Bend security business grows by franchising

Company has franchises in three states, Washington, D.C.

By Rachael Rees / The Bulletin

Patrol Services International, a Bend-based private security company, has signed a franchise agreement to provide security services in Washington, D.C.

“Now that we have a foundation and a proven concept, we can take the company nationally and internationally to a larger scale,” said Nick Thompson, CEO and founder.

Thompson, a retired police officer with more than 10 years of patrol experience, started Patrol Services International in Central Oregon in 2005. Its concept is to prevent crime by having a uniformed presence at locations such as hospitals, colleges, apartment buildings and malls.

“Our focus is really offering a client high-visibility patrol, with a marked vehicle and a uniformed, armed officer who has prior police or military service,” he said.

In 2011, the company started franchising, and as of today has sold the rights to 19 franchises in Georgia, Florida, Ohio, and Washington D.C. The company employs about 30 people in Central Oregon and around 100 throughout the country. And in January, Thompson expects to open another corporate office in Austin, Texas.

Roger Lee, executive director of Economic Development for Central Oregon, said when a local company becomes a franchiser, it brings new wealth into the region.

Thompson said Patrol Services International is ready to continue its growth, but needs capital for expansion.

Franchise expert Blair Nicol agreed the biggest challenge in expanding franchises is typically money.

“Franchisers usually have the urge to grow fast and far, but soon realize how expensive it can be to properly support their franchisees in distant areas, much less go international,” wrote Nicol, president and owner of FranNet for the Pacific Northwest and Southern California — a company that helps potential franchise owners find the right franchise.

Nicol said it usually takes years for a company selling franchises to get to the point where royalties support operations. Therefore, they have to be properly capitalized from the beginning or seek outside funding to support operations as they grow and add franchisees.

Nicol suggests businesses wishing to franchise grow regionally first, then nationally. Expanding overseas, he said, can be more difficult because of the different laws, currencies and languages, in additional to travel costs and time. But if successful, he said, it can lead to large franchise fees and possible added revenue streams.

Thompson said he expanded east because that’s where he experienced demand. Patrol Services is profitable, he said, but the next step is to find a strategic partner to help increase advertising efforts that could lead to further expansion. The company is experiencing interest from potential investors.

“There’s a lot of opportunity overseas for very large contracts for private security,” he said. “There are benefits to getting bigger and having a national, and maybe an international presence some day. That’s the goal.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7818,

rrees@bendbulletin.com

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