For 18 years, Patrick Crowley, Big50 1994, has remodeled medical offices. Crowley Medical Office Interiors in Johnston, R.I. offers design, construction, and cabinetry in a one-stop shop for doctors and dentists. Crowley now offers a franchise that taps into his expertise.

The road to expansion began when he streamlined the cabinetry installations. In 2001, he opened a cabinet shop to fill the unique needs for healthcare storage. In 2004, he expanded to a 12,000 square-foot facility and a year later, made a substantial investment in computerized manufacturing equipment. The firm now creates cabinets that can be modified quickly with predrilled holes to accept different combinations of doors and drawers.

Around that time, Crowley stepped away from day-to-day business to create an operating manual and to research the market. "It's an incredible market. Just within a 1½-hour drive from our office, there are 14,000 doctors and a $319 million-per-year private practice market," Crowley says.

He thought about scaling up his operation to expand into other territories. "The hardest part of the equation is finding crews and subcontractors. I thought it best to partner with licensed contractors that already have a team in place," he says.

During a five-day training course, he gives the dealers systems specific to medical office remodeling. "We want our people to speak with confidence to doctors using the same terminology," he says.

The dealer provides the franchise with the specifications, and in return, they receive the design. Crowley's staff architect is licensed in 17 states, and he, along with Crowley are well-versed in medical office needs and can address a variety of points including patient and staff flow, privacy, file storage, lighting, and creating a welcoming seating area.

They send the dealer drawings and build and ship the cabinets for each job.

"We've taken the hard part away and let them focus on execution," Crowley says. "It's a win-win situation. The contractor gets a new market for nominal fee and we get to expand our brand nationally and increase our design and cabinet sales," he says.

He has identified 45 regions that can support a full operation and 120 areas that can support smaller operations. He has a dealer in North Carolina and is finalizing four additional dealers, including one in Chicago.

Remodelers are interested in the franchise because they are tired of competing for bids, scheduling multiple trades, and dealing with emotional clients. "They are looking for more and different work," Crowley says. His goal for 2008 is to add six dealers. He promoted the franchise at The Remodeling Show and will host an open house in February for interested contractors.

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