An in-house developed IT system was launched, which helps to digitize branches, introduce control at all stages of business, allows competently delegate processes and provides quality service for customers. ELLIS is involved in charitable programs and also finances sporting events.
– Maxim, why is it important for you to position yourself primarily through the business community?
– We professionally raise entrepreneurs in the field of renovation and interior design. And the environment for an entrepreneur is the most important factor. We already have 400 branches, a huge experience has been accumulated, which we develop and pass on further. Every franchisee shows constant growth: in such a community of entrepreneurs, it is impossible not to grow with results. We are often referred to as a phenomenon. What we have created in the repair and construction market and the power of the environment that we have formed are unique!
– How and for what purpose did you create the ELLIS community?
– The community arose spontaneously. After the first franchisee meeting in Dubai in December 2018, we had a very warm atmosphere. There were 93 people gathered: our franchisees and their wives. There were not only excursions, yacht trips, skydiving, but also a colossal exchange of experience between branches, networking, training, business and personal discussions. We became so close during the meeting that we didn't want to leave, just like in a children's camp.
Since then, we have already had dozens of meetings, trainings, and trips. And all of our franchisees notice that after travel and exchange of experience, they grow both in financial results and in systemic and structural indicators of their branches.
The ELLIS family has 402 branches in 92 cities, photo © franchise-ellis.ru
– How to get into the community?
– We have a closed community, only for our franchisees who bought a franchise and work according to our entrepreneurial methods.
To open a branch, it is necessary not only to have financial resources, but also to pass an interview, during which we identify the necessary skills, entrepreneurial inclinations and analyze whether this person can be the owner of a branch of the international repair and construction company ELLIS. We have a serious selection. Every month we conduct over a hundred interviews with potential franchisees, and we conclude an agreement to open a branch with only 5–20 of them.
We teach people to be entrepreneurs, think correctly, build a business, have no income ceiling, constantly develop and learn, master new sources of income, build processes, delegate, spend more time with family and loved ones, be sure to pay attention to charity, have an environmentally friendly and conscious environment, provide quality service, benefit and change the world around you for the better.
As a business model, ELLIS provides speed, saves years of experience in error checking and analysis. Community members do not need to develop, test anything, they just take ready-made methods and apply them. This is a huge savings in money, and most importantly, in nerves.
– You call your business the "No.1 franchise in the world in the field of real estate objects renovation." Why number one?
– We are number 1 in the world in terms of the number of branches. ELLIS is the largest network of repair and construction branches in the Russian Federation and the CIS. And when Gabriel from Israel joined us, we learned that we are the largest network in the world: he did the analysis before the opening. Gabriel became our master franchisee in Israel and opened four branches, only a hard lockdown in their country stopped his growth. But as soon as all restrictions are lifted, we will continue to open branches in different countries.
– What does “repair franchise” mean in general?
– A franchise is the fastest way to scale your business. It is packed with my ten years of experience in repairs and renovation, squeezing out precise actions based on my mistakes and achievements, as well as the experience of all our 400 branches. We have accumulated a vast array of entrepreneurial knowledge in our field.
Maxim Solovyov, the founder of ELLIS, photo © solovyov_maxim
– What do your franchisees get?
– Our franchisees receive ready-made techniques for the search and selection of labor:
• how to competently test specialists, foremen, teams and technical directors;
• how to motivate them competently;
• how to build financial and legal relations;
• how to find objects according to our method, mainly using offline techniques not from the Internet (this is the foundation of our branches);
• which of the customers is not worth working with;
• all stages and types of repair and construction work with all the nuances;
• all the subtleties of measuring objects and filling out measuring sheets;
• preparation for the first meeting with customers and identification of their needs;
• control of work and final delivery;
• all legal, tax, banking nuances of conducting our business, based on practice, and not on theory or speculation;
• training in entrepreneurial skills, sales and negotiations;
• study of the basics of design and work on interior design projects;
• acquaintance with the operating facilities of our franchisees;
• use for control and analysis of all processes of our own IT-system.
– What kind of support do you offer?
– We also provide all the necessary support at any stage - technical, legal, marketing, accounting, tax. We have our own express design department and an estimate department, which calculates detailed estimates for all our branches. Our franchisees will receive answers to any questions within a few minutes. Mentors help to launch a branch at the start. Our support is one of the strongest in franchising.
– And what do your end customers get - customers of repair and construction works?
– We bring civilization to the repair and construction market. Customers do not need to be foremen at their facility, do not need to quit their jobs or go on vacation to monitor the progress of work. There is no need to quarrel with your spouse over household trifles. We take care of the main questions. This is called a service. Yes, now it is also in repairs, thanks to our 400 branches, which make this area better every day.
ELLIS warehouse opening, photo © solovyov_maxim
– However, the repair services market is very competitive. Why do customers choose you?
– Service is care, attention and quality. We do not throw up problems, but take away the headaches of customers. Yes, it is believed that there is a lot of competition in the industry, but when our franchisees start working in their cities, they understand that this market works "the old-fashioned way", as it did 20-30 years ago. Almost no one makes detailed estimates for repair work, and then in the course of work the price can rise by one and a half, two, or even four times, this is a reality. Most of the work at the start is not taken into account. It is also impossible to achieve a normal report, to understand what and how much materials were used. All problems are hung up on customers: to find some rare materials, and then go to change them a few more times. During the repair period, the customer is often in complete ignorance of what exactly is being done, in what sequence and when it will end. Then the masters may simply not go to the facilities for weeks. This and much more is faced by customers in this market.
– Tell us about the standards of your company.
– According to the standards of our company, before starting work, a free measurement is carried out, the needs of customers are correctly identified, if necessary, our specialists perform express design in a few days. Then we proceed to drawing up a detailed estimate for the work, which is fixed in the contract and will not change during the repair work. We designate terms with penalties. The work is carried out by specialists with many years of experience and professional tools. Financial reports are provided every week, as well as photo and video materials with the stages of work performed. Each stage of work clearly follows the previous one. Our guys are engaged in materials, delivery, lifting, removal of construction waste, approvals with the developer and the management company. And at the end of the repair, the customer will receive cleaning and repair insurance as a gift.
Almost no one works with this approach and level of service. Therefore, it is easy for our franchisees to adapt to this market, we bring civilization, comfort and digitalization to it.
– What technologies do you use?
– We use our IT system for repairs. IT helps our affiliates digitize their business. It keeps records and control of the workforce, records of all finances - both in terms of materials and works, even cash gaps are predicted. There is a personal account for the customer, where he can at any time familiarize himself with the financial report and photo / video materials, with the progress of work. Any messengers, social networks, services are also connected. You can get an analysis not only for each object, but also create dashboards with any indicators. The most important thing is to remotely control your routine and manage your entire business.
We also set up the production of equipment that helps our partners to perform work four times faster and with better quality. These are plastering stations for 220 and 380 volts, which also bring additional profit for our branches. In the process of development, equipment for floor screed and painting works.
The ELLIS community, photo © solovyov_maxim
– How is your business growing? How do you develop it?
– We regularly introduce new tools, grope for new sub-niches. At the moment, in addition to the repair and construction franchise, we have our own production of plastering stations of various capacities, a mechanized plastering franchise, the construction of cottage settlements, a boutique of elite stretch ceilings and lighting, an online store of building materials, a complete set of finishing materials, warehouses with rough materials, design and technical department, interior design direction (including express design), lead generation of objects for repairs, IT system of our development, online training for designers. Dozens of projects are at various stages of development and testing.
The strength of our brand is growing every year. We are approached by federal suppliers. More and more designers work only with us on their projects in different cities. That is, a designer, for example, worked with our branch in one city, and when people turn to him in another, he looks for our branch there. Also, with customers: they turn to us and say that their friends worked with ELLIS in Moscow, and they need to make repairs in Voronezh or Samara.
– There are three characteristics of the company: mindfulness, sustainability and scale of thinking. Please reveal what you mean by these words.
– Mindfulness - understanding where to go, the skill of setting goals and the ability to take responsibility. Sustainability is the ability to be honest with yourself and others. The scale of thinking is not to measure the world in small rations.
– Even with the most thorough approach, the client may be dissatisfied with something. How do you solve these problems?
– Our branches carry out 1,500 repairs per month. The huge volume! Renovation implies large investments on the part of customers: they have been saving up for this apartment and repairs for years and, of course, are very worried. If there are moments, then most often from misunderstandings at some stages. Or when the customer cannot completely trust. There are times when customers consult with a neighbor or relative at some stage and get different opinions. And when we ask why they didn’t work with this “specialist”, they answer that they do not trust him to the proper extent, that he would not have coped.
Not only do you need to be a professional in repair, you also need to find a common language with any customer, be able to competently convey your point of view and gain trust. When we are contacted about a site complaint, we listen to both points of view and work with both our franchisee and the customer until the situation is resolved.
The main thing is the people with whom you are going. It is necessary to let people open up. Let them know that any goal can be achieved. And show it by personal example.
The main goal is to bring ELLIS to IPO, photo © solovyov_maxim
– If your employees described you, how would they describe you?
– I have no employees, only partners (or outsourcing). A high level of energy is often noted in me, people thank me for motivation and inspiration. It is said that there are no tasks that I cannot do easily and efficiently.
– What are you free from?
– From someone else's assessment. From the fear of failure. And from a permanent place of residence.
– You are engaged in charity work. How, to whom and how do you help?
– Our most famous project is “1000 families”. We helped low-income families and large families with food kits. This project was taken up by our entire company, and so far, we have provided humanitarian assistance to more than twenty thousand families throughout the country.
We provide targeted support to families who find themselves in a difficult life situation, when a child is ill and serious funds are needed for rehabilitation. Participated in saving the lives of children who needed urgent surgery.
We helped the homeless, did charitable repairs, supported orphanages and animal shelters, and helped to eliminate the consequences of natural disasters.
We also provide great support to sports, we hold karate, sambo, and rhythmic gymnastics competitions for children. We organize boxing tournaments. We sponsor boxers and ultimate fighting fighters (MMA, UFC, Bellator).
– You will hold your own boxing tournament together with the Boxing Federation of Krasnodar Territory in December in Krasnodar. How did boxing appear in your life?
– I was engaged in boxing for 11 years, during school time and student years, and was also a judge of competitions that were held at the KubSAU University.
At ELLIS we pay great attention to sports. One of our Krasnodar franchisees, who was also involved in boxing, offered to host a local tournament. Without hesitation, I agreed. We have collected the necessary budget, selected a site, and agreed with the Boxing Federation.
The goals of the tournament are to support athletes, to give them the opportunity to realize themselves, to popularize boxing among young people, to show an example to entrepreneurs on how to influence sports in our country.
Maxim Solovyov with his daughter Alice, photo © solovyov_maxim
– You have the opportunity to send your daughter a message to the future. What will you tell her through the magazine?
– Alice! You are the deepest person I know! You are a very sensitive, kind, real, honest, gentle, caring and purposeful girl.
It doesn't matter what profession you choose. Always remain yourself, live your desires, not others, live your life, not someone else's. You know how to be friends, take care of friendship with people.
Love, travel, enjoy life, do not worry about difficulties, they are temporary, and you will cope with everything.
Pass on your values to future generations. Always be yourself and do not follow the lead of society. You have a huge and kind heart, a wide and deep soul, strong leadership qualities, and you really enjoy creativity. Put it all together, be flexible in your thinking. It doesn't matter if you're an entrepreneur like dad, be yourself.
And know that your main project is your life, a life in which you will be happy, loved and will love!
– What message would you send yourself to the start? Or at some difficult moment in the past?
– Do not be afraid, you will succeed. Take more risks and do more.
– What do you want from yourself next?
– Take my company to an IPO. This is a global goal. I want ELLIS to be on all continents.