FREQUENTLY

           Asked Questions

1. What kind of equipment and supplies discounts can I expect?

<empty>Our executive team has spent over 39 years in the business and has used and researched the best equipment and products for the job. We are not interested in making deals with certain manufacturers just so we can mark up and sell product. We are interested in the most versatile and proficient equipment on the market today. Because of our experience, we know that time is money and our offering of equipment and supplies is all built towards the highest per day output combined with the deliver of quality every time. Compromise is not an option for DuctPro International. For this very reason, we realize that no one company will have all of the answers for our needs. Therefore we have built relationships with several leading worldwide manufacturers who will provide us with the best equipment and product for each job at hand. This fluid interaction also keeps our suppliers eager to compete for our business for combined success.

 

2. What kind of national accounts exist for sales?

There are air ducts everywhere. The recent affordability and growing green movement, along with a focus on indoor pollution and indoor air quality has made it an item in demand. Our local sales and marketing program is focused on direct residential and referrals from industry related contractors, as well as commercial facilities, schools, and government buildings. Our primary focus on hotel chains is Ritz Carlton, Marriott, Four Seasons, Starwood, Hyatt, and Hilton hotel companies. Commercial buildings are marketed through BOMA, and members include Trammel Crow, Prudential Properties, and many more. The shopping mall ownership in the U.S. is very limited, and about 10 companies own almost every major shopping mall. These are solicited through the ICSC. Trade publications and trade shows will be used as marketing vehicles for each of these industries. Over 300,000 million buildings exist in the U.S., and everyone has duct work, and counting, and growing.

3. How many people are in the network?

Right now the network is small. This is a ground floor opportunity. Fees will increase after a certain number of franchisees sign on. We expect around 250 total franchisees in the U.S. alone, with 55 of those being on board by the end of 2010.

4. Who will train me?

Our training programs are the best in the industry. Produced and conducted by Mike Palazzolo and his sons MJ and Marcus, as well as other DuctPro staff. Mike Palazzolo began training industry related students in 1984, was a founding member of NADCA, and has helped set the standards for the industry, and already send hundreds out into the duct cleaning world to become successful. Training will take place in our state-of-the-art training facility in southeastern Michigan, and in the field at your facility.

5. Where will I be trained?

We conduct training sessions monthly at in Utica, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. You and two of your staff will attend a two-week long session, and be offered additional week at your facility after you actually open. We have 12 trucks, each with NADCA certified crews, and you will go out on actual jobs with these technicians and learn in a hands-on environment, blended with classroom sessions for orientation and review. When you open, our regional project manager will be there for your first jobs, and insure you are comfortable with the working equipment and systems. The P.M. will work with you for two weeks at your location over the first few months, and will be in your facility at least every other month.

6. How much money will I need?

There are specific budgets available for review, which include operations and cash flow. We have devised three quality equipment packages offering different levels of initial investment ranging from $40,000 to $140,000. All of these costs are capable of being financed. Your fees can be paid at once for a discount, or we will spread them out for you. Other cash required to start your business is around $35,000 to be comfortable. Details will be provided in the UFOC if your interest level takes us to that point.

7. How much credit will I need?

Equipment and truck; $50,000 to $100,000 per crew. We recommend each unit starts with 1 crew and fills the pipeline, then adds a second crew and business and income allows. Most big areas will have up to 8 crews, and major metropolitan areas could grow as large as 20 crews.

8. Are the financing rates good?

Because of our projected volume, we have been able to negotiate very favorable rates. We also guarantee some of the loans up to a certain level, which also holds rates down. However, lease rates are always based on your credit. If a loan defaults, we take the equipment and move it to another franchisee. You may have or desire a relationship with your local bank. In this case we have a package for you to take to the lender to help obtain financing. Local rates at banks may be better than ours. Fortunately, rates are very low and look to remain there for the near future.

9. What products do you use?

We use only time tested products that get results. Rather then deal with only one major manufacturer, we have solid relationships with several well known and respected industry leading product developers. Some of our products will be private labeled and in other cases, we will allow the manufacturer to keep their names so as to showcase the professionalism and power of our relationships.

10. Who manufactures the equipment?

We have evaluated and selected equipment from numerous manufacturers. No one company has the best everything. So, there are multiple manufacturers, but we have private labeled the equipment so it all carries a common name. Details and specs are available to qualified franchisee candidates.

11. How large are the territories?

The territory size is sold to you based on a formula that uses the US Census information. The territory is sold at $.30 cents per household with a mean income of over $40,000, in your desired area. So, you and your start-up budget determine the territory size. If you buy part of a city, say a metro county, you will be allowed to service the entire area until another franchisee purchases the territory. If there is another bona fide buyer, you will be offered the right of first refusal and can buy the additional territory yourself. No territory will be smaller than the average size metropolitan county in your area. Our standard territory size is 250,000 households, an average of 150,000 households larger than our competition. At 250,000 households, our territory and franchise fee combined is .30 cents per household. The competition is at $.50 cents per household. While their initial fee may be $49,000 to $50,000, that is for 100,000 households. Ours is $75,000 for 250,000 households, but if we sold a 100,000 territory, our fee would be $30,000. We are clearly less than our competition. However, we want you to be able to grow your business to its full potential, so we expanded the territory so you may be able to do so.

12. What happens with overlapping territories?

If there are multiple franchisees in one area, each must operate only in their licensed area. If there is just cause for a crossover, then a commission will be paid to the franchisee who hold the license in that territory. For example, if you have a good customer who needs your services in another licensed territory, and he wants to do business only with you, you will contact the company and advise them, and a 10% commission will be paid. If you operate in someone else’s territory without permission your franchise license may be revoked. Telephone lines in closely knit areas will be similar to pizza chain phone systems where the phone company delegates the division of calls based on your telephone exchange. The national toll free number, 1-888-DUCTPRO, will be routed electronically by telephone area code.

13. Who will help me sell my products and services?

Your area project manager will assist you in compiling a local sales and marketing plan, train your sales people, and make calls with you and your staff. Also, we are selling on a national basis every day, advertising, and attending trade shows. A copy of our national sales and marketing plan and budget will be available to all franchisees on an ongoing basis. The way our program is set up, if you don’t sell we don’t earn royalties, so no one wins. Thus, we are motivated to help you drive sales.

14. Who is the DCN?

The Duct Cleaners Network (DCN) is a national association of air duct cleaning companies founded in 2004. Their website is ductcleanersnetwork.org. The organization Administrator is Alexandra Luke, she can be reached by email at iaqpro@aol.com or by phone at 301-262-7779. The mailing address is 3600 Maroon Lane, Bowie, MD 20715–2950.
• Hosts active discussion board, photo board, audio business library and business articles library at their website, all at no charge
• Membership fees and annual summer convention costs are very affordable
• Has minimum standards of business performance for members in an effort to exclude those who do shoddy, misrepresented or unfairly priced work

15. Who is NADCA?

The National Air Duct Cleaners Association is the oldest and largest association of air duct cleaning companies in the US. It was started in 1989 to promote the source removal approach to air duct cleaning and to establish public, published industry standards for HVAC cleaning and restoration. NADCA hosts a very large and broadly attended national convention annually. Their website is nadca.com. They can be reached by email at info@nadca.com and by phone at 202-737-2926. Leanne Murray is the membership and certification officer. Their street address is 1518 K Street, NW, Suite 503, Washington, DC 20005.
• Single-handedly responsible for the creation and publicizing of the only widely recognized national standard for the cleaning of HVAC systems, the ACR Standard (Assessment, Cleaning and Restoration Standard). The current version is the 2006 edition.
• Provides training and third-party certification for air duct cleaning technicians with their ASCS (Air System Cleaning Specialist) program.
• Also provides extensive training and certification throughout the US in other focus areas associated with air duct cleaning such as mold remediation and inspection.

16. How many people can I get trained?

The franchise fee paid will allow three people to be trained at any time. Additional training will be offered at a discounted rate of $1,000 per session, per person. Sessions run monthly in our training facility.

17. Why join a franchise instead of doing it on my own?

You can start any business on your own. Statistics compiled by experts, not us, show that being a franchisee provides for an 85% greater chance of success than a private start-up. See articles in any publication that deals with the economy and business/small business. Forbes, Inc., Money, Entrepreneur, Fortune, Success, Venture, Income opportunity, etc. Just go to their websites and search for articles about franchising. The reason that franchises in every industry are more successful is that being part of a larger group gives you advantages your competition does not have. Greater buying power equals lower prices and better support services. National sales and marketing and name recognition drives business to you. Having the support of the franchiser and the others in the network give your depth. We have already made the mistakes that we can help you avoid in your start-up. Our systems and procedures, and training jump start your business and save you money from the start. Research and development keeps the group at the cutting edge of the business battle. We send staff to every related trade show and seminar in the associated industries. We are constantly evaluating new equipment and products, and even participate with manufacturers in their development and testing. We help you succeed in business in every way, provide a support system, and help you when you need it. If you get, or want, a big job that is too much, either we or other franchisees will assist you. And finally, performance that has been tested and proven successful.

18. What do I have to do to qualify?

It is necessary for you to have enough financial depth to start the business as outlined on the questionnaire that will be supplied to interested candidates. In addition, we have a personality profile that evaluates certain personality characteristics as they relate to business and business success. It is important to us and our franchisees that we have the strongest and most successful group in the industry. Business and management background are an asset, but not necessary. And, of course, the concept is to grow a thriving business that will provide for you and your family for generations to come. So, the ability to grow the business financially and philosophically with our help and through our programs, to a level commensurate with the market, which will be outlined in the UFOC and agreement, is also a requirement.

19. Why would I choose DuctPro over another company that sells air duct cleaning franchises?

Territory – At 250,000 households, we offer the largest territory that we are aware of. We want you to be able to grow your business into a multi-million dollar enterprise without losing adjacent territories or paying more fees just to expand. With our territories you should easily be able to grow to five trucks, or even more, and realize your business and sales goals for the immediate and distant future.

Fees – On a cost per household basis, our combined territory and franchise fees are substantially (40%) less than most of our competitors. Our ongoing fees are also less, and we dedicate a large percentage of these fees to national advertising and branding/name recognition.

Experience – Our founder, Michael S. Palazzolo, has 39 years in the business. Starting with a one-truck operation, Safety King, a DuctPro franchise and our business model, now has 15 large vacuum trucks and a large cross-section of portable units. Through Safety King, Michael has provided business, sales and marketing training to owners and managers, as well as technical training to technicians from air duct cleaning companies all over the world. He has tracked the entire evolution of this industry from its infancy to where it is today. Being a founding member of NADCA, Michael has been responsible for establishing many of the industry standards as we know them today.

Training – As stated above, years of offering industry training have taught us the very best and most effective ways of conducting the various levels of education needed to make your business successful. We have the programs and documentation you need to learn and maintain the highest level of knowledge for the air duct cleaning industry. Conducted in our state-of-the-art facility in southeast Michigan, the classroom training is second to none, only out-performed by our field training. In the field, you go on actual jobs with NADCA certified technicians using the best equipment available. Our inventory of equipment also allows excellent training on all levels of vacuum equipment, from portable and midsize to the most powerful truck-mounted in the world.

Equipment – We specify and allow only the very best equipment in the industry. The years of operating a large air duct cleaning business have allowed us to test and evaluate all kinds of equipment from multiple suppliers enabling us to say, with conviction, what works and doesn’t, and what represents the best value for the dollar spent.

Support Services – To the best of our knowledge, we are the only franchise operation in this industry that sends a field manager to your business at least every other month, helping with sales or training, or both, as well as other areas in which you think we can help. We have weekly training sessions, excellent web support, and the most comprehensive sales and marketing program available in the industry. All employees will be trained to pass the NADCA technician test, regardless of whether they are employees from the start, or new technicians added along the way.

Sales and Marketing – We offer a multi-tiered and multi-faceted local sales and marketing plan that is geared toward developing business from multiple sources, helping you create a robust business mix. Again, years of testing sales techniques and equipment types have given us the absolute knowledge of what works and how much it costs. Our national fund shares the expense, from franchise to franchise, city to city, of promoting the name across the country, making DuctPro the commonly referred name among residential and commercial customers nationwide. 1-888-DUCTPRO, our toll free number, is offered in every market as part of your franchise package. The number will also be supported by national marketing and web presence to drive business to your local franchise outlet.

Why be just a duct cleaner when you could be a DuctPro?

Feel free to contact art@ductpro.com or mike@ductpro.com or mj@ductpro.com