The Path to Business Ownership as a Pearle Vision® Licensed Operator
Forge your own optometrist career path through business ownership with Pearle Vision’s operational support and systems
With Pearle Vision operations, support and systems like our supply chain, Licensed Operators can find the support they need to help get their businesses started and operating smoothly. Becoming a business owner can be a great optician or optometrist career path, and the support from Pearle Vision helps make it easier for entrepreneurs to get up and running with successful EyeCare Centers.
Recently, Territory Vice Presidents David Reiter and Josh Robinson sat down to discuss the ideal candidate to become a Licensed Operator and how the operational support from Pearle Vision helps strengthen the investment in the optical industry.
What sets the top Licensed Operators apart from the crowd? What are the core activities that they’re doing that really help them be successful?
Robinson: Looking at the top performers, I break it down into three key factors that I have seen in the field that really drive world-class performance from Licensed Operators: One being people, two being patient focus, three being operational excellence.
Top franchises have the right people in place, who are properly trained, understand what is expected from them and develop a strong culture. We reward and recognize folks within their stores.
The second thing really is patient focus. To me, it’s making sure the patients have the right experience inside our EyeCare Centers. In the EyeCare Center, the patient should have an outstanding experience, working with the doctor* as well as our retail associates.
Third is operational excellence. We have really been driving home key areas and key performance indicators (KPIs) that we found our top-performing Licensed Operators focus on: profitability, performance, the product that’s in their store and promotion.
Who do you think is the ideal type of candidate to succeed with the Pearle Vision opportunity?
Reiter: Someone who is entrepreneurial, who will want to leverage the system, has an insatiable appetite to win and is willing to work. You have to have certain attributes to be successful. Like anything, it takes work. Opening a business is not easy, but it can be rewarding. Someone who’s really going to leverage the system, be accountable for their results, hold others accountable, those are kind of the ideal candidates.
What are some of the key metrics that you see high-performing Licensed Operators doing well on?
Robinson: I think there’s several you can take a look at. When you’re looking at the P&L statements, you want to make sure you have control over labor costs and that’s extremely important. Two, you want to make sure you have control over cost of goods, that’s also extremely important. Three, you want to make sure you have control over your discount rate. Four, as a business consultant walks in the store, they’re going to identify if there are any red flags in key areas and, if there are, we’re going to work to understand what levers we could pull to zap those particular gaps. We compare the regional and national averages and we can see what the profitability is to that store, then we can also understand whether or not we have a top-line sales problem. We have a toolbox on how to help drive top-line sales. If there’s an issue with, say, discounts, we make the Licensed Operators aware of key issues that they will need to address and we go over some best practices that we have applied in the past.
We take a look at the cost of goods and understand if that is a challenge; if it’s too high or too low, if you have the right pricing in play, etc. There are other performance KPIs that the team can look at; for example, patient counts. There are a number of things, so it’s hard to drill down on one certain item, but we have to focus on P&L. We have to focus on KPI metrics that we can monitor with the store to understand the areas of opportunity.
From the perspective of an optometrist or optician, what are some of the KPIs that Pearle Vision systems and support can really help move the needle on?
Robinson: When we look at cost of goods, you have to really look at the turn. Turn is so important and that involves educating the Licensed Operators on turn and making sure you have the right product within the store. As I look at the cost of goods, as you’re going from an independent to a Pearle Vision Licensed Operator, it’s really about inventory control and turn and making sure you have the right products for what your patients want and need. There needs to be a strategy behind it.
It’s about more than just reducing the cost of goods. In some cases it might go up, but you have more turn and you could have more profit because you are turning that product more times.
Reiter: The supply chain is so critical and one of the strengths of Pearle Vision. What our solution really offers is the ability, especially for doctor-owners, to focus on their patients and focusing on working on the business; that’s what our system is designed for. We don’t collect royalties on the medical side of the business, only on the retail.
When somebody is starting out and maybe they’re in their first year or two of owning a Pearle Vision, what are the most significant ways you offer support?
Reiter: First of all, to transition into becoming an owner for the very first time is a monumental accomplishment. We have designed our license onboarding program so that we can help you through the entire process of building a store, planning for success, preparing to open and helping you find the best candidates to recruit, etc. We really focus on helping each Licensed Operator get set up for success. We give them the core fundamentals on how to conduct a good interview, where to find good candidates and how to leverage resources that can provide you candidates and postings. We help them on the supply chain front, but we don’t control their entire inventory so we also help them get in contact with other vendors that they might want to consider for their market needs. We’re able to provide information about demographics of the area.
We try to provide guidance in the form of business cases to consider when you’re making decisions, thought processes to consider. We strive to get them to a place where they feel comfortable enough with their own decisions and we challenge them along the way to make sure when they make a decision, what is the business impact?
That first year is about helping them with leadership development. It’s about people management. It’s about owning their five-mile radius, because we also help them work with our talented field marketing managers to help them understand what local marketing programs they might want to take part in.
Robinson: We use the phrase, “be in the business for yourself and not by yourself.” We have the marketing team, licensing and development, construction teams, a training team, we have many resources that are there to assist the new Licensed Operator coming into the business. We created a new role, an opening specialist, who will be with you for the first week. That opening specialist is assisting that new Licensed Operator as their primary point of contact and helping them navigate through all the new things that they’re going to experience. Then they’re signed over to a business consultant and operations person who are going to help them throughout their career with Pearle Vision. We have many partners who are going to assist and provide value where needed.
In what other ways does Pearle Vision help Licensed Operators develop best practices?
Robinson: We have a national Franchise Advisory Council (FAC); the Licensed Operators get together and nominate leaders from their regions to form the FAC, which works together and discusses areas of opportunity. We have best practice reviews going on within each region, with the business consultant partnering with an FAC leader. There is plenty of back-and-forth feedback and idea sharing between the brand and the Licensed Operators.
In addition to what the business consultant does on a daily basis, they not only look at the P&L statements, but they also look at and help create a business plan. They work with our marketing manager on what we could do to help their top line, and more importantly, their bottom line.
Learn about Pearle Vision business opportunities
To learn more about Pearle Vision and the opportunity to forge your own optometrist career path through business ownership, fill out the form on this page to request more information. We’re happy to answer your questions about the brand.
This article is not intended as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy a franchise. Within the U.S.A., we offer franchises solely by means of our Franchise Disclosure Document. Certain states in the U.S.A. and certain other countries have laws governing the offer and sale of franchises. If you are a resident of one of these states or countries, we will not offer you a franchise unless and until we have complied with applicable franchise investment law requirements in your jurisdiction.
*Eye exams available at the independent doctor of optometry at or next to Pearle Vision. Doctors in some states are employed by Pearle Vision.