Two Filta operators share the paths of franchise success | Franchise News
Ethan Cohen and his business partner doubled as Filta franchisees in January, buying Orange County, Calif., Territory from an existing operator and adding it to their San Diego County operation.
“We do everything up to the San Diego border with Mexico, throughout San Diego County, and in January we acquired Orange County, which is twice the footprint we had,” he said of their efforts over the past decade.
Filta Environmental Kitchen Solutions offers restaurants, hotels, hospitals, universities – “anything that has a commercial kitchen,” he said – cooking oil filtration and fryer management; grease-free drain foam service; humidity control for cold rooms; and launched during COVID-19, a disinfection service called Filtashield.
Cohen once owned restaurant delivery services acquired by Grubhub and UberEats. “I thought, what can I use my old contacts for? That was about 10 years ago, in my early forties, and I knew I couldn’t just stop what I was doing and quickly open a new business, with a mortgage and everything. He liked Filta to be “on the environmental spectrum I was in”.
Going with a lesser-known franchise like Filta meant it took time to establish clients. “It took us a few years to get our name established, maybe three years we started to see some traction, and after five years we felt really strong and realized we could have something after all. those years of hard work, ”he said.
“At least back then, I felt like it took about three to five years to establish. Not like a McDonald’s, you turn on the Golden Arches and open the doors and people start to come in, ”he said.
Its operation reached $ 2.8 million in sales in 2018, with gross revenue of 40%. “We would have probably pushed $ 4 million in 2020; we went down to $ 1.7 million. We got our ass kicked, excuse my tongue, ”he said of 2020.
Reached in March 2021, he said sales figures were around the pre-COVID era.
Keri Gardner, new Filta franchisee in Long Island, New York, was fired from her corporate job last year due to COVID-19. A career coach called her and asked her what she wanted to do. “I said I didn’t want to work for someone else anymore,” but she didn’t want to start her own business. “Starting a business from scratch is shockingly difficult.”
She relied on the formation of the Filta company as well as conversations with other franchisees to prepare for her new role. “Oh my God, I’m not at all mechanical. I’m a really good songwriter, ”she laughs, which means calling a technician to do the job,“ but I’m not a repairman. I didn’t believe how steep the learning curve was. “
She bought the franchise the last weekend of October 2020 and didn’t do much in business the rest of the year. “At that time, New York had outrageous numbers for COVID,” she said, with restaurants closed for indoor dining.
Starting this year and with the help of Filta’s internal sales team, she called the universities, quickly signing a core of clients. “It’s a great deal, so we’re covering our expenses and making some money right now,” she said.
A Filta franchise costs “just north of $ 100,000,” she says, and she was looking for loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration, but didn’t want this loan “to weigh on my head for the first two years.
“That was the only bright spot that came from COVID; you were allowed to take up to $ 100,000 without penalty,” from her 401 (k), if she makes it within three years. While some may advise against using retirement savings, she says, she thinks the risk is manageable. “$ 100,000, if that’s what will make or break my retirement, I’m in trouble.
“I think you just have to follow your desire,” she said to other business leaders who are now unemployed. “I worked hard, worked for companies that required a significant amount of my time and never felt like I was getting a return on my investment,” she said.
“Working for yourself is actually more difficult than you might think. It’s pretty intense. But the rewards for your success are fabulous. Like even if right now I’m not killing him financially, it feels good. And I feel accomplished.