Is the Oil, Gas Downturn a Franchiser's Market?

Is the Oil, Gas Downturn a Franchiser's Market?
In the midst of a two-year long industry slowdown, some displaced workers have found success in business ownership outside of oil and gas.

Graham MacLeod worked 20 years in the oil and gas industry, 18 of which were in subsea operations for Cameron, before he mentally “checked out.”

After traveling for no less than 180 to 200 days out of the year for two decades, he decided he needed to spend more time at home.

“I didn’t realize how much stress I was under or how stressful the industry had become,” MacLeod told Rigzone. “I didn’t realize I actually didn’t enjoy my job anymore. Everything was building up and I didn’t realize it until I left.”

As the industry’s woes continue amid month after month of layoff announcements, uneasiness among oil and gas workers has elevated. But instead of waiting around on a full recovery, many energy professionals like MacLeod have opted to venture outside of oil and gas and delve into business ownership.

Exploring Opportunities

MacLeod, an Aberdeen native and current resident of Houston, left the oil and gas industry in April of 2015. He’d always talked about becoming a business owner. He and his wife were first introduced to franchise ownership while scouting daycares for their baby. He began looking into franchising and was contacted by a franchise recruiter one day who provided him with a few franchise options.

“I realized all I talked about was home remodeling and interior design,” he said.

Today, MacLeod’s the proud owner of his own franchise of Floor Coverings International in Northwest Houston.

“I tend to jump into things with both feet and tread water after,” he said. “The only hesitation I had was funding the business.”

MacLeod and his wife, who also works in oil and gas, were advised by a franchise network on how to roll over their 401K (a retirement savings plan) into the business. This allowed them to purchase the franchise debt-free.

Reinel Solano (l) and Graham MacLeod (r) both decided to open Houston franchises after leaving the oil and gas industry during one of the worst downturns to date.

A fellow Floor Coverings International franchise owner, Reinel Solano, also began his career in the oil and gas industry. He had 20 years of experience in reservoir engineering, most recently working four years at BP plc in a leadership role.

After learning that he would be laid off, Solano decided to take his severance package and seek out opportunities in business ownership.

“My initial reaction after being laid off was ‘I need to find a job,’” Solano told Rigzone. “I attended seminars and found that I really enjoyed my past positions as a team leader, but didn’t want to return to the technical side of the industry.”

He said he was completely open-minded about industries when he began researching franchises and decided on Floor Coverings International because he felt “it was a good fit and saw financial opportunities there.”


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Valerie is an experienced writer and editor dedicated to providing useful and relevant career news about the oil and gas industry. Email Valerie at valerie.jones@rigzone.com

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Charles Drobny | Aug. 19, 2016
Having owned a small business and run another I realize that the personal dynamics differ considerably from being an employee or executive of a larger company. Its a real paradigm shift and while owning a local franchise may provide relief from travel and family separation it will certainly create other issues. Most small businesses are all-in endeavors that require long hours - very long hours.

David Lewis | Aug. 16, 2016
Very interesting article and food for me to re-think my strategy. The oil and gas industry has been my life for 30 years through from an engineer to a senior manager and have worked in most parts of the world some nice, some not so nice. Ive been looking for other positions across the world but now have gravitated to looking for a franchise, Ive investigated a few but nothing has lit the fire, so far, maybe Im looking for the wrong thing and the excitement should be growing the business rather than the excitement of the work. I will continue to look and get back to my franchise agency tomorrow, with a different view.


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