Franchises offer name, support system

July 29, 2007|By PEPPER BALLARD

Shopping for a franchise was like searching for a job and a home, all wrapped up into one, said new Express Personnel Services franchisee Larry Lederer.

Nearly two years of research went into selecting the best franchise fit for the entrepreneurial Lederer, who, together with his wife, Krissy, opened an Express Personnel Services office in Greencastle, Pa., about a month ago.

"I looked at Express as a better option than starting up a business from scratch," Larry Lederer said. "I wanted to learn from their mistakes. Here, my support system is huge ... If I did this on my own, there would have been a huge learning curve."

Terry Hill, vice president of communications for the International Franchise Association, said buying a part of an established business is often what draws people to buy franchises rather than start their own business.


"You get a system that someone else has built, brought into the marketplace and tested. It's a recognizable brand. It saves you as an entrepreneur ... a lot of time and energy," Hill said.

Lederer, 36, who worked most recently as an air traffic controller at the Federal Aviation Administration's Washington Center in Leesburg, Va., said he had dreamed of owning his own business and decided on Express because he wanted "something that mirrored my morals and values."

Lederer said he was attracted to Express' Christian background.

The Oklahoma City-based Express Personnel Services provides temporary staffing, evaluation and direct hire, executive recruiting and human resources, a written release from the franchise says.

The franchise has nearly 600 offices in four countries, employs 350,000 people each year and reached $1.8 billion in sales in 2006, the release says.

While the 11 N. Carlisle St. office is independently owned and operated by the Lederers, Larry Lederer said he likes the fact that he can call corporate headquarters with any questions he has about the business or its policies. A network of other franchisees is also readily available, he said.

"The reason why I wanted to do the franchise - Any question I have as far as helping a client ... I have an answer and I have a good answer," Lederer said.

While Lederer doesn't have staffing experience, he held management roles in the Army National Guard in Pennsylvania and taught piloting at a college in Pittsburgh. He earned his bachelor's degree in education from the University of West Florida in Pensacola.

Krissy Lederer, who works part time at the office, earned her bachelor's degree in psychology at Millersville University in Pennsylvania, and worked at jobs counseling troubled youth before becoming a stay-at-home mom.

The Waynesboro, Pa., couple has four children, all younger than 7 years old.

Krissy Lederer said her psychology background has helped her adapt to the new business.

"I think it helps me to be more sympathetic. I can kind of understand where people are coming from," she said.

The Waynesboro native said it also has been rewarding helping people from her hometown community.

"I think it's awesome. People seem to be more receptive if you say you're from the area. I've met so many nice people," she said.

While Krissy Lederer said owning a business was not her personal dream, she said she is excited that her husband was able to realize his.

Even their children are excited about the new business, she said.

Krissy Lederer said that while the family is out, her children have been known to ask strangers, "Do you know anyone who needs a job?"

For now, three employees work at the office, including the Lederers.

Larry Lederer said he has set no financial expectations for the business, for which he paid through various methods of financing.

"You can't look at a business as just making money, you've got to have a passion for it," Larry Lederer said. "I'm just trying to find good jobs for good people."

He has been "working a lot more hours now" than in his past job, but Lederer said that's to be expected.

"Whenever you open a business you've got to put in the hours," he said.

In the month the office has been operating, Lederer has found some geology matches for a company looking for a geologist and has helped place several people in jobs, he said.

The Lederers provide staffing help in Franklin and Adams counties in Pennsylvania and Washington County, but the Express franchise has more offices throughout the Tri-State area, he said.

An excited Lederer said, "Do you know how great it is to hire people? Their face just lights up when they get a job."

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