By J. Andrew Mengason

Economic uncertainty can create opportunities for insightful entrepreneurs. No one looks forward to financial disruption, but some businesses are better designed to perform consistently regardless of economic shifts.

Business owners who are prepared for turbulence can position their recession-resilient companies to continue providing essential services for their customers, even during times of economic stress. Meeting the needs of your community not only keeps revenue coming in, it also builds trust and establishes lasting relationships that will serve as the foundation for future stability and growth.

Recession-resilient businesses deliver services and products that customers need. Homeowners may try to conserve energy during an economic crunch, but they can’t have the gas or electric service turned off. Consumers might dine out less frequently and trim their grocery budgets, but they still have to feed their families.

Companies providing services like this can survive and even thrive when other businesses falter. For customers, recession-resilient products and services are a fixed expense, not a discretionary one.

Utilities, transportation, and food are obvious examples; home maintenance, repair and improvement services have also proven to perform well during downturns, for multiple reasons:

If people are spending less on travel and entertainment, they’re in their homes more often. Minor issues such as leaks, water damage and noisy HVAC systems that might escape their attention can become more urgent priorities if you experience them around the clock.

Many people choose to update, upgrade or expand their current homes rather than enter an unpredictable real estate market. Kitchen and bath remodeling, home painting, design and décor and other residential services provide meaningful value as homeowners increase investment in their properties.

Emergencies still happen. Replacing a water heater, remediating damage from a flood or fire, or fighting mold buildup requires immediate attention. Even budget-conscious homeowners feel compelled to address major situations in order to prevent further damage and higher costs down the road.

Many home service business models are based on recurring revenue. Maintenance agreements provide plumbing, electrical and HVAC companies with a predictable stream of income. Lawn and pest control services typically provide annual service. With repeat customers, those businesses can count on a certain amount of revenue every year and plan accordingly.

It can be relatively simple and cost-effective for a service provider to add complementary offerings. A plumbing contractor might include bath remodeling in their portfolio of services, or a pest control company could add another seasonal service, such as lawn care or snow and ice removal. The opportunities for new revenue and growth that can be unlocked by adding complementary services can dramatically outweigh the modest investment required.

Existing business owners who want to fortify the resilience of their portfolios can consider the home service franchise business model. The franchising model can amplify the built-in benefits of home service businesses, helping them perform even more consistently and competitively in their markets.

In general, the franchise model offers many advantages over independent small businesses:

Support from the franchisor, including training, marketing, hiring and inventory support, means franchises can be quicker to open than an independent business and quicker to return their investment.

Franchises bring built-in brand awareness to the market, helping franchise owners immediately connect with their customers.

Proven franchise systems provide franchise owners with a blueprint for successful operations, mitigating the risk associated with opening and operating an independent business.

In particular, home service franchises tend to have lower initial investments and lower ongoing operating costs. With limited inventory and minimal staffing, they can be operated from home or a vehicle. That can reduce monthly overhead and save time and money identifying and negotiating the purchase or lease of a brick-and-mortar location.

These businesses can rapidly be operational and quickly begin generating revenue. Avoiding unnecessary initial expenditures and keeping ongoing costs down means you can start seeing a return on your investment more quickly and invest more back into the success of your business or portfolio.

In franchising, the franchisor and franchise owner work together for their shared benefit, and ultimately to the benefit of consumers. The resources of the franchisor provide the foundation that can help franchise owners deliver results, regardless of the broader economic factors. Franchise owners who are committed to implementing the proven franchise tools available to them build the overall value of the franchise. And finally, consumers enjoy excellent service and products along with great value – even during economic uncertainty.


J. Andrew Mengason is chief growth officer for Five Star Franchising, an innovative, growing platform of home service brands, including Five Star Bath Solutions, Gotcha Covered, Bio-One, 1-800-Packouts, Card My Yard, and Mosquito Shield. He has more than 30 years of experience in franchising and brand acquisition.