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Archive of franchising in the East Midlands news and franchisee case studies

East Midlands news and case studies:

There are many successful franchise businesses in the East Midlands. If you're considering becoming a franchisee in the East Midlands, why not read through the case studies below and find out how these people in this area made the successful journey into franchising.

StumpBusters franchise for sale as owner set to retire

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Name: Kevin Chilton & Jan Forsyth
Location: East Midlands
Franchise: StumpBusters
Date launched the franchise: 1st March 2007

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying your StumpBusters franchise?
I had been involved in various businesses and at the time of purchasing StumpBusters (East Midlands) I was running an estate agency franchise.

Why did you go down the franchise route? What made you choose a landscaping franchise, and why decide on the StumpBusters franchise?
We initially got into franchising as we liked the idea of support from within a franchise family.

As I mentioned, I was running an estate agency franchise but as it was a turbulent and stressful time for the housing market, an active outdoor franchise seemed to be the perfect answer. As it turned out, it was! We set up the business together and have never looked back.

When we looked at StumpBusters we found they were so very helpful. We talked to many of their franchisees prior to joining, and they all appeared to be happy and making money. It turned out to be one of the best decisions we have ever made!

Why have you decided to sell your business?
It’s time to retire!!!

What are the key selling points of your business?
An excellent outdoor business enjoying an outstanding reputation that provides a healthy client base of returning customers. A business with an income from day1.

What support should the new franchisee expect to receive?
A wealth of on-going support both from the franchisor and franchisees within the StumpBuster family. There is always someone to talk to.

What are the other benefits of buying a resale?
If the business has been worked properly, an up and running profitable business from day 1 with a healthy client base.

What is a typical day for you as a StumpBuster franchisee?
Up early, drive to first job, which could be one of a number of smaller domestic jobs that day, or a full days work at the same location. This could be a day on a golf course, or a mixture of contract and domestic work.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
It has certainly given financial stability, which was more than welcome. That and job satisfaction leaving many clients very happy with the work carried out.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise?
Due diligence!! Look very closely at the franchisor and what he/she has to offer. Ensure the reward to work structure is in your favour. Some franchisors are clearly in it for themselves meaning, you do the hard work and they take the profits. StumpBusters is heavily weighted in your favour from day 1. I don’t believe you will find a fairer franchisor!

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?
1/ Professionalism – always be on time and take care with your clients, and,
2/ Protect the brand.

One should compliment the other in any case, but we have always cared for our clients in as much as we presented ourselves, worked and were as polite as we would have liked to experience ourselves if we were the clients. This has left many happy customers and has built us an enviable reputation.

Exclusive Interview: "Home Instead changed our lives and the lives of many"

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Name: Richard & Jo Aram
Location: East Notts. and Melton Mowbray
Franchise: Home Instead Senior Care

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying a franchise business?

My wife, Jo, and I are parents to 7 year old twins and have been married for 12 years. Jo runs a commercial property business and I used to be Cabin Crew on the World Wide Fleet for British Airways based at Heathrow.

Why did you go down the franchise route? And why did you choose the Home Instead franchise?

"Starting your own business from scratch can be daunting so the franchise route with a proven track record and a growing brand presence makes that “leap into the unknown” much easier to take."

Ultimately, we liked Home Instead’s ethos and what the brand is trying to achieve.

How did you raise the finance?

Personal savings and the bank.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?

Comprehensive Franchisee Owner training is provided at National office in Warrington with regular follow up training with fellow Franchisee Owners with whom you did the initial training. Thereafter you are assigned a Manager who provides advice and guidance as you grow the business.

What is a typical day for you as a Home Instead franchisee?

There is no such thing as a typical day as a home care provider! Each day brings different challenges and rewards as you help members of your community maintain their independence at home.

"The fact that you are doing something worthwhile in your community leads you to meet and work with some amazing people and organisations."

What challenges have you faced?

Jo and I are not from a sales background so in the beginning we were nervous about how we would be able to make people aware of the service we wanted to provide.

Once people understand and experience the difference Home Instead care can make that whole process becomes much easier.

Has becoming a Home Instead franchisee changed your life, if so how?

Being a Home Instead franchise owner means you can have a positive affect on peoples’ lives and also means you are building a local business that benefits local people.

There is a huge amount of satisfaction to be derived from that.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise?

My Grandad told me “If you take care of the business in the first year; it will start to look after itself in the second year and by the third year it will be looking after you”. That is sound advice.

"I would also surround yourself with staff who “buy into” what you are trying to achieve and understand why Home Instead do make a difference."

What are your plans for the future?

Jo and I want to continue to grow the business and try to improve on the “outstanding” rating that CQC has awarded us!

Would you do it again?

Yes, there is a lot of hard work in the beginning but having the support from National Office definitely helps you become a successful Home Instead franchise owner.

To receive Home Instead's FREE franchise prospectus, click here. 

EWIF Success in the Midlands

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Encouraging Women into Franchising (EWIF) held their first Midlands Regional meeting this week and it was a huge success!

Fiona Boswell from Fraser Brown Solicitors hosted the meeting and was thrilled with the number of people who attended. The first Midlands guest speaker was Pam Featherstone from ActionCOACH who inspired attendees with a presentation on how to work ON your business and not IN it with lots of practical tips for the business women in attendance to take away and implement.

EWIF Regional Meetings are held across the UK, throughout the year, to give women from every walk of life the opportunity to attend and gather advice, information and network with like-minded business owners. The Midlands meetings mean that EWIF now has an even wider remit and business women in the area have a forum of support that they can call on when facing challenges with their businesses.

“I was so pleased that we had such a good turn out to the first meeting in the Midlands. There’s been a huge gap in the Midlands for EWIF so it’s great to be able to provide their services for even more local business women. I hope that the meetings will become more and more popular as we continue and that the business women who attend are inspired and supported by the meetings. The Midlands is such a diverse region with so many business women and I think it’s important for them to have such a great organisation to turn to,” explains Fiona.

EWIF’s primary focus is to support women who are looking for a route into the franchise industry. Our remit is threefold; to encourage women to consider buying a franchise, to encourage business women to franchise their existing operations and to help franchisors attract more women to their networks. We are a not-for-profit organisation run entirely by volunteers, providing advice and guidance to anyone looking at trying to break into the franchise industry.

“It’s great to see so many in attendance at our first Midlands regional meeting. I hope that it spells success for the future in the region. I couldn’t think of anyone better to be hosting the meetings than Fiona. Her passion and knowledge for the franchise industry and the EWIF cause really shines through and she works tirelessly to create opportunities for more women and to support them in their new business ventures whether they’re franchisees or franchisors,” explains Clive Sawyer, CEO of EWIF.

Successful Stagecoach franchisee looking to sell her Nottingham business

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Name: Ginny Hartman
Location: Nottingham
Franchise: Stagecoach Theatre Arts
Date launched the franchise: 1998

Read more about the Stagecoach resale opportunity

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying your franchise?

Before starting my own business, I was teaching drama for the local authority.

Why did you go down the franchise route initially? And why did you choose your franchise?

Deciding that I wanted to start my own business, I started to look at the options available to me. Having such a passion for the performing arts, it was only natural that I looked at the opportunities available in this field.

Franchising was ideal as it offered me the support I needed to run my own business, and Stagecoach being a well-established company with an excellent reputation, stood out as the perfect franchise for me.

Why have you decided to sell your business?

I wish to retire and pass the reigns onto someone who can continue to build up this lucrative business.

What’s the key selling points of your business?

It’s a well-established school, been running over 20 years, in a beautiful venue central to West Bridgford. We currently have over 125 students but our territory has masses of potential for further growth and development. If I wasn’t planning to retire I would be looking to open another Early Stages class, possibly a Further Stages (for young adults) maybe a Friday night school and generally exercising this excellent territory’s full potential for growth.

What support should the new franchisee expect to receive?

Stagecoach Head Office will give you as much support as you require; initially and ongoing. The buyer would get training and also get to shadow myself for several weeks.

What is a typical day for you as a franchisee?

My classes run on a Saturday, and so the Saturdays are very busy but also lots of fun! I take a Principal role, not teaching but supervising and guiding the teachers. The rest of week I focus on developing the business, through recruiting new students, promotion of it and also dealing with the administration side.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?

I have been running Stagecoach Theatre Arts schools for 20 years and have never been happier in my work.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise?

Take all the support that is offered to you, and establish a good relationship with the parents, students and especially your staff!

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?

A Stagecoach Principal has ideally a gregarious personality, a sense of humour and understands kids and wants to create lifetime memories for them.

Find out more about this exciting resale opportunity

Interview with Chris McGee, Oscar Pet Foods, Mansfield

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Name: Chris McGee
Location: Mansfield, North Nottinghamshire
Franchise you bought: Oscar Pet Foods

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying a franchise business?
I’m married with 2 children. We have a short haired German Pointer – Willow, 2 years old and a ginger tom cat - Betty blue, 1 year old.

I previously worked in sales for electrical retail; holding sales manager and store manager positions.

Why did you initially decide to go down the franchise route? And what made you choose a franchise resale over starting a new franchise business?
I’ve always wanted to work for myself and prior to me starting my franchise, my parents owned a successful Oscar franchise for approx10 years albeit in a different territory. I decided on a resale as I wanted to buy a business that was profitable from the off.

How does the decision making process for buying a resale differ from buying a new franchise?
I believe it depends if you have funds in the bank to be able to set up from scratch with no income for a period of time or whether you prefer a readymade business.

What made you decide on the franchise you bought?
As mentioned earlier, my parents ran a successful Oscar business previously.

What have been the main benefits to you buying a resale business?
Existing customer base that recognise the brand already thus word of mouth travels quicker to new customers.

Where there any challenges you had to overcome?
No not really, just balancing the time available to develop my Oscar business and other part time work.

Was it easier to raise finance because you were looking at a resale opportunity?
Not applicable.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing from your franchisor?
Initially we received a full weeks training on all aspects of the Oscar franchise and also a field trainer came out in the initial weeks.

What is a typical day for you as a franchisee?
As a franchisee you find you are working all the time although this can be decided by yourself as to when and where. I tend to do calls text etc on a Mon /Tues evening and all my deliveries are done on a Thursday, this allows me time to do other work.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
I wouldn’t say changed my life as such but I definitely feel better than when I was employed, the main thing is I can be more flexible and do things I want, when I want.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise? And would you recommend a franchise resale?
Know what you are buying and speak to as many franchisees as possible to get a good understanding of what the business entails.
Yes I would recommend a resale.

What are your plans for the future?
To continue to develop my Oscar franchise.

Would you do it again?
Yes, I would do it again.

Belvoir Bingham franchise is now open

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Belvoir are pleased to announce the launch of the latest addition to the Belvoir network, Belvoir Bingham.

Opening its doors for the first time this month, Belvoir Bingham is a second office for successful franchise owner Charlotte Baker and will complement her existing Belvoir business in Melton Mowbray which has been operating since 1998.

“The driving factor for opening a new office was to help grow the business while building on the success we’ve already had at our existing office in Melton Mowbray,” says Charlotte.

“Because we already have an experienced team in place, plus a number of successful tried and tested systems for managing rental property, it seemed a logical next step to expand our business by opening an additional office in a nearby town.

“We decided to launch in Bingham because it borders on our territory and it has got a really buoyant property market – in fact, last year it was cited in the media as one of the top ten places to live. It’s got a good comprehensive school, property is affordable, and it’s got a market town atmosphere even though it’s close to Nottingham with good commuter links. There’s an awful lot of new building happening in Bingham and the surrounding villages too so there will be plenty of opportunities for the new office moving forward.”

As part of Charlotte’s expansion, two of her long-term staff members have become franchise owners.

“In order to manage both offices effectively, two members of staff, Graham Croft and Katie Archer, have joined me as franchise owners,” continues Charlotte.

“Katie has been with me since 2005 and Graham joined Belvoir Melton Mowbray in 2006 so both will bring considerable experience to the new office.

“Having them on board will enable the business to grow further and faster and, ideally, we’d like to add an additional 100 managed properties to our portfolio.

“We currently have over 300 managed properties at the office in Melton Mowbray and we’re hoping that the office in Bingham will provide the opportunity to expand our managed portfolio further.”

Charlotte is Belvoir’s latest franchise owner to expand her business by opening a second office. Launching additional offices in new territories gives franchise owners like Charlotte the opportunity to increase their property portfolio, and proves that the Belvoir business model can provide long-term opportunities for franchise owners and their staff.

Belvoir recruits franchise owners of all ages and from a variety of backgrounds. If you’re considering a career in property management, please contact the recruitment team for an informal chat to find out more about the Belvoir opportunity.

New etyres Leicester Franchise Owner is driven by ambition

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etyres is delighted to announce the launch of its latest branch as Sukhbinder Singh gets his etyres Leicester franchise up and running after completing an extensive training programme.

 

“I didn’t have any experience in the motoring industry or running my own business, “ Sukhi explained, “but etyres have made the whole start up process run extremely smoothly and my training has been really comprehensive. Now I just can’t wait to get on the road!”

Sukhi decided to invest in an etyres franchise after realising that his hectic career in customer services and sales was not delivering the rewards his efforts deserved.
“I really enjoy working hard, building a rapport with customers and getting the job done,” Sukhi, 34, continued, “but I was doing all these things to line someone else’s pocket, at the expense of my family.

“I decided I wanted to run my own business, so not only could I reap the rewards of my hard work, but I could also enjoy a bit of flexibility in my working life and spend some quality time with my wife and two little girls.”

Sukhi decided to invest in a franchise so he could hit the ground running with a business model that was already tried-and-tested, with a proven track record for success.

“I started to think about what people buy, what they have to buy and what they can’t live without and thought it boiled down to “food, homes and cars”,” he continued. “The first two didn’t appeal to me, but I could see the fantastic potential in the cars, and particularly tyres, because people will always need them, even during a tough recession.

“Once I had narrowed it down this far, choosing etyres was easy, in fact it really stood out, because I had recently needed new tyres for my own car and being hard pushed to find the time to go to a garage and get them fitted. I had actually thought how brilliant it would be to have someone come to me and fit my tyres!

“Unfortunately, as often happens when you realise you need new tyres, you need them immediately, so even as I started to find out more about an etyres franchise I couldn’t wait to have my tyres fitted and ended up wasting a couple of hours in a garage anyway. Never again though!

“Now I am looking forward to using the skills I have developed working in customer services and sales to build my business and raise brand awareness of etyres in Leicester.”

Interview with Geoff and Sharon Clarence, Rainbow International, Matlock

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Introduction
Geoff and Sharon Clarence have demonstrated how a can do attitude can bring major success. Within eight years of investing in a franchise they have grown to become the most successful franchise in the Rainbow International network and the first to exceed £2m in turnover.

The couple gave up excellent jobs to take on the franchise because they wanted to take charge of their own destiny and provide a sustainable business for their family.

They now have eight territories across Notts and Derbyshire and have bought two 5,000 sq ft industrial units. In addition, they have realised their ambition of creating a prosperous future for their family with a son running his own Rainbow franchise and a daughter also actively involved in the business.

Why did you want to go into business for yourself?
Both Sharon and I had been working in senior positions for multinational companies with long periods of service. Whilst we were rewarded accordingly it was always at the back of our minds that we could lose everything we had worked for through reasons beyond our control, by way of redundancy or other circumstances. When we looked at it, we earned large salaries, had expensive company cars, company lap top’s and mobiles etc but we owned none of them. The only way we could ensure we had greater control over our destiny was to start our own business. I was 45 at the time and Sharon 35 and we knew that we both had the energy and experience to succeed. All we needed was the idea and then to find an opportunity.

Why did you choose franchising?
We chose franchising because a good friend and former colleague had started his business a few years earlier. We had kept in touch with him and his wife and in two years they had built what appeared to be a very strong and profitable business. That business was with Rainbow International.

What attracted you to the Rainbow International Franchise?
We felt that there were transferable skills from our then jobs that we could bring into the cleaning and restoration business. I worked in sales and Sharon in marketing. Having been through the initial investigation period it became clear that the Rainbow model had substance and with the right application we had more than a fighting chance of succeeding. The good thing we found, and still find about Rainbow International, is that the training and systems are very professional and thorough and you never feel that you are alone. I suppose it’s the best of both worlds in that you have the comfort of a national brand leader but you are genuinely running your own business. We now own all the vehicles, computers, mobiles phones etc and no one can make us redundant.

How has business been since starting your franchise?
Very enjoyable. We mean that sincerely. Make no mistake its tough in the early days because we had to learn about the industry and the systems. But coming out the other side took about 12 months and it does get easier. We would say that the early days are about laying solid foundations, so it was more than worth it. The rewards are there for all to see and it genuinely is about getting out what you put in.

How do you manage the work life family balance?
Our family are very much part of our business with sons, daughter, brothers and sisters all involved. That was very much part of the original strategy in that working for big companies was fine but if we wanted to help family members on the road to employment or if they wanted to help us in our work life it was pretty much impossible. Through our efforts and with the support of key family members we are now in the position that we can employ our own family and therefore they should never be out of work. Given the current market place in terms of recession and unemployment that means a lot to us. Don’t get us wrong working with family members brings its challenges but in the main we all pull in the same direction and all share in the rewards. When we started our business our oldest son was just finishing his apprentice as an electrical engineer. He joined us from day one after 6 years left to run his own very successful franchise with his wife. You can imagine how much pleasure we gain from their success knowing that they are continuing the family connection with Rainbow International.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone on how to win business what would it be?
People buy from people. Be honest and deliver what you promise and always look at the bigger picture. You might knock on doors for a long time before you’re given a chance and remember that not every job will meet your profit targets. But if you provide a reliable and professional service your customers will continue to use you and the more profitable work will follow.

What business plans do you have to grow in the future?
We have just brought our second 5,000 sq ft industrial unit (not bad for a couple who owned nothing after working 25 years for the same plc) and we are looking to grow the commercial side of our business. We are four months into a three year contract with the local council for cleaning their empty housing stock which will bring in around £200,000 per year. We are also the sole provider of restoration services to 14 local insurance agents which will bring in an estimated £250,000 per year.

What advice would you give those looking to start their own business?
Go for it. Absolutely go for it. You can work for any company in any industry at whatever level you are capable of. One day someone and some circumstances can take all of that away. Running your own business means you are in control of your own destiny. Franchising gives you the business model to work within and the training, marketing and systems to support you. With all of that support and your efforts and endeavours, if you buy into the right franchise you will succeed.

Enjoying the credibility of the etyres franchise

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Franchisee: Mike
Territory: Derby
Franchise: etyres

Mike launched the Derby branch during a bitter November in 2010 and his business was profitable within four months.

“I had to get to grips with building and running the business when demand for tyres was very high due to the snow and the weather was absolutely freezing,” he explained.

“But I think it says a lot that even when I was working in sub-zero temperatures I was still enjoying the actual job and knew I'd made the right decision.

"I had been looking for a franchise business for several years and two of the deciding factors for me were that etyres is a BFA member and that the business has been established for so long.

"I also like the fact that selling tyres is a sustainable business, people will always need tyres and even if they are opting for premium brands they still want to get the best price out there.”

A former service and repair technician for Virgin Media for 15 years, Mike also knew that he enjoyed taking a pride in offering excellent customer service and he was looking for the opportunity to utilise his organisational skills.

"For years I have worked for other people and I knew that I had the ability and the skills to be my own boss - so I took the plunge."

"All my customers have been very pleased with the service and the concept behind etyres", he said. “It is great to see them coming back to use the service again or hearing that they have recommended me to others.”

Enjoying the stability of a Signs Express franchise

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This week sees the brand new opening of leading national sign franchise Signs Express in Nottingham. Husband and wife team, Adam and Jane Bailey are both looking forward to working with businesses in the Nottingham area.

Signs Express is the UK and Ireland’s leading sign company serving over 75 areas across the country.

Adam and Jane will be opening their doors to the public the week commencing 26th September. The centre is a 2000 sq. ft custom designed unit, with state of the art equipment and specialised work areas for the highest quality results. Adam brings with him a wide range of sign making skills, having worked as a sign maker himself for the past 25 years, with Jane working as the Marketing Director. Signs Express (Nottingham) also has its own drive-in vehicle livery bay which provides the perfect climate controlled environment for graphics application.

Jane commented on their decision on franchising and joining Signs Express; “We came to the conclusion that we wanted to have a business together and decided that with Adam’s vast experience, staying in the sign industry was the best decision. After much research and visiting other Signs Express centres it really helped us to confirm that we were making the right decision, you can’t fail to be impressed with the business model. The team has been great and we’ve been made to feel so welcome that we already feel we have been part of Signs Express for years.”

In today’s economy, starting a business could be considered as a gamble, however, by careful planning and diligence on behalf of the franchisor, the Signs Express business model in continuing to provide a stable package for new and already established centres.

As part of the UK and Ireland’s leading signs and graphics company, Signs Express (Nottingham) provides a complete design, manufacture and installation service for all forms of signage including interior/exterior signs, vehicle graphics, exhibition and display products, window graphics and health and safety signage for businesses in Nottingham and the surrounding areas.

Signs Express franchise recruits in Leicester

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Leicester is abundant with business opportunities, but starting your own business can be a turbulent and stressful time so before making any decisions it’s important to thoroughly research all business options in the area.
 
Signs Express, as a franchise, is one such avenue where you can start a brand new business and be your own boss; but all with the safety of an already established brand, proven business model and with support along the way. 
 
As the UK and Ireland’s largest signs franchise providing all types of signage - including exterior signs ie shop fascias; interior signs; vehicle graphics; window graphics; banners and health and safety signs - working in the B2B sector means that there are no customer constraints; after all every business needs signs and graphics in some shape or form.
 
The Leicester and Leicestershire area in particular is abundant with customer potential and money making opportunities. Centrally-based with easy access through the M1, Leicester is well known as a hive of activity through Leicester University and the local economy. With particular emphasis on Leicester shops, engineering and the restaurant market, the key customer base is already on your doorstep making it a flourishing centre of activity as a local business.
 
Signs Express customers can therefore stretch from the public sector, local councils, professional clients such as solicitors and architects as well as a vast range of small mobile businesses through to industrial and commercial enterprises in many sectors and divisions.
 
Signs Express currently has 80 signage centres nationwide, however, there are still a number of greenfield businesses for sale which are ripe for the picking throughout the UK. The Leicester sign franchise opportunity is one particular location Signs Express is looking to recruit as there is currently no presence in the Leicestershire area; it therefore holds endless opportunities for you to start in franchising and become your own boss.
 
As part of an already established brand, the process of setting up a sign franchise in Leicester is made so much easier. As well as including working capital the overall fee to become part of the Signs Express franchise includes help finding premises; unit fit out with everything from printing machinery and computers through to desks and signage materials; help researching the local Leicestershire market along with providing business data; marketing literature and merchandise and help recruiting; as well as training in accounts, marketing and technical processes to get started.  
 
With this there are much faster financial rewards. Through the help available a new Signs Express franchise looks to break even in the first year, receive dividends of £20,000 in year two and £40,000 in year three. In fact, well established franchisees are turning over £1m a year and some longstanding franchisees have recently been celebrating reaching £5m invoiced sales mark.
 
As a management signage franchise, prospective franchisees require no industry experience as full training is provided and sign making staff will be appointed to work in this case in the Leicester franchise production unit. Your skills will be based on your own management and sales experience and your ability to lead a team. Ongoing support is available from sales and marketing, accounts, IT, HR, operations and technical as well as initial training to learn more about technical aspects and business techniques.
 

Signs Express franchise recruits in Nottingham

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Nottingham is abundant with business opportunities, but starting your own venture can be a turbulent and stressful time so before making any decisions it’s important to thoroughly research all business options in the area.
 
Signs Express, as a franchise, is one such avenue where you can start a brand new business and be your own boss; but all with the safety of an already established brand, proven business model and with support along the way. 
 
Franchising is showing a positive outlook and is proving a more sustainable option than starting in business alone. Despite the economic uncertainty of last year, franchising still managed to contribute £11.8 billion to the country’s GDP which also showed an increase of £400 million from the previous year. The statistics which were reported in the annual NatWest BFA franchise survey, also highlighted potential for future growth with franchisors, on average, planning for an additional 8.8 franchisee outlets and a modest increase in the number of businesses looking themselves to franchise their own businesses.
 
As the UK and Ireland’s largest signs franchise providing all types of signage working in the B2B sector means that there are no customer constraints; after all every business needs signs and graphics in some shape or form.
 
The Nottingham and Nottinghamshire area in particular is abundant with customer potential and money making opportunities. Centrally-based with easy access to the M1, Nottingham is well known as a hive of activity through leading big industry names as well as Nottingham University. With particular emphasis on economic growth and development in financial and business services, science and technology, public sector and retail and leisure, the key customer base is already on your doorstep making it a flourishing centre of activity for local business opportunities.
 
Signs Express customers can therefore stretch from the public sector, local councils such as Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council, professional clients such as solicitors and architects as well as a vast range of small mobile businesses through to industrial and commercial enterprises in many sectors and divisions.
 
Signs Express currently has 80 signage centres nationwide, however, there are still a number of greenfield businesses for sale which are ripe for the picking throughout the UK. The Nottingham sign franchise opportunity is one particular location Signs Express is looking to recruit as there is currently no presence in the Nottinghamshire area; it therefore holds endless opportunities for you to start in franchising.
 
As part of an already established brand, the process of setting up a sign franchise in Nottingham is made so much easier. As well as including working capital the overall fee to become part of the Signs Express franchise includes help finding premises; unit fit out with everything from printing machinery and computers through to desks and signage materials; help researching the local market along with providing business data; marketing literature and merchandise and help recruiting; as well as training in accounts, marketing and technical processes to get started.  
 
With this there are much faster financial rewards. Through the help available a new Signs Express franchise looks to break even in the first year, receive dividends of £20,000 in year two and £40,000 in year three. In fact, well established franchisees are turning over £1m a year and some longstanding franchisees have recently been celebrating reaching £5m invoiced sales mark.
 
As a management signage franchise, prospective franchisees require no industry experience as full training is provided and sign making staff will be appointed to work in this case in the Leicester franchise production unit. Your skills will be based on your own management and sales experience and your ability to lead a team.
 
 

Be profitable with a Platinum Property Partners franchise

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The property investment sector has had a turbulent couple of years and many landlords and investors have been forced out of the market by a lack of cashflow and capital.  Leading the field of those still flourishing is the Platinum Property Partners property investment franchise, founded in mid-2007, which has recruited 45 high net worth Franchise Partners to date, with more waiting to join.  By following PPP’s proven business models and with the support of their expert team of over 33 professional advisors, Franchise Partners are expanding their portfolios and increasing profits through the recession.  

The beauty of property as a wealth creation vehicle is not only are you investing in tangible assets which will appreciate over time, but you can also refurbish and let the properties out in such a way that the rental income covers the mortgage, utility bills and maintenance costs, and also gives a significant positive cashflow.  PPP’s Franchise Partners are seeing average returns of £1,000+ pre-tax profit per month, per property, even allowing for void periods.

This kind of investing starts with the principle that an investment property is simply a money-making box.   How much profit you make in the short and long term depends on what you do with the box: what & how you buy, how you divide up the space inside and how you tenant and manage that space.  Anyone can buy a property and wait for its value to go up in line with the market; the skill is in 'beating' the market and bettering those returns.  

One Leicester-based Franchise Partner bought a property in Spring 2008 for £225,000.  He spent £60,000 refurbishing it to the PPP model, and it now delivers over £4,000 a month in rental income, with over £2,500 pre-tax profit.  The property has recently been re-valued at £335,000 - that’s an increase in asset value of £110,000 during a national market slump!

Maximising profit and establishing a good stream of passive income from property is a simple concept to understand, but not an easy strategy to implement. However, for smart property investors who surround themselves with the right experts and professionals, 2010 is going to be another superb year!
 

More friendship than a business arrangement with Countrywide Signs franchise

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“It’s more like a friendship than a business arrangement”
 
Four years into the ownership of Countrywide Signs Leicester, Tyler Smith reflects on the special relationship developed with the Franchisor, and his plans for the expansion of his business.
 
For me, the Countrywide Signs franchise has provided an opportunity to work in a business where I am out and about working with people, rather than chained to a desk. For my father, the prospect of building a substantial business through marketing and providing a professional service was the key
attraction. We are both achieving our goals with our franchise and we are a perfect team!
 
We first began looking at franchises four years ago because we wanted to work for ourselves, but
without the risk of starting up on our own. Countrywide Signs offers a very professional service, but also develops personal relationships with franchisees. It is more like developing a friendship than a business arrangement, and we were so impressed that we invested in the Leicester territory in 2003 when it became available for re-sale.
 
Because it was an already established business we hit the ground running with work to do from
day one of taking over. The business was performing well, but we could see a lot of potential there to improve it. Every aspect of the business had been covered in the training provided by Countrywide Signs, but there is a very fast learning curve so the reassurance of having support and backup from head office when required is invaluable.
 
The marketing experience that my father has brought to the business has enabled us to build it quite aggressively and the work has snowballed quickly. We took on our first employee after our first year, a second soon after that, and have capitalised upon the word of mouth we’ve generated to reach an annual turnover of £120,000.
 
You need to appreciate the art of erecting for sale boards, and at Countrywide Signs we compete on quality rather than price. We are able to market ourselves as the best by putting boards up quickly and professionally in the best place to maximise interest in a property. This quality of with Countrywide Signs’ professional website which enables agents to track how many boards they have up and where they are at any time, makes us the first choice for estate and lettings agents.
 
We have won over the agents and get regular repeat business from them, but there’s a lot of potential in Leicestershire that we haven’t touched yet. We want to expand the business and are aiming to have a fleet of vans out there servicing our accounts.

Delighting in the challenge of franchising with Chemex

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After a successful career in farm management, John Bennett has just made a complete, mid-life switch.

John, 41, has invested in a franchise with Chemex International covering South Nottinghamshire, including Nottingham city centre, Southwell, Grantham, Long Eaton, Bingham and Radcliffe-on-Trent.
 
Chemex is Europe’s leading supplier of cleaning and hygiene products and provides businesses with cleaning products and free advice and training on health & safety and hygiene matters.

“I graduated from Nottingham University with a degree in agriculture and worked for 16 years in agricultural farm management. I ended up managing a large, intensive arable, vegetable and root crop farm in North Nottinghamshire,” said John who lives at Oxton.
“But I needed a new challenge and was delighted when the opportunity to build a business with Chemex came along.”

Franchising appealed to John because he had dealt with franchised businesses in the organic produce industry and knew how it worked.

Now he is franchising for Chemex, not only selling a wide range of cleaning and hygiene products but also offering advice and training for the healthcare, catering and hospitality industries.

John, who is a former captain of Nottingham & Union Rowing Club and Henley Royal Regatta oarsman is now putting his back into building a successful business supplying cleaning and hygiene products.

As a competitive rower, who trained daily, rowing on the River Trent and reached the quarter-finals at Henley, John said: “With my competitive nature and business experience a Chemex franchise provides an opportunity to build a substantial business”.

“We supply a wide range of businesses, including care homes, restaurants, pubs, hotels, offices, schools and colleges - hygiene is major issue in all these businesses.

“Where we differ, though, is we also offer training and advice on use of our cleaning products, as well as safety and hygiene control programmes.”

Controlling destiny with Servicemaster franchise

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John Flye
ServiceMaster Disaster restoration franchise
Nottingham
 

I bought my first franchise in 1986, following a career in the Insurance Industry.

The franchise appealed to me because of my desire to be my own Boss, and control my own destiny.
 
In my dealings with Servicemaster whilst I was considering my options, I was impressed with the general set up and the people I met and decided to buy the franchise.
 
Twenty-one years later, the business has developed almost beyond recognition, both for me personally, and for the business generally. Both Franchisees and Servicemaster Ltd have faced major challenges in recent years, and have met these challenges admirably. We are moving forward as a team, franchisee and franchisor together, and are set to enjoy continued growth in the coming years.
 
It is interesting to think that over the last 21 years, Jacqueline and myself have relied solely on our business for income, and have built up a sizable equity within the business. Our youngest son has been involved in the business for some six years, and will at some point take over the running of the operation.
 
To summarise, although running any business has its challenges, I feel that the Franchise has and continues to fulfil our hopes and ambitions, and we are proud to be associated with Servicemaster.

Top award for Martin & Co franchise in Nottingham

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Kate and Martin Crown, who together own and operate the Nottingham franchise of the UK’s leading specialist lettings agent Martin & Co, have plenty to celebrate this week after they were named winners of a top award at the company’s AGM.
 
Beating off stiff competition from across Martin & Co’s 130+ nationwide network, the Nottingham office won the coveted Best Mature Franchise title in recognition of Kate and Martin’s success in consistently achieving the highest average number of lets per month during 2007.
 
They were presented with their award by the company’s founder and chairman, Richard Martin, at a glittering award ceremony held at the luxury Bosworth Hall Hotel in Warwickshire on Saturday 26th April.
 
Martin said: “We are absolutely delighted. This award is a tribute to all the hard work that the entire Nottingham team have put in over the past year, and an achievement everyone can be very proud of indeed.”
 
Kate added, “At heart, successful lettings is all about people, and this award once again proves that at Martin & Co in Nottingham have some of the very best people in the business!”
 
So, if you’re thinking of becoming a landlord, or you’re looking for property to rent in Nottingham, your choice is an easy one. Go to Martin & Co, and you’ll be dealing with winners - literally!
 

Franchise Roadshow returns to Leicester…

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Leicester Racecourse welcomes a major UK franchise roadshow for the second year running in June.  
 
The exhibition is the type of thing budding businessmen and women based in the Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and Peterborough areas would normally have to visit Birmingham or London to see.
 
However, this year, the event has attracted 40 of Britain’s most innovative and exciting franchise and business opportunities – and all of them are looking for people who want to run a business in the East Midlands region.   
 
Free seminars run throughout the day: examples include “mums mean business”, “asian business investor forum” and a “motor franchise theatre”. All the seminars include a Dragons’ Den style forum – allowing the franchises to pitch their idea to the audience, who can then fire questions in return.     
 
But why are these companies all coming to Leicester? MarkMonument, of exhibition organisers Job Done, explains:
 
“Our exhibitors are a pro-active bunch. They see the value of making it easy for potential franchisees to meet with them. All the visitors are simply people who live - and wish to run their business - in their own local area. Therefore, the franchises are more than happy to showcase the territories/licences they have available in that same local area”  
 
Mark goes on:
 
“It’s not all about making (or investing) fortunes. Most exhibitors are looking for dedicated individuals who want to carve out a pleasant living and lifestyle for themselves.
 
There’s a bit of everything here for everyone – for “petrol heads”, for tradesmen, for white collar careers, for those interested in property investing, for those looking at retail outlets, or catering, or care homes. And, for once, you don’t have to travel to the NEC or London to see it all”.
 
In summary, the organisers claim that there is a proven, road-tested, ready made business waiting “on a plate” for all manner of career backgrounds and aspirations - and that each of the exhibitors offer a licence local to the East Midlands.
 
The show takes place on Saturday 7th June in the main Conference Centre at Leicester Racecourse. There is no entrance fee; there’s plenty of free car parking and all the seminars and advisory sessions are without charge too. It seems you just need to be a free thinking, budding entrepreneur to benefit from it all.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Supporting all the way

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Wendy Burre
Merry Maids
Lincoln
 
As part of the worldwide ServiceMaster group, the Merry Maids franchise provides franchisee Wendy Burre with exactly the kind of support she was looking for.
In moving back to the UK from South Africa, Wendy had to decide which direction her career would take, and with two young children to look after, she needed something that would give her a good level of support and guidance. In discovering that franchising would be able to realise her ambitions, Wendy set about the task of finding the right opportunity for her.
 
“We spent over a year researching, attending exhibitions and doing our groundwork. In fact, we looked at all kinds of opportunities but it was Merry Maids that really stood out to me,” enthuses Wendy. “When we met the franchisors they had an extremely personable approach. I was encouraged to speak to other franchisees and this gave me a greater sense that this was an opportunity that would work for me.”
 
The Merry Maids concept was born in the USA over 20 years ago and puts its experience to the test by providing services to around 30,000 customers daily. Established in the UK since 1991, Merry Maids has become one of the country’s most respected and successful domestic cleaning franchises in a rapidly growing industry.
 
With over 100 franchises in the UK alone, Merry Maid provide their franchisees with a real head start in the domestic cleaning market: “We received a great deal of training,” states Wendy. “Merry Maids taught me about all the aspects of setting up and running my own business.”
 
Wendy reports that she still receives the quality support that was so important to her when she launched her business in 2000. “Merry Maid looked after us very closely during our launch and were always there to help.” Wendy reflects. “Six years on and they are still more than willing to help should we need them. There is a very strong network between the franchisees and the franchisor that I would consider one of the best in the business.
Although we¹re independent there is always close contact between the franchisees, no one is competing and we are all there for each other.”
 
In building her business, Wendy has noticed the benefit of repeat custom and word-of-mouth referrals that Merry Maids generates. Within two years of launching, Wendy’s business had grown to the stage that she had a team of employees and had moved to commercial premises: “I’ve always been one to push myself and my operating territory now covers the whole of Lincolnshire,” reveals Wendy. I’m always looking forward to how far I can take the business. There’s huge potential in the franchise.
 
As an investment that Wendy says has more than paid off, since staring her business she reveals that her lifestyle has got better and better: “Were financially secure and I do a job that I enjoy and have enthusiasm for. I’d say that where I am now is exactly where I¹ve always wanted to be.”

Outstanding customer care award for Belvoir franchise

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Following the Belvoir system and maintaining meticulously high standards in their business has paid off for Carol and Warren Wadeson, Belvoir Lettings’ Rugby franchisees.

In recognition of their exemplary customer care, Carol and Warren have received Belvoir’s award for the most Outstanding Customer Care, chosen from the national network that now has 97 outlets.

Announcing their achievement, Belvoir co-founder and CEO, Mike Goddard, said: “Their hard work and support for Belvoir has been fantastic, especially in helping others through our regional franchise groups. Carol has also spoken at bfa-run seminars, giving an invaluable insight with her personal account of what it’s like to be a franchisee.”

Carol and Warren Wadeson had wanted to set up their own business for some time and considered various options before deciding that franchising offered the best way for them to achieve their ambition.

As a Business Relationship Manager for a high street bank Carol knew that franchising had a far higher success rate than comparable stand-alone new businesses. She also recognised the value of the training and on-going support that ethical franchisors provide.

Warren was an operations manager for a large contract services company and spending much of his working day travelling around his large patch. He felt that his sedentary lifestyle behind the wheel and at a desk was unhealthy so he resolved to find a different and new challenge.

Carol and Warren thought about the type of business they would like to have.

Although they first met at catering college while they were both training to be chefs and bakers, neither was keen on working in the food or catering sector.

They began some serious research and, once they were set on buying a franchise, went to several franchise exhibitions with completely open minds to see what was on offer.

“The choice is huge and we were amazed to see so many different types of franchise at the show”, Carol said. “Afterwards we carefully considered the companies we liked the most, narrowing down our choice to a shortlist. Belvoir was right at the top. We liked the concept of property management and were confident that we could make it work,” she added.

Initially, Carol and Warren set up their franchise in a home office in summer 2002 but soon discovered that they could only achieve the growth they needed by operating from a shop. Five months later they took premises in the town centre and the business really took off. In the last year, their fourth, they have achieved 100 per cent growth.

They have discovered that they are a very effective team and work together extremely well. Warren says: “We actually enjoy being together all the time and we get a real buzz out of being our own boss.”

Taxing Issues solved with TaxAssist franchise

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Phil Marriott
Loughborough
February 2011
 
I joined TaxAssist Accountants in December 2002 having purchased an existing fee bank from a franchisee who was returning to a former employer. My experiences gained in banking, insurance and finance, coupled with the knowledge gained in setting up and running a group of limited companies with some fellow directors, gave me some preparation for running an accountancy / business advisory practice…but I wanted the comfort of a “hand held” approach and some solid back-up support.
 
The obvious integrity, willingness and openness of all the team at TaxAssist Accountants struck me right from the outset, such that the decision was much easier to make – a clear sign that things were right then, and which has continued to prove to be right time and again since. Looking back, the first year was an exceptionally demanding one and much of the cash flow was reinvested to develop the potential of my practice. I had originally planned to move into shop front style premises some time after three years. After just two years the ideal shop front became available and I needed to make the commercial decision and investment much sooner, eventually moving in March 2005. Despite my reservations over the cost and disruption the overriding outcome was excellent. My net fee income, client growth, profitability and cash flow all benefited dramatically, improving month on month. New business enquiries were and continue to be plentiful with word of mouth being the best source and referrals from local professional sources (banks and solicitors) second. There is little other marketing I have undertaken, and the brand building activity of the Support Centre sends welcome leads my way. I now have six members of staff.
 
In December 2007 I acquired the freehold of a former bank in my neighbouring home town. It opened as my main office in March 2008. It is at least three times the size of the previous shop front, and provides substantial scope for further growth. The quality and average fee size of new business enquiries has improved.  The fact I have been confident enough to buy, and that my bank have been so keen to support me, is continuing testament to the strength of the business model.
 
I have always increased fees annually but recently became aware that a number of clients had fallen out of step with the target fee range. Despite the economic outlook I therefore embarked on a client fee review programme. My average fee increase for clients retained on direct debit ended up in excess of 10%, excluding the impact of the VAT hike. Only one client refused to accept the increase. I believe this proves the power of the brand and underlines the continuing success of our franchisor in securing awards.
 
The TaxAssist brand is excellent and allows me to portray a “big” practice feel but with a “smaller” practice price structure – a real winner with the clients! Ongoing training is excellent and I have to say that TaxAssist Accountants seem to have their support structure with franchisees just right – there when you need them but leaving you to run and develop your business when you don’t!
 
I have no doubts I made the right decision and can confidently recommend TaxAssist Accountants.
 
 

FRANCHISEE JOINS EXCLUSIVE 20 CLUB

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A local man providing superb specialist cleaning to homes throughout South Leicester is celebrating his 20th anniversary with Safeclean, becoming the 2nd Safeclean franchisee reach the landmark.

Owning and operating a business takes a lot of hard work, as George quickly discovered when he launched his specialist furnishings cleaning business in South Leicester. “It was a steep learning curve,” George recalls. But despite working hard at developing his business George, who’s now in his sixties, still found time to complete a part-time degree in Humanities graduating in 1997 with a 2:1. “Of course if I’ve needed help with any aspect of the business there’s always been someone on the end of the phone at head office,” he assures.

Following a successful career in the army and two years working in a building society, he decided that he wanted to try something on his own. A franchise was the ideal opportunity for George, who had no management or specific industry experience. “Safeclean were offering a wide range of cleaning services to carpets, upholstery, rugs, curtains and leather that were in demand. I could see the potential to earn a good living.”

Twelve years ago his son joined the business and George is hoping to the leave his Safeclean franchise to him with the opportunity to either carry on earning a good living or to develop the business further and take on employees.

“I really enjoy meeting people,” George reveals. “I get a lot of satisfaction from doing a good job, receiving thank you letters, referrals and hearing the oohs and ahhs when I transform something that is well soiled into something that looks like new.”

For a free no obligation quotation or further information about the services George and Safeclean provide, call Freephone 0800 092 0660

Belvoir franchise provides financial freedom

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LEIGHTON & SUZANNE NORRIS
BELVOIR
NOTTINGHAM CENTRAL
I always had a strong ambition to run my own business and sometimes dared to dream of myself as an entrepreneur. Having discovered Belvoir through a franchise exhibition, Suzanne and I believed we had found our vehicle to achieve our ultimate dream – financial freedom.

 

Our first year targets were a hard slog initially; I had to continually convince new faces to promote my business instead of one of the other 60-plus established agents in Nottingham City. My first year was a great success and we nearly doubled our targets.

In year two we decided to open a second office, and we continued to grow and grow. We were happy with the organic growth and we could see that we had the formula right. We were ahead of all our schedules and the horizon was sunny, so we decided to speculate further by looking to expand by acquisition. After long negotiations with Nottingham’s largest letting agent the business was acquired making Belvoir the major player in Nottingham.

The growth of the business has been phenomenal and I sometimes have to pinch myself to believe what we have achieved. However, there have been many leaps of faith during that time, despite our firm conviction in ourselves and that the franchise was a real winner.

 

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