Money Mailer franchisee review: Janet Galati of Chain O’ Lakes, IL

A mother who wanted more time with her young children found the perfect franchise in Money Mailer. Now facing three college tuitions, it’s still the perfect money-making franchise.

Janet Galati had a plan when she first started her northern Illinois Money Mailer franchise. She’d had a successful career in advertising sales for 10 years, and when the opportunity arose in 2004 to buy a Money Mailer, she and her husband at the time thought it was a great idea. She was a mother of three, and the flexible hours allowed her to ferry kids to and from school and extracurricular activities.

But over the years, things changed. When Galati divorced and became a single mom of three college-bound kids, she had to change her game plan. She went from a modest territory of five zones (50,000 homes) to an expanded area of 16 zones (160,000 homes), with an eye toward selling them as she needed to in order to pay for all that tuition. Her plan paid off. This is her story.

How did you come across Money Mailer?
I was working for a local shopper called The Advertiser, and one of my very few competitors in the area was Money Mailer. The franchise owner and I were both at a bank at the same time and he walked up to me and he said, “Will you please buy me out?” He was just looking to get out of the field. I went home and talked to my husband, and we decided that I had worked for other people long enough and it was time for me to be out on my own and make us some money.

What was it that you liked about the company once you started to investigate Money Mailer?
What I liked about Money Mailer the most was that I knew that my clients were going to get a good response. By putting advertising in the mail, I knew that people were going to have to open it. People go to their mailbox every single day, so it was a good way for me to get the messages of my local businesses into the hands of people.

Now that you’ve been an entrepreneur for a long time, what do you like best about owning a Money Mailer?
Owning a Money Mailer franchise really changed my life because it was no longer a 9-to-5 job. It was me being able to make appointments any time I needed. I’m a single mother of three children so I have to get up early in the morning and get the children off to school. I need to be able to pick them up in the afternoon from school. I need to be able to take them to appointments and I still need to fit in a 40- to 50-hour week. I’m able to do that now without the 9-to-5, and I’m able to make a lot of money doing it.

Money Mailer envelope in red, white and blue shows a picture of a slice of pizza being pulled from a whole pie. The envelope is addressed to Our Friends, Any Street, Anytown, USA 90001. It says across the top: "Money Mailer: Like Getting Money in Your Mailbox."

The ideal Money Mailer envelope prominently features something delicious from a local restaurant. Time has shown that consumers are more likely to open envelopes displaying food.

Tell me a little bit about your array of clients.
Honestly, what I’ve done to get a good consumer envelope is stuff it with food. What a good envelope really needs is a large array of food, because those are the No. 1 used coupons. Then I put the hair salon, I put a nail salon, I put an oil change, I put a dry cleaner – all of the things that people are looking for, because if you do that, all the rest of your customers – your dentists and your home improvement people – are all going to get a better response.

What I’ve done is I’ve filled my envelope with local businesses and I really help them – I help their business grow.

How does Money Mailer’s headquarters help you? What are some of the valuable ways that they support you as a business owner?
One of the reasons that I wanted to buy into a franchise instead of going off on my own and starting my own direct mail company is that I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel all the time. Money Mailer has marketing. Money Mailer has a CRM we can use. Money Mailer helps us in such a large variety of ways that I don’t have to reinvent the wheel, and when there is a problem there’s somebody there to help me.

What characteristics have helped you succeed with Money Mailer?
One of the things that drives me as a salesperson and has really made me succeed is my persistence. I am not one of those people who comes in and badgers, but I never go away.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I wake up between 5 and 6 o’clock in the morning and I start getting my kids ready. I have to drive one to school. I come home, get the other one up and I start doing paperwork and emailing. I then make some phone calls between 7:30 and 9 a.m. and I’m on the road until 2 p.m. I’m on the road every day of the week, Monday through Friday, for five hours. That is the only way I’ve been able to be successful.

You can sit in the office and be overwhelmed by paperwork, but that is always going to be there. It’s there at 9 o’clock at night when you have nothing else that you want to do. It’s still going to be sitting there, but people are not going to be in their businesses at 10 o’clock at night. My day is filled with making appointments, seeing people in person, cold calling, telemarketing, going over lists and invoicing, and all of that is outside of the normal 9 to 3 o’clock time period.

Tell me about your zones that you have and how you might like to grow your franchise.
I started out small, with five zones. Grew to six, went to eight, doubled it to 16, and each of those zones has 10,000 homes. What I have found over the years is I am most comfortable between seven and eight zones. Currently I’m at 10 zones. Three years ago, there was an area that I had the opportunity to take over, which I did. I worked it for a couple of years, turned around, sold it and made a profit, and I am now back to 10 zones. I am looking right now at possibly selling a few of those zones so that I don’t have to work so hard, and I can go deeper and make more money in the fewer zones that I have.

What is it like to have other franchisees right near your territories?
Working with other franchisees that are near you is very valuable. I like to say that we all play nice in the sandbox, because according to our franchise agreement we’re allowed to sell anywhere. We have maintained, at least in the Chicago area, a very good working relationship where we don’t intentionally step on each other’s toes, and we celebrate when people land big accounts that could be anybody’s.

There’s always competition, but we work together because that grows the whole of everyone’s business. The more valuable each person’s franchise is, the more valuable it’ll be when you eventually go to exit.

What is it about Money Mailer that makes you think this business will be around for another 20 years?
The reason I think Money Mailer is such a viable business is that our delivery system is through the mail. It is what makes us. In every home, every day, there is something called the “mail moment.” If you sit there and think about it, who gets the mail in your household? You can answer that question, right? When do they usually go to the mailbox? Can you answer that question? Not only when, but where the mail is put in your house when it’s brought in. If you can answer all these questions, Money Mailer’s not going anywhere.

What is important for a prospective candidate to know?
The thing about Money Mailer that I have found to be the most valuable is the strength of the senior staff here. The senior staff at Money Mailer is available on a call. You can reach the CEO. You can reach the CFO. Any time you reach out, in 24 hours or less you have an answer. If you’re able to reach the CEO and the CFO and they’re able to get back to you in 24 hours or less and you’re able to call on anybody in the company and they immediately react to your question, it’s a company you can go with. Money Mailer goes above and beyond that.

Knowing what you know now, if you were starting out again today, would you still become a Money Mailer franchisee?
The only thing that I would do differently is purchase it a lot earlier than I did.

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