By: Don Ruane Special to The News-Press
There’s a gaping hole in the fencing business and Blase Bisceglia wants to plug it with franchised versions of his Port-Charlotte-based Fence Dynamics. Fence Dynamics is a 10-year old company that does about half of its annual business in Lee and Collier counties. It installs all kinds of fencing from Venice to Marco Island and east to Arcadia, said Bisceglia who started the business as Rhino Fence and Rail. He rebranded the business, however, after discovering a trademark using “Rhino” and “fence” while preparing to offer franchises.
“I want to do this nationwide. I had to rebrand,” Bisceglia said. “I just went to market about six weeks ago. I have candidates who are interested. My goal in the first year is to have 12 franchises sold.” The demand for fencing is there, according to a November 2014 report by the Freedonia Group of Cleveland, an industry market research group since 1985.
The U.S. demand could reach $9 billion by 2018. A rebounding home construction industry is pushing the growth. Also, the demand in nonresidential building construction is expected to reach $2.3 billion. With franchise sales comes the creation of jobs, said Bisceglia, who employs 10 others in his fencing business and who has five workers in his main business – Tarpon Bay Construction. He estimates he’ll need sales and administrative staff when his franchise effort grows.
Bisceglia is a general contractor, more specifically a carpenter, who once worked as a superintendent and as a vice president for U.S. Homes before he roamed into the fence business.
“I was building a pet resort in Venice,” Bisceglia recalled. “The lady asked me if I could do this fence for her. It was a chain-link fence.” He liked it enough to get some signs and plant them where people could see them. “People started calling. They wanted fences,” he said. Which was somewhat surprising since he started his fencing work as the Great Recession began to break like powerful waves across the country. People probably were looking for privacy and security, he said. Eventually he wanted to expand the business.
“I Googled up franchising for fencing and there was nobody out there,” Bisceglia. He connected with iFranchise of Chicago, which agreed to prepare him to launch the enterprise. The franchise consultant examined his planning, budget, territory, marketing plan and helped him create an operations manual for franchisees.
“There’s a protocol for everything. I didn’t realize a lot of things were flawed,” he said. Potential franchisees will undergo a similar review process to determine their passion for fencing and their financing. Franchising is a financial commitment. The Fence Dynamics website says the initial investment for a single start-up location is between $110,900 and $154,100, including an initial franchise fee of $30,000. The agreement with Fence Dynamics also involves a royalty, technology fee and a marketing fee.
Their ability to do the work up to Fence Dynamics standards also will be examined, said Bisceglia, who said his motto is “Better product, better service.” Fence Dynamics does do good work, according to Louis Smith, who has a vinyl fence installed by the company at his Cape Coral home.
“They did an excellent job. We are satisfied customers,” Smith said. He encouraged people to carefully read the paperwork involved in such work. Fence Dynamics emerged out of Rhino after the trademark issue was discovered. Fence Dynamics also is the fence installer for 12 Home Depot stores in Southwest Florida, as well as about a half dozen Lowe’s stores.
Bisceglia exercises his own quality control by doing only a few fence projects at a time. He worries about overextending himself and going into debt, he said. The economy is improving, but historically there are upturns and downturns to prepare for, Bisceglia said. “It’s what you make of it. In my world it’s good. I see people spending money, but people are still conservative about how they are spending,” he said. “You have to adapt to the economy that is out there.”