Name: Naresh Bhatt; Country of Origin: India; Immigrated to US: 1993; Franchise Name: The UPS Store; Launched: 2007; Franchises Owned: 8; Estimated Annual Revenue: $4million: Jobs Created: 40
Sometimes the worst thing that happens turns out to be one of the best. After 12 years with his employer, Naresh Bhatt lost his well-paying job during a corporate downsizing, but used the setback to build his own multi-million dollar business which now employs 40 people.
Naresh Bhatt was a computer science teacher in Mumbai India who also worked with large American corporations such as Proctor and Gamble and Apple. Life was good, but recruiters promised him an even better life in America. So, in 1993, he migrated to the United States with his wife Bansri on H1B visas to work Seattle’s growing tech sector. Then, ten years ago, Bhatt’s career was rudely interrupted by a company-wide downsizing. “Even if you work hard, you can be laid off, through no fault of your own,” says Bhatt. “I had worked there for a long time, so I was very upset and angry at first.”
In fact, the timing couldn’t have been worse. In 2007, the economy was being roiled by the financial crisis. So Bhatt’s job prospects didn’t look good. He consider a real estate career, but it required a great deal of ready cash and the subprime loan scandal had made it risky. Bhatta had some savings and obtained a home equity line of credit through his bank, so he decided to look into franchises.
Joining The UPS Store as a Franchisee
Bhatt explains: “I was sold on franchises because their concepts had already been tested, plus they do marketing for you, and provide support, which is very important because modern business is very complex.” After looking around, he decided to buy two UPS Stores.
Why The UPS Store? “Everyone has urgent situations,” he says. “Checks have to be sent overnight because a payment has been missed, or a deal must be closed. Important items like car keys and mobile phones get lost and need to be replaced, and legal documents also need to be sent quickly and securely.”
The two UPS Stores that Bhatt purchased were located in downtown Seattle. Although other, cheaper locations were available, Bhatt saw advantages in being downtown in the midst of small businesses who needed document and shipping services. In fact one of the stores was near the courthouse, so it did a brisk business handling legal documents for lawyers. Not surprisingly, most of his clients at these two stores came were professionals and small business people.
The UPS Store Investment Costs
- Initial Investment: $177,955 – $402,595*
- Net Worth Requirement: $150,000
- Liquid Cash Requirement: $60,000 – $100,000
- Initial Franchise Fee: $29,950
- Ongoing Royalty Fee: 5%
- Ad Royalty Fee: 2.5%
- Marketing Royalty Fee 1%
*range determined by store size, local real estate and build out costs
Expanding His Business Within The UPS Store
Bhatt grew his business, by exploring additional niches. The UPS Store had created concepts to address specific customer needs, such as “special venue” stores situated in hotels and convention centers, and Bhatt leapt at the opportunity. ” I have 3 stores in a special venues, in high-end hotels and convention centers, and we take care of the logistics, the printings for the meetings, the packages, and the palettes full of materials. A lot of goods and freight come in a short amount of time during conventions, and it needs to be handled in a very organized manner.
I would recommend The UPS Store to anybody who wants to help others, and has good customer service skills. The system is very good, it’s robust, it’s a needed service and it’s not going away”
Why UPS Stores Work for Immigrant Entrepreneurs
Bhatt’s background in IT and systems architecture has enabled him to manage these complex operations, and he gives credit to The UPS Store for having different options and opportunities which allows everyone to become successful, no matter where they come from.
“The systems allows you to do what you like the best,” explains Bhatt. “I know somebody who does not like printing, but enjoys freight and all that kind of stuff, and his store does that well. So there are many options. I would recommend The UPS Store to anybody who wants to help others, and has good customer service skills. The UPS Store system is very good, it’s robust, it’s a needed service and it’s not going away.”
Also, there is an abundance of opulence in this country,” says Bhatt. “You’ve got to live in other places to understand what the USA offers: the freedom it offers you if you’re hard working is amazing. It provides you and your family the opportunity to succeed.”
Keys to Success
These days Bhatt spends most of his time managing at the strategic level rather than behind the counter. “I’m not personally doing a lot of the hiring and running the stores on a day-to-day basis, but I do go to my stores every day.” As a certified trainer for The UPS Store, Bhatt is very involved with the training and success of his employees. With 40 employees working in his six locations, and two more under development, Bhatt understands the value of his team, and provides them with excellent benefits.
“I train them, and they can take on more responsibility,” he says, “so they can grow in their career and life. We care for our customers, we care for our brand, we care for our employees, and then everybody cares for me, you know? That’s how I put it.”
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