large-scale exhibits and many other applications, including wall murals and dimensional signage.
“In our business, we’re able to do a lot of fabrication,” Bob said. “Building things is a particular love of mine.
Not only are these passion projects for Bob, but he’s also compensated well for these types of installations because they’re highly customized for the client.
Stepping Back from Operations as a Wide-Format Printing Franchise Owner
Each year, Bob and Laura Lee have been able to pare back on their time working in the business, and focus more on growth instead.
Bob drew upon his experience in Corporate America, where he oversaw different service divisions and focused on hiring the right talent who had the requisite technical skills that he lacked.
It’s been within the past two years that Bob’s put more of his time into business development – or, sales and marketing.
“It’s really easy to sell something that you’re passionate about,” said Bob. “And I really do enjoy this business.”
A big reason why Bob is so enthusiastic about being a SpeedPro studio owner is the concept is based on the business-to-business (B2B) model. As opposed to dealing in the end-consumer market, Bob is able to work with everyone from business owners to members of the C-suite to marketing executives.
Today, one type of clientele that’s gaining the most momentum is commercial interior designers. These are the people who typically work with architects and builders to complete projects, including wall murals, wall coverings, floor graphics, window graphics and acrylic graphics.
Key Lessons Learned as SpeedPro Franchise Owner
An important lesson Bob has learned operating his studio has been aggressively managing the materials used in producing the various project deliverables. Ultimately, when a franchisee is seeking ways to grow their profitability, they have to keep these costs in mind – as well as the frequency of specific projects – to determine a fair price that has sufficient margins.
Another resource that Bob found to be invaluable is his fellow studio owners. There is a tremendous amount of knowledge sharing regarding the use of products/materials, installation tips, equipment and pricing.
For example, Bob was proposing work for a local ice skating rink. He was trying to determine the appropriate vinyl that could be branded and installed successfully under the ice. Since there are not a lot of ice rinks in the South, this was a perfect opportunity to tap the knowledge of owners in the Midwest and Northeast where there are plenty of ice rinks. Consequently, a Denver-based franchisee walked him through the use of tried and proven media, as well as installation tips. Clearly, one of the hallmarks of Speedpro is the ability to provide our clients with experienced based solutions.
Are you ready to learn more about owning a SpeedPro studio? Get in touch with a member of our franchise development team here!