PostNet Printing Franchise Review: Q&A with New Owners Breese Elkins and Margy Tucker
The mother-daughter team recently opened a PostNet printing franchise in Plano, Texas
Breese Elkins was on a corporate career track, working more than 70 hours a week in the printing department of a financial services company and routinely taking calls at 3 a.m. when she decided it was time to start working for herself instead of someone else. With a strong background in business, she understood that the vast majority of start-ups quickly run into trouble unless they have the support of knowledgeable and experienced mentors. Her search for new career opportunities led her to the PostNet printing franchise. Breese opened her Neighborhood Business Center in March 2014, where she enjoys working alongside her mother, Margy Tucker.
Breese and Margy recently shared their story with us.
How long have you been a PostNet owner? What were you doing before?
Breese: We opened our doors March 20, 2014. Prior to PostNet, I was working for a large financial company in their Outbound (Print) Department. I was the production manager handling statements for customers’ communications and internal communications, managing multiple shifts. It wasn’t uncommon to get calls at 3 a.m., which was very disruptive to family life.
Margy: I was working in merchandising and with a dog rescue organization I founded, North Texas Scotty Rescue. When it grew into a large 501(c)(3) nonprofit, I decided to step back and reassess. Today I’m very active with grandkids and Breese’s PostNet franchise.
What prompted you to do something different?
Breese: After multiple years of working 70-plus hour weeks and losing precious time with my family, I decided I needed a change. That’s when I began looking for different opportunities. Being a business owner provides more flexibility if I need to run and do something for my kids. I have customer deadlines but I have my own schedule. I’m answering to myself, not a corporate situation.
Margy: And I have a lot more time with the four grandkids. I love to participate in all of their activities.
How did you find out about PostNet?
Breese: We found PostNet by searching for different franchises I might be interested in owning. At first, I ran across different shipping companies but quickly found that they were too limited in their capabilities. PostNet has not only shipping but printing as well. Since I had a background in printing from my previous job, I felt that they would be the best fit for me. Being a PostNet franchisee has advantages I wouldn’t enjoy as a standalone start-up business. The support and backing behind PostNet is amazing. Right from the beginning, they had a team together, answered all our questions. Another plus is the company’s ethics, the high standards and the family connections.
Margy: For someone who doesn’t know where to begin, starting from scratch is extremely difficult and daunting.
Breese: PostNet helped with our location, our lease, the build-out. It’s as turn-key as you can get and still have the feeling that you own it. Then there’s the training we enjoy as a franchisee. Very high level. The company really wanted us to be prepared to serve our customers from day one and begin achieving success the moment we opened our doors. It’s like a family.
What direction do you think the industry is headed?
Breese: We believe PostNet is moving toward being primarily a printing company. There is such a need for those services. I don’t feel the company will ever stop shipping, as this was the root of how it started. But there is certainly an area in printing that has a tremendous potential for growth, even in this Internet age. Printed material is a visual, hands-on tangible item that can get a brand out there in front of potential customers. A flyer, a brochure, a little thing can help establish your brand.
What sets PostNet apart?
Breese: We feel what sets PostNet apart is the personalization we take toward every customer. Whether it is designing a business card, printing birthday invitations, or shipping that pair of shoes to Australia, we take the time to understand what the customer needs and wants.
Margy: It isn’t just a job – this is something the customer really cares about, so it’s important to us too. Customer service is what sets us apart. So many places don’t have it and don’t care.
Breese: When customers find out you’re a family-owned business, they appreciate that. When we can help, it makes me feel good. Customers appreciate that you took the time. When they come back in the door and want more, you know you’ve got a friend and not just a customer.
Margy: They tell a friend, who tells a friend.
What personality or values do you think are needed to succeed as a PostNet franchise owner?
Breese: Great customer service skills, compassion, vision, dedication, ability to multitask — I am sure there are more, but these are the top ones that come to mind. It’s not just a job, it’s a commitment.
Margy: Having a vision, helping customers see what they can achieve.
How large is the opportunity for your business?
Breese: Unlimited. We feel we are in a great area of the community. There is a lot of growth happening right now, and it’s only the beginning. Opportunity’s door is waiting to open.
Who are your main customers?
Breese: Our main customers are people with small businesses that need help in bringing their marketing campaigns to life. The independent professor, the personal trainer, financial services provider … it might be a flyer for the local bank, menus for a restaurant, a dentist who wants to create attractive forms for customers to fill out.
Margy: Even blueprints for developers. We have the equipment to handle that.
What does your typical day look like?
Breese: We usually arrive about an hour before opening so that we can lay out the print work for the day. We have the staff to handle the counter work for customers wanting to pack and ship items and the staff to handle the design/print/finishing aspects of the work.
Margy: We love working together.
Breese: Networking is something we started from day one. I make a point of networking two hours a day. That’s something that PostNet really emphasizes, and its importance can’t be overstated. I molded my business plan so I can get out of the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays, going to Chamber of Commerce meetings and other meetings where I make valuable business contacts. We also use social media like Facebook to let people know about our capability.
What strategies have been most successful for you?
Breese: We believe networking is key. Without the networking groups in the community there is really no way to get yourself out there. Since a lot of our business is based on the personalization of the work, it is imperative that we let future customers know who we are.
What are some of your big wins for clients?
Breese: I know I’ve saved some bacon for some people. A pageant director needed a program book for her event, but another printer botched the job. We stepped in and quickly solved her problem. Now she’s promoting us to other pageant directors.
What do you enjoy about the business?
Breese: I really like that we are getting to be creative with our customers. I like taking the idea and allowing it to blossom to a completed job.
Margy: There’s something different every day, new challenges, perhaps a major print job or international shipments.
What does PostNet ownership allow you to do that you couldn’t before?
Breese: Right now I am still putting in about 50-plus hours a week. I don’t mind because it is for me and my family. I look forward long term to having more flexibility of time than I ever had working for someone else, spending more time with my family and being able to be more hands-on with the kids, their school, sports and other activities.
Margy: We also enjoy being more active in the community, getting to know the community better.
Would you recommend a PostNet franchise to someone else?
Margy: Absolutely! It is a huge step to just change your life and career. There are bumps in the road, but ultimately I feel that I could not have been as successful without the support of PostNet headquarters. I feel they have really taken the time to lay out a successful plan to help someone start their business. I hear a lot of horror stories about other franchises that just get you in the door and then aren’t there to help after you’ve opened your doors. PostNet has worked really hard to develop teams that help you with everything from picking your center to negotiating the lease terms, building the center, educating you on the systems and process and finally offering continuing education to help understand not only the PostNet systems but the industry and the changes. So yes, I would recommend PostNet!
PostNet offers a full range of digital printing solutions for small businesses, as well as graphic design, direct mail, websites, email marketing and shipping. We have been consistent innovators, which is one reason the franchise has successfully evolved from a pack-and-ship innovator to a leader in the digital printing industry. We have been ranked a top franchise opportunity by “Entrepreneur” magazine for 20 years in a row and also have won consistent awards from Franchise Business Review for franchisee satisfaction.
To learn more, fill out a form to download our free franchise report and start a conversation. Want to learn more first? Check out our research pages for the answers to many questions about the PostNet franchise opportunity, and visit our blog for more franchisee interviews and news. We look forward to talking to you!