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Review of the Roto Rooter Franchise Opp and Startup Costs

Have you always had a knack for being able to use your hands? Do you love the idea of being able to help people out of a tough spot? Then you might just be the perfect candidate for a Roto-Rooter franchise! With one of the best brand recognitions available in the drain cleaning and plumbing industry, becoming a franchisee of this organization will help give you an immediate presence that can translate into a good business opportunity.

Roto-Rooter has been in business since 1935 and offers a national website and toll-free number that can help anyone get to your franchise. You’ll be an independent franchise who doesn’t necessarily need to have plumbing experience to be successful. If you can invest into this brand and bring in quality workers, then you’ve got the chance to turn this franchising opportunity into something that will diversify your investment portfolio.

What Is the Initial Required Investment?

To get going on your Roto-Rooter franchise, the first startup fee that you’ll want to take under consideration is the franchising fee. It’s a relatively small fee of $15k that will help to give you the use of the Roto-Rooter brand name. The rest of the total investment depends on your office location, how many employees you may need, and other overhead costs. According to most estimates, however, the maximum total investment needed to begin a new franchise is $90k. Many can get off the ground for $40k or less.

The primary issue that an investment into this franchise requires is the investment into tools that are needed to complete the job. To free up plumbing and resolve drainage issues, a specialized set of tools is often required to complete the job. For those who are already plumbers, this really isn’t much of an issue, but it could be a deal breaker for those who are wishing to make a basic investment and just manage the administrative end of the business.

For that reason, you may wish to consider applying to become an independent contractor instead of a franchisee. You won’t have any of the initial investment costs beyond whatever overhead you may have and you’ll still get the ongoing support that franchisees receive to get the brand name recognized locally and appointments booked. Being an IC also means that you make the business decisions for your greater good and have fewer restrictions in place that must be followed – perfect for the entrepreneur looking for a good investment opportunity.

What Kind of Support Do You Receive?

Unlike other franchising opportunities, Roto-Rooter believes that you’ve already got the skills to be in the plumbing business if you’re thinking about joining the team. To that extent, you will receive help in promoting your business instead of receiving training in specific operations or tasks. That means you’ll get help in the following areas, whether you choose to become an independent contractor or a franchisee:

• Advertising assistance, including listings in the Yellow Pages that convert into an online listing through partner websites.
• Telephone equipment and payment help with the monthly telephone bill.
• The rights to use the name and jingle that Roto-Rooter has promoted for over seven decades.
• 24/7 software support.
• A proven business plan.
• Brand identity items including automobile decals.
• Certain pieces of equipment, like cameras and water jetters.
• An established base of sales that will work to quickly book appointments for your plumbers.

The one issue that investors face with the Roto-Rooter franchise is the population requirements for a territory. For the most part, contractors and franchisees won’t be approved unless there is a minimum population base of 200k in the area. A target population for the franchise is 1 million. Although small town markets are approved at times, it is usually in rural areas where there is an extended territory and very little plumbing coverage.

What Are the Benefits of Investing in a Master Franchise?

There are three distinct advantages of choosing a franchise over a contractual relationship with Roto-Rooter.

1. You have unlimited potential. Roto-Rooter allows you to grow your business, allowing it to multiply through a model of subfranchising. There are very few boundaries in this master model and lots of territory yet to be covered, so it could be a fantastic way to grow profits exponentially.

2. There is no competition. Roto-Rooter does not put any other contractors or franchises into your territory once your business is developed according to the designated plan. You receive a 10 year franchise agreement with your fees and that agreement is available for a 10 year renewal as well.

3. You can test your franchise out. Roto-Rooter offers a pilot operation where the full ranges of services are offered for 12 months instead of 10 years. You can then try out your own business during this period of time and focus on establishing a community identity. If it doesn’t work out, then you haven’t risks a whole lot. If it does work out, then you can fully commit to the business model.

The benefits of this investment are pretty clear-cut. If you’ve already got a service industry business that is unaffiliated, you can add a level of prestige to your business that can increase your customer base. The name will help to set you apart from others in your area and will give you an instant reputation that is primarily good… although there are a number of complaints that can be found on review sites about other franchisees and contractors.

As with any service industry opportunity, there is an inherent risk involved with this investment. Perform your due diligence and see what your community needs in this area. Test out the model if you prefer. Become an independent contractor if you wish for more control. In the end, if your community could use a good plumber, then it could use your new Roto-Rooter franchise.

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