EYESthere opens first franchise location

Thursday, September 13, 2007

TAMPA, Fla.--In mid October, Doug and Vicki Dunbar will open the first EYESthere franchise here, taking the Dallas-based company's turn-key, customized digital security solutions to the Sunshine state. EYESthere, which also has a corporately owned Portland, Ore., office, has an ambitious goal of opening 210 franchises by 2010, said chief executive officer Rick Rene.
The Dunbars, said Rene, are typical of those who have shown early interest in the EYESthere franchises. "Because there aren't that many business-to-business franchises, the quality of the prospective franchisees is phenomenal," he said. "The average executive who wants to start his own company doesn't want to make pizzas or serve ice cream, and he generally doesn't want to work nights and weekends in a retail establishment." In this case, Doug Dunbar is the former vice president of marketing at Sprint Nextel, while Vicki ran her own catering firm.
While initial franchises are going to be opened by owners coming from outside the security industry, Rene said talented installers who can build teams would do very well with an EYESthere franchise. Buy in is $45,000 for the first franchise, $35,000 for additional franchises, and EYESthere estimates an initial investment of $187,000 to $295,000, including the franchise fee, is necessary to get open for business.
EYESthere, as the name implies, has focused initially on the video surveillance market, selling hybrid IP/analog solutions to small- and medium-sized businesses. However, Rene said his R&D team has just finished evaluating a new access control system that will be tied in with video surveillance and he expects to be installing that soon, as will franchisees.
The next franchise will open in Pittsburgh in November, and Rene said to look for franchises in Boston and Denton, Texas, in the very near future. Other markets where franchises are likely in the next six months include Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Forth Worth, Texas. Consulting firm iFranchise has helped EYESthere get the program up and running, Franchise Dynamics is helping with franchise sales, and law firm DLA Piper is providing legal expertise.

See more on this story in the November issue of Security Systems News.