Excelling in Male-Dominated Industries: Stories from Women in Franchising


Finding a career that offers both flexibility in work schedule and financial security is difficult to obtain in any industry. Franchising is uniquely one of the few sectors that offer the ability to operate a self-owned business and provides the resources necessary for success – which is favorable to anyone who may be juggling any number of family or non-work-related priorities. Owning and operating your own business can yield certain benefits for individuals looking for a way to live a more balanced life.




As such, the franchising industry has seen an increase in women interested in pursuing ownership opportunities over the past few years. With a national uptick in the demand for home services, there has been a unique opportunity for brands such as ours. Regardless of background or skillset, those who have a passion for serving others and are looking for a rewarding career with the ability to have a lifestyle with more freedom and control over their future, can find a home and happiness in a service-based franchise. Many women find strength in networks and support groups that help them gain industry insights to excel in their line of work. While there are many benefits to service-based franchising, operating a small business of any kind is not easy. Running a successful and profitable franchise takes exceptional skill and determination to achieve your goals.

To help address some of these challenges, BELFOR Franchise Group (BFG) and their accompanying brands provide strong networking opportunities, viable resources, and ongoing technical training so that female franchisees can continue to build their skills and make their footprint. Operating under the established BFG umbrella, BFG owners get the support of a reputable brand with numerous franchises across the U.S. and the globe.

For women who are thinking about opening a franchise or have just started on their entrepreneurial path, here are a few women in the BFG network who found success in franchising.

Eleanor Brown, apprentice at Z PLUMBERZ of North America  

With just under a year of experience in the plumbing industry, Eleanor already considers Z PLUMBERZ her new home. Having worked various odd jobs since she was 16, Eleanor is no stranger to rolling her sleeves up and learning on the job. Through the Z PLUMBERZ apprenticeship program, Eleanor joins a journeyman plumber on their jobs for the day, assisting when necessary. The projects and work vary from day to day, so Eleanor gets a variety of hands-on experiences throughout each week.

Having come in with limited mechanical plumbing knowledge, Eleanor has quickly moved through the ranks in her program as one of the top apprentices, and the only woman in her class. She is commended for the proactiveness and attention to detail that she brings into the workplace. When asked what her secret to success is, Eleanor points to the unparalleled support system at Z PLUMBERZ. “My supervisors let me and other apprentices have a say in what we’re most interested in and want to work on,” she says, “The journeyman we’re assigned to provides as much work as we are willing and able to handle, and they mold the training experience to what each apprentice is most interested in.” For any woman looking to enter the plumbing industry, Eleanor says that an apprenticeship is a great and smart way to start that journey. “It’s a lot of hard work, but if you’re motivated and have a passion for the trades, this type of program can open all the doors for you.”


Lauren Culver, owner of DUCTZ of the Houston Bay Area

Lauren had worked for her father, who previously owned the Texas franchise, and gained hands-on guidance from him and their team of technicians. Prior to supporting her father in his business, Lauren had no experience in the HVAC maintenance industry but was given more responsibilities over time, including business development, business operations, and financial decisions.

After five years as a technician, Lauren worked her way up to the position of vice president of operations. She then took ownership of the franchise to let her father enjoy retirement. Lauren credits her position with DUCTZ to giving her financial security and the flexibility to spend time with her two young sons. “As a single mother of two children, becoming a DUCTZ franchise owner enabled me to firmly establish my career path and provide a secure future for my children,” she says.

Sarah Peter, co-owner of The Patch Boys of Northeast Indianapolis

Sarah co-owns the franchise with her husband, Kevin, which they opened together in 2021. With her prior business experience and his experience in the trades, Sarah and Kevin always knew they wanted to put their heads together to own and build a business that their two sons could ultimately run one day. While they were researching potential businesses to buy, franchising with The Patch Boys seemed to be the perfect fit in terms of price range, profitability and business support.

When asked what makes her business different, Sarah points to the unique skills that the women in the company bring to the table. “Women have the ability to put a customer’s mood at ease,” says Sarah, “I think many people are pleasantly surprised when they learn that there is a woman at the head of a drywall repair company – I always get asked ‘Shouldn’t you be called The Patch Girls?’ – but I think as more women continue to join the industry, we can reshape the idea of what a traditional franchise owner looks like.” 

As more women seek entrepreneurial opportunities, they must be confident in sharing the value and expertise they can bring to the franchising industry. While starting a business is not for everyone, female franchisees can bring a unique background and diverse skillset that works for themselves and their employees. A strong foundation of knowledge and resources as well as support from other franchisees will help any woman start and run an effective and profitable franchise.


Melanie Parker is a Senior Vice President at BELFOR Franchise Group, a leading name in restoration and services franchise opportunities which operates franchises including 1-800 WATER DAMAGE, Chem-Dry, , DUCTZ, HOODZ, The Patch Boys, 1-800-BOARDUP, Blue Kangaroo Packoutz, N-Hance, and ZPLUMBERZ. For more information on BELFOR Franchise Group, visit https://www.belforfranchisegroup.com.