Over 14 years ago, Jose & Daly del Llano opened Creative Colors International in Central Florida. What started as a quest for personal freedom quickly developed into a thriving business that supports four mobile repair and restoration units. We had the chance to talk with Jose and learn from his experiences.
What was the catalyst for deciding to own a Creative Colors International (CCI) franchise?
I was searching for something where my success or failure would be based on my own desire and ambition. I knew that owning a business meant that I would be able to create something that was driven by the amount of time and effort that I put into it.
What were the things that most attracted you to CCI? Why not a different franchise?
There were a few reasons. First was the break-even point on the investment. That was a big draw for me. Second, I truly felt like repair and restoration services are something that anyone can need, so I knew that I’d be able to build a business through Creative Colors.
On the personal side, I was excited about the fact that I’d be able to work indoors and outdoors depending on what the job was. The variety of work was appealing.
How did the decision impact your lifestyle?
It gave me freedom! Suddenly, I was able to choose my work hours. I had grown tired of having to get permission to go to the doctor or go on vacation, but as a business owner, I didn’t have to do that any longer.
How was the transition to working for yourself?
Much easier than I’d expected. Before this, I had always worked for someone else and was able to rely on getting a paycheck on a regular basis, so I was nervous about that change. Fortunately, that wasn’t ever an issue for me. In fact, I was able to earn $750 in my first week! Fourteen years later, I’ll say the investment has been better than any 401k!
Do you remember your first repair job?
I do! It was a door panel on a BMW. It was a great first challenge because it was a high-end vehicle and I really wanted to make sure it was perfect! Sure enough, the training paid off and it went flawlessly.
What experience or training was required to start your CCI franchise?
My background in the army taught me that, to be a good leader, you must be a good follower. I carried this idea into training with me. I knew that by following the leaders in the franchise system, I’d learn exactly what to do and how to do it well.
The training program is substantial. I spent two weeks at Creative Colors International headquarters in Mokena, Illinois, in a formal classroom setting where we had hands-on training for all of the repairs. In the third week, we learned about operations and business management. Then, in the fourth week, you actually have your opening and work in the field with a Field Manager who helps you get up and running.
What is it like working with other franchisees?
It’s a family-owned business, so right from the start it’s a very relaxed, but businesslike, atmosphere. That sets the tone for your whole experience. We meet annually at the seminar and everyone really gets to know one another. We call on one another for help and advice — this includes owners and technicians. We have some very skilled technicians in the field who are more than happy to help answer any technical question.
What tips can you offer to someone who is considering the Creative Colors franchise?
There are two paradigms that I rely on and share with my team all the time. First, “dreams and wishes are only that, unless you put them into action.” It’s my quote and to me it means that a lot of people envision being their own boss and dream of owning a business, but haven’t done anything to achieve that.
The second goes along with that — if you haven’t done one action item today to fulfill that wish, it will always be a wish.
Any last words?
Well, this is more personal to me, but I believe that I am happy to be me when I make other people happy. I encourage everyone to help others and see how that makes you feel. I am fortunate that, through Creative Colors, I’ve been able to build a lifestyle that allows me to be true to that sentiment.