A Franchisee’s Journey: Getting to Know…Jim Zandee

Jim Zandee is the proud owner of a CertaPro Painters franchise serving the Detroit metro area. He’s personally involved in every aspect of the business, which should be obvious when you consider what he’s accomplished since opening the doors back in 2013. And while he enjoys being his own boss, the job flexibility allows him the free time to participate in tennis, cycling and other outdoor activities is another plus. But it wasn’t always this way.

Zandee, a lifelong Michigan resident, grew up in Grand Rapids and attended Hope College. The field of accounting was his career of choice and Zandee earned both an MBA and his CPA certification. The next 35 years of his work life were devoted to this professional consultancy—a majority of which was spent in Corporate America. Later on, as his time in the profession was coming to a close, he chose a narrower route, pledging his time to smaller, more local, and private consulting settings to ply his trade.

While Jim always considered the door to entrepreneurship open, it wasn’t until he reflected on the many factors he disliked when it came to working for big companies. The words you’ll soon hear should come as no surprise and have led many a professional to the same conclusion.

“How can one constantly put up with rules that really don’t make any sense?” pondered Zandee. “These corporate decisions that get made at the top of the management ladder often don’t translate well for what was intended down the chain of command.” That wasn’t all. Another common refrain made it to his list of grievances. “It was meeting after meeting after meeting,” Jim remembers. “Sometimes, it felt like a meeting was called just to set up the next round of meetings. It kept adding up—and this is before I got tired of the boom-bust downsizing exercises, not to mention the commute. And I’ve always felt like an independent go-getter, so this was no longer working for me,” said Zandee. “Finally, I took Nike’s advice to ‘Just Do It.’”

Through a referral from a friend, Jim was introduced to Mark Cory, a FranNet consultant. Together, they dove into the franchise investigative process. Initial assessments rated Zandee’s risk-taking and entrepreneurial aptitude at the 95th percentile—a positive sign! “Based on my interests and skill set, Mark presented me with four franchising options. I vetted each of them all like crazy,” said Jim. “One stood out—CertaPro Painters.” Zandee would go on to list the factors that made this brand’s model a good fit for his new title as a business owner. “The franchise operations and support looked sound and it was clear they were an ethical company. All 12 of the current owners that I called rated CertaPro an A”. 

You have to remember that, being a CPA, I have inside knowledge of what’s needed to establish a company’s well-being from a financial standpoint. They really did have a carefully planned roadmap to lead franchisees to success. In fact, the business model was so well done, I came to think of them as a successful marketing company that just so happens to offer commercial and residential painting services.”

Zandee was also impressed with the territorial growth potential that came with his new CertaPro Painters franchise. Years later, that potential was fully revealed. CertaPro Painters has certain revenue benchmarks, all calculated using years of data and predictive analysis. Within three years, Zandee had topped a million in revenue – and last year – year six – his team topped $2 million. His business growth for revenue was the highest total and the first-ever such numbers for Michigan that CertaPro Painters have ever recorded. And Zandee still has enough time left over to conduct rigorous training sessions with his son, both of whom enjoy cycling.

Who wouldn’t want a life like this? Being your own boss, setting your own schedule, and being responsible for your own earning potential? Jim Zandee gives a great deal of credit to Mark Cory at FranNet for getting him started. “In my opinion, FranNet really focuses on what an individual’s skill set can accomplish. Everyone is different and has different wants, needs, and goals—myself included. But even more—you get a sense that FranNet truly cares about you.”

Mark Cory and Jim Zandee remain friends to this day and they stay in touch frequently. That’s easy to do when FranNet’s consultants both live and work in the areas where they consult. Recently, Cory needed his own house painted. 

Sufficed to say, he didn’t need to research any Yelp reviews to select a reputable contractor to get the job done right.

For more information, please visit Jim Zandee’s franchise page on the CertaPro Painters website.

May 14, 2020