Carmelo Marsala, founder and president of Spray-Net, is on a fast-tract to business success. Having been in the exterior painting industry as a business owner since 2006, all while pursuing his business degree at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business, Carmelo knows first-hand what it takes to build a sustainable business model.
With the drive and determination to keep growing and the know-how to do so, he developed a wide range of services from residential paint applied with brushes and rollers, sealants to pressure washing. In 2009, the integration of the spray-gun sparked a major turning point in the history of Spray-Net. Aware of the impact this innovation had on the industry and on his business, Carmelo Marsala focused on mastering the spray-applied painting technique. As a result, new products could be expertly applied opening up many new possibilities for the application on different surfaces. With its clear advantages, this technique was the key to Spray-Net becoming the dominant player in its industry.
Taking his role as ‘head coach’ very seriously, Carmelo strives to create a climate that is conducive to innovation and to the success of his partners and collaborators. This means promoting and inspiring teamwork and a desire to excel. His passion for his work and commitment to his team is undeniable and it wasn’t long before the Spray-Net model was franchised throughout Quebec and now Ontario.
Carmelo Marsala is currently shortlisted for the Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 award (Ernst & Young). A true testament to his success.
BeTheBoss.ca: Tell us about the Spray-Net concept.
Carmelo Marsala: Spray-Net franchisees are able to give any type of home an exterior makeover in only one day. We permanently change the color of doors, windows or sidings whether they are in aluminum, PVC, vinyl, stucco and even brick. The best part about our process is that nothing looks repainted, has the same hardness and finish as if it came straight from the factory and is a fraction the cost of replacement. These advantages make it the most cost-effective way for homeowners to increase their property value and love their home!
BTB: How and when did you become involved with Spray-Net?
CM:I actually started painting homes while in University and through this process discovered this new technique. When homeowners would ask me to paint their vinyl or aluminum surfaces I would hesitate as I knew the result wouldn't be impeccable but there had to be a solution and we found it. That's how Spray-Net began!
BTB: What was your background prior to joining Spray-Net
CM: I have a bachelor's degree in finance and marketing from the John Molson School of Business. I've been in business for myself since the age of 18 throughout my post-secondary studies and have represented my college at the Canadian soccer nationals in 2003. Playing at a competitive level I know what it means to work hard and get results.
BTB: What are some of the advantages in being a Spray-Net franchisee?
CM: There are so many and I wouldn't have franchised our model if there weren't going to be. It makes so much sense to join the Spray-Net franchise system from a financial standpoint as it would actually cost more to start a business of this type from scratch then what we charge for our franchise fee, not to mention eliminating all the guesswork. We have created systems, training programs, proprietary products custom tailored to our application, mobile applications, marketing material and strategies that we are able to leverage in order to favor the brand as well as our franchise partners.
BTB: Who is your ideal franchisee?
CM: Our ideal franchisee is in love with our concept. He sees and visualizes the potential for it in his/her head and as a result will be able to easily and effectively sell its advantages through the passion he/she exudes. The ideal person is goal-oriented and when it gets tough, he/she keeps on pushing, can take some punches as we like to say, stays positive and keeps their head up keeping in sight their goal. In order to be successful, an ideal franchise partner must be ready to put in the hours initially and even more so due to the seasonality of the business in order to take it easier during the winter. We expect our franchisees to be brand ambassadors, adept in sales and customer service and be able to manage a team. Although it is up to their team to execute the work, franchisees mustn't be afraid to get their hands dirty if they need to!
BTB: Tell us a little about the renovation and home improvement market?
CM: We have found some pretty interesting statistics from the CMHC. According to the CMHC 81% of homeowners say they plan to use their savings to renovate their property; and 79% of them either wanted to rejuvenate its appearance in order to increase its value or were preparing to sell. Those are all excellent reasons to call us since, again according to the CMHC, the average cost spent on a renovation to achieve this result was almost five times the cost of a make-over offered by Spray-Net. This is what ultimately makes Spray-Net the most cost-effective way to increase property value.
BTB: What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?
CM: Finding the right people to partner with is so important! Our service makes a lot of sense however our franchise offering is not for anyone. We are looking for people who are able to follow a proven system that works but ultimately develop new markets and execute the service properly. It's ALL about the people because with the right people you can make anything work; luckily we also offer a great service!
BTB: Do you have a mentor and is their someone you use for inspiration?
CM: They say if you are the smartest one in the room then you are not in the right room. This is so true as the number one rule in business, as everyone knows, is to surround yourself with the right people. I am privileged to work with a staff that is as passionate and driven as I am in addition to our suppliers and consultants who have now become an extension of our staff. I do a ton of reading in order to learn and get inspired by authors such as Simon Sinek, Jim Collins and Michael Gerber to name a few.
BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
CM: It is an important life decision so make sure you are ready. It will likely be more work and harder than you expected and although we're there to support you, make sure your friends and family are too. You also need to make sure that you are 200% in love with the product because in order to be successful in selling anything, you must believe in it more than anyone else first. You can't fake passion!
BTB: In your opinion, why do you think that Spray-Net would be a great opportunity for someone?
CM: I think a Spray-Net franchise is a great opportunity but only for the right person; you have to really want this and love it because if you aren’t going to be happy then what’s the point? The possibility for growth is endless and we have experienced enormous growth in the last 5 years and are nowhere near finished. Paving the road for new possibilities is our internal motto in which we live by as it applies both to our clients, our staff and franchise partners. We not only allow homeowners to renew their home but the right entrepreneurial people to renew their lives and start a new path. Although I have a formal business education, contrary to corporate positions we are not looking for MBAs or top "business people," we are looking for people who are willing to learn, driven and will let nothing get in the way of reaching their goals; kind of like us. The opportunity here is that your compensation is directly related to your efficiency and hard work!