Chris Pereira is a true entrepreneur. In 2008, he opened CAP Solutions as a mobile detailing business, and soon after, he added commercial cleaning services in response to customer demand. Today, CAP Solutions offers detailing management services for automotive dealerships and commercial services throughout the Tri-State area.
In 2013, Pereira began to lay the groundwork of a franchise system, and in 2016, he formally launched the venture. The move is not surprising as Pereira is a visionary who has a history of excelling, with a degree in Business Administration and Geography. He spent a decade teaching and speaks Spanish, English, and Portuguese and is currently learning Chinese. While he enjoys life with his family in Connecticut, Pereira is also dedicated to his dream of helping people become business owners.
Franchise Expo: Tell us about the CAP Solutions® concept.
Chris Pereira: CAP Solutions® is a company that started as a mobile detailing business, but after some time in business, we realized that most car dealerships have trouble managing their detailing departments. With that need in mind, CAP Solutions® became the first company to offer complete onsite detailing department management services in the USA. Our approach allowed us to grow very fast, and today we're offering the opportunity to others. Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Porsche, Ford, Subaru, VW, Peterbilt, Volvo, Tesla—those are the companies that we going to work for. We are involved in a market that is booming but struggling with quality, so there's a need for the professional approach we offer.
FE: How and when did you become involved with CAP Solutions®?
CP: CAP Solutions® was born during the 2008 economic crisis. We offer two businesses that are crucial for any car dealership: detailing and cleaning. I used to manage a car care center and saw that the market needed a new business model. As with other industries, the car market changed after the 2008 economic downturn. Looking to save money and find peace of mind, car dealerships started to outsource their detailing department, and CAP Solutions was created to meet that demand. Today, after seven years on the market, CAP Solutions has the knowledge and experience necessary for managing any size car dealership in the USA.
FE: What was your background prior to joining CAP Solutions®?
CP: I view myself as a born entrepreneur, and I drew on my experience as a teacher, business administrator, owner, writer and college director and decided to invest in something for myself and for others. I'm not afraid of trying new things and have a vision of the future, so I decided open a business and show customers how easy it is to work with CAP Solutions.
FE: What are some of the advantages of being a CAP Solutions® franchisee?
CP: It’s a low-cost investment with an easy-to-learn system. Franchisees have pre-established supply lines and vendors, and it's a turnkey business model with a sophisticated corporate image and brand awareness.
Most importantly, as a CAP Solutions® franchisee, you will have a market that is looking for your help. Dealerships countrywide are asking for the help we offer. They are always looking for somebody reliable to take care of their detailing department and cleaning services, and we're positioned to give them what they need.
FE: Who is your ideal franchisee?
CP: The ideal franchisee is someone who isn't afraid to try new things or of hard work or failure and wants to be his or her own boss. Our ideal franchisee has no problems washing a bathroom while managing the business and is incredibly motivated.
FE: Can you tell us a little about the automotive industry?
CP: CAP Solutions® is in the multi-billion dollar automotive industry. We work directly with car dealerships such as Mercedes, Audi, Porsche Tesla, Subaru, Volvo, Peterbilt, Ford, VW, BMW, Nissan, Honda, Toyota and many more. The market is huge, and the necessity for the services we offer is as well. After a dealership tries our services, they will stick with us for long time.
We are an experienced brand, and we show confidence in our visits to dealerships. When they give us the chance to work with them, we're responsible for keeping their business, something we've managed to do very well so far.
FE: What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?
CP: When we decided to turn our business into a franchise system, we used the right approach, spending two years setting up the system. We created new procedures, an accurate detailing department layout, a comprehensive manual, a completely functional website, positive cash flow and an effective training system.
Walmart, for seven years, only had two stores. Nike took years to make their first million. CAP Solutions® decided to follow the same plan, making sure everything ran perfectly and smoothly before bringing partners in. Now, CAP Solutions® is ready to go.
The only question left is our franchisees. Owning a business is not an easy task as it involves even more time, energy and dedication than working for someone else, but it's also very rewarding, giving the franchisees the kind of personal satisfaction they may not have encountered in other jobs.
FE: Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?
CP: I believe playing it safe can be more dangerous than taking risks. I've met a lot of great people and other entrepreneurs, and I've learned a lot from them. But my main mentors are my customers as they show me exactly what I need to do to build a strong business. I'm looking forward to evolving my business and building stronger relationships across the board.
FE: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a franchise?
CP: With franchise sales, I find that my biggest challenge is not finding people to buy the business—the investment is low—but finding people with the right attitude and mindset.
A franchise with a low investment opens the doors to people who have never started a business before, but those who try to jump from worker to owner have a higher chance of failure. Workers have false beliefs about what it means to be an owner and how it is to be an owner. Identifying and correcting those misconceptions makes a huge difference.
I'll try to clarify what I mean about a worker mindset versus an owner mindset. Even an experienced worker can fall into this trap, so it's pretty important. Some of the main misconceptions workers have about being an owner are that they won't have to work anymore; they will become rich fast; and they will no longer have a boss.
None of that is true. Hard work is the mark of a successful owner. There will be times that, even with 24 hours a day, you won't be able to get everything done. But you don't have to work yourself sick; the key here is discipline. Do what needs to be done, no matter what time of the day or week it is. You have to stick to your to-do list and get used to doing what other people don't want to do. If you're not committed, the price you'll pay will be very high.
As for getting rich fast, around 75 percent of small businesses in the USA do around $50,000 annually in revenue, and around 70 percent of all businesses opened in the country close their first year. Just a simple Google search will show you how many poor owners are out there, owners who don't pay off debts in a timely manner. You have to think of the long-term as an owner because it usually takes around five years to get returns on your business investment.
Your boss is now your customer base, and they can be just as demanding and unlikable as your bosses in traditional jobs at times. Your customer is everything, and even if you don't feel it occasionally, you still have to show that so your employees behave accordingly.
However, you still have more control in a franchise than you usually do a traditional job, so if you're ready, make sure your mindset is in the owner space.
FE: In your opinion, why do you think that CAP Solutions® would be a great opportunity for someone?
CP: CAP Solutions® is an opportunity for passionate people who just haven't had the courage or chance to go out on their own. But now is the time. Low investment, ongoing support, advice from the franchiser, a huge market in need of the services that we offer, and two businesses in one franchise package.