The service looks to make customers of contractors and homeowners alike.
Replacement contractors are nothing if not masters at the niche market. But a new franchise is taking that niche concept even farther with a service few contractors want to deal with — drywall plaster repair.
PatchMaster not only aims to offer homeowners a service that handles small drywall repairs, but also handymen, large drywall companies or contractors such as plumbers and electricians. The company says it will be especially useful to trade contractors, who often don’t have the resources to fix holes they leave behind.
“We’re addressing a real need that out there,” says Kathleen Kuhn, president and CEO of PatchMaster and sister franchise, HouseMaster, which are both part of the Master Home Services Parent Company. “When electricians and plumbers go into homes, guess what they create? So we’re the people who come in right behind them.”
Providing that service is crucial because most contractors don’t deal with patching, often leaving it to the homeowner to address. “It’s nice to be able to say we don’t do that, but if you’d like that taken care of, here’s a company that can,” Kuhn said.
She said the service is also valuable to large drywall companies who often don’t want to bother with smaller repairs. That’s because these companies are set up for large jobs and smaller jobs skew their business model. “It’s just not profitable for them to go in and patch small jobs so they are actually a good referral source for us,” she says.
Additionally, patching is a different skill set than drywall. It requires matching color and texture as well as repairing. “Patching is a bit of science. It’s a lot different than hanging drywall,” Kuhn says. “At PatchMaster we make money on small jobs and we know exactly how to cost that out.”
In fact, Kuhn expects the average job for PatchMaster franchisees to be around $500 to $600. “It’s definitely a niche. There’s no doubt about it,” she said.
But that niche has already proven to be more profitable than many expected. Just ask Eddy Zite, a founding franchisee and partner in PatchMaster. Zite was skeptical when the company first approached him about the concept in 2016.
“I have never done any drywall repairs, and frankly, couldn’t see the need for these smaller jobs,” Zite said. “I didn’t think the concept had any legs until I started talking to my friends in the trades and they told me the service would be extremely valuable to them.”
Now Zite has four vans on the road in his Salt Lake City territory and is looking to add a fifth. “The strong economics of the business and demand for the service has more than exceeded my expectations,” he said.
Kuhn said other franchisees are seeing similar results. And she expects the PatchMaster franchise to grow “exponentially” faster than sister franchise HouseMaster did.
PatchMaster already has about 20 franchises signed in 46 territories with 10 open and operating. Within the next 12 months Kuhn projects up to 75 new franchises owning more than 100 territories. “The pool of people who can afford to get into this business is much higher because it’s a very low price point and that really opens doors,” she says.
The initial franchise fee for a PatchMaster territory, which consists of a population up to 250,000, is $19,500. Ongoing fees include a technology fee and downward sliding scale for royalties starting at 9%. Franchisees attend a week long training program at the company’s headquarters in Somerville, N.J.
While PatchMaster is a niche business of its own, Kuhn said she expects contractors to add the franchise to their business as well. “It could potentially be an added business for them,” she said. “A number of franchise prospects already have another business.”