Starting A Franchise And Expanding Through Vertical Integration With Zackary Lease

On this episode of the Franchise Secrets Podcast, Erik is joined by Zackary Lease, owner of several Board & Brush franchise locations, to talk about his journey into franchising. Zack discusses how he went from selling things as a teen to co-owning a business with his father before jumping head-first into franchising with his wife.

Thinking smarter and growing faster with vertical integration

By looking for opportunities and making the most of them, what started as a single location quickly turned to three and another business for Zack. He expanded his franchise thanks to his own success and taking the opportunity to buy out a struggling location. But by thinking about vertical integration and how he could offer value, Zack opened up another business as a vendor to his own franchisor, growing that quickly as well.

Listen to Erik and Zack talk about franchise expansion and vertical integration:

  • Introduction
  • Zack’s background (0:38)

Erik introduces Zack and previews his interesting story

  • How the Franchise Mastermind has been helpful (1:28)

Zack believes the Franchise Mastermind has been able to help him simply by hearing everyone’s story and how all the different brands and people are scaling things. He thinks it’s helped broaden his understanding of the different areas of the franchise industry.

  • Zack’s start in business and franchising (3:02)

Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, Zack got his start in business by selling used items while traveling for his skateboard contests before getting involved with his grandfather and father building custom homes. Zack’s start in franchising came after a paint-and-sip date night with his wife with a brand-new franchisor.

  • Franchise expansion (10:02)

With the franchisor looking to expand near his area, Zack took the opportunity to add more locations and expand his franchise business. Shortly later, a failing franchise became available and Zack once again took the opportunity to grow again. Erik and Zack talk about why he decided to grow so fast and where others in his area failed.

  • Employee infrastructure and business hierarchy (14:35)

Erik takes a closer look at how Zack’s business is set up from an employee standpoint. From the studio managers running each location to event instructors and customer assistants, Zack breaks down how the business works and each employee’s role in the process.

  • Becoming a franchisor vendor (19:15)

With the franchise based around painting wooden signs, boxes, players, and other goods; some things needed to be assembled before a customer arrived. Once things got too busy as the franchise expanded, Zack turned to his grandfather and father for assistance, turning a garage into a woodshop. Zack realized that if he was having this problem, other franchisees must be as well, so he turned it into yet another business venture.

  • What’s next? (24:42)

Erik wants to know what Zack’s goals and focuses are in the new year for the franchise. After scaling back on expansion plans due to COVID-19, Zack is looking to open a fourth location and expanding the vendor side of the business in 2021.

  • Vertical integration (27:35)

In the new year, Zack is looking to help new franchisees get started quicker and cheaper by offering some of the start-up services and goods himself. Using Everbowl’s Jeff Fenster as an example, Erik dives into talking about vertical integration as a way to improve Zack’s businesses.

  • Advice on buying an existing location (32:55)

One of the ways of finding value in franchising is to buy out an underperforming location. Erik and Zack talk about some of the critical issues for those people who are looking at buying an existing franchise location. Zack offers some advice based on his own experiences, including retraining employees.


Franchise Secrets - Website

Franchise Secrets - Facebook group

Subscribe to Franchise Secrets on: