Express Employment Professionals
Fast-growing Express Employment Professionals plans for future growth.
By Kat Zeman, Knighthouse Media
Bill Stoller is in the people business. People are his company’s biggest assets. They are people who help other people find jobs.
They are the reason Express Employment Professionals has blossomed into a fast-growing franchise with more than 800 locations throughout the United States, Canada and South Africa. Last year, those people were responsible for employing more than 566,000 other people and generating roughly $3.56 billion in sales.
“Our people have servants’ hearts,” says Stoller, the company’s CEO. “Our people and our culture are very important to us.”
Based in Oklahoma City, Express is an Entrepreneur Franchise 500 company, was named one of Forbes’ Best Franchises to Buy and landed on Staffing Industry Analyst’s Largest Global Staffing Firms list.
The staffing industry as a whole continues to be one of the fastest growing industries in the United States and Express is growing with it. One of the company’s long-term goals is to put a million people to work annually. Another centers around growth.
“We recently set a huge goal of becoming a $5.5 billion company by 2025,” Stoller says. “I have developed six initiatives to help us reach that goal.”
The Power of Six
When Stoller decided to develop the six initiatives, he wanted them to help guide the company into the future and serve as tools for success.
He came up with plans for the following: leadership succession, efficiency, strategic planning, technology, protecting the company’s culture and empowerment.
Although each one is important, empowering the company’s people and protecting its culture deserve special mention. Over the last few years, Express has been focused on developing its Express Leadership Academy.
“It’s about training franchise owners how to be better leaders,” Stoller says. “Starting next year, we will have a leadership program for their managers as well.”
To recognize and empower its associates, Express has developed an annual Employee of the Year awards program. Five associates are chosen to attend the company’s International Leadership Conference (ILC), where one of them is awarded the National Employee of the Year award.
Last year, that honor went to James Michael, who was initially awarded $1,000 from Express as the Employee of the Year winner for his region, eventually winning $5,000 as the overall winner, plus an all-inclusive trip valued at more than $2,000.
“Our associates are very important to us,” Stoller says. “The Employee of the Year ceremony is one of my favorite parts of ILC, because we get to showcase the amazing employees who work for Express and the franchise owners that invest in them.”
Another element of Express’ company culture is giving back to the communities it serves. Between 2013 and 2017, franchisees were encouraged to partner with local food banks to help end hunger as part of Brand It Blue Day. During that time, Express staff, associates, clients, friends and families provided nearly 600,000 meals through food drives, monetary collections and countless volunteer hours.
Realizing its franchisees had passions for numerous causes – from hunger and education to homeless animals and senior citizens – Brand It Blue Day evolved into the Brand It Blue Initiative. This year-long, expanded philanthropic effort encourages franchisees to partner with nonprofit organizations of their choice.
“We believe deeply in giving back to the communities that we’re a part of,” Stoller adds. “The Brand It Blue Initiative is a way for our franchisees to give back to their communities.”
Investing in Express
Entrepreneurs wishing to open an Express Employment Professionals franchise must have between $150,000 to $250,000 in liquid assets, depending on location.
The company charges a franchise fee of $35,000 per location and collects an ongoing royalty fee of 8 percent of sales and an ad fund charge that ranges from .5 to 1 percent. The average Express office ranges between 1,000 and 1,500 square feet and its staff includes the owner, plus two to four employees.
“It’s a relatively low cost to get into our business,” Stoller says. “Four weeks of payroll can add up to a large number, so that’s a big help. And once you build your business, you have a recurring income that comes in every week because you are constantly putting people to work on assignment.”
The company has an extensive operational support network for its franchisees, which includes managing accounts receivable. Beyond that, Express offers multi-step marketing campaigns, sales training, public relations assistance and annual regional and international training events, as well as continuing education for staff and owners via the company’s Express University online.
“One of the things we’re proud of is our Express e-learning training program, which is a part of Express University,” Stoller says. “They go through a litany of online training programs, which we developed from scratch and make constant improvements.”
Founded in 1983, Express employs more than 566,000 annually people across more than 800 franchise locations worldwide.