Mobility provider launches franchise program

Thursday, June 3, 2010

WILMINGTON, N.C. - Franchising programs haven't been a big driver in the HME market, but 101 Mobility, a full-line provider of mobility and accessibility products, hopes to change that.

In April, 101 Mobility launched a franchising program, setting a goal for itself of awarding 12 franchises this year and more than 150 franchises within five years.

"Honestly, we're surprised that no one has jumped on this yet," said Dave Pazgan, CEO of 101 Mobility.

Right now, 101 Mobility comprises 15 sales reps and a team of installers who service markets in the Northeast and Midwest. Their primary customer: The Department of Veterans Affairs.

Because the market for lifts, ramps, power wheelchairs, scooters and walkers is "pretty fragmented," it's a good candidate for a franchise program, Pazgan said.

"There are a lot of small, local sales and installation dealers that are located all over the country, but none of them have built a presence on a national level," he said.

101 Mobility believes a franchising program will allow it to get that kind of presence, as well as offer customers consistency in mobility products and services.

"When you walk into a Hampton Inn--it doesn't matter which one--you have an expectation of the amenities and the level of service you'll get," he said. "Consumers like to have that level of confidence and trust in the company they're buying their products from."

101 Mobility offers franchises for an initial investment of $85,485 to $121,015. Franchisees get support in the form of two weeks of training at the company's corporate headquarters here (the first week is dedicated to business and operations management, and the second week to installations) and training in the field.

"It's really critical to us that we offer all the support necessary to make sure that the franchisees are successful in growing their businesses," Pazgan said. "If your franchises aren't successful, it makes it hard to expand your business."

101 Mobility hopes to do for the HME market what companies like Senior Helpers and Comfort Keepers have done for the senior care market.

"That industry, from a franchising perspective, is pretty crowded--it has really grown and become significant," Pazgan said. "We service the same demographic and our industry will grow similarly."