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Resales are a Franchising Fact of Life

Established business or new-start? Resales are a franchising fact of life.

As franchise businesses grow, it is inevitable that franchisees will leave from time to time. Some will find that being your own boss is not as easy as they imagined, others will fail to meet their own, or their franchisor’s, objectives.

But even successful franchisees move on for a variety of reasons.

Minster Cleaning Services has been involved in franchising for twelve years and today has an annual turnover of £26 million from its 40 branch network. During this time several franchisees have sold their businesses but, remarkably, none of them has ever had to leave through failure.

Minster boss, Alan Haigh sees resales as a blessing in disguise, “I used to be concerned about losing good franchisees but these days I am much more relaxed about it. A new franchisee can often give an area a boost, even if it has previously been very successful and, it is good to see franchisees achieving their goals, whether it is retiring like our former North Glasgow franchisees or emigrating like our Derby franchisee.”

As a prospective franchisee should you opt for a resale or go for a completely fresh start?

The answer to this largely depends on your personal circumstances. Initial outlay for an established franchise is always going to be more than for a new-start, but this is balanced by the fact that an existing business should be able to provide you with an income from day-one. If you decide to take over an area which hasn’t been very successful previously, it is absolutely crucial that you ensure that the area has the potential to be viable in the right hands.

Out with the old...

Doug Woolmer and Liz Symcox will realise their ambition when they retire to an old Victorian mansion on the peaceful Isle of Bute, just over six years after starting the Glasgow North franchise for Minster.

According to Doug, there is a still a superb opportunity to carry on where they have left off, “Around 140 contracts produced our annual £600,000 turnover and an excellent net profit. Yet, with thousands of small to medium sized businesses within the territory, there is still huge potential for growth. A turnover of £1 million plus is perfectly achievable for this area.

“The biggest challenges for anyone in this business revolve around dealing with large numbers of staff from a low skill base. We have overcome most of these problems by the introduction of high calibre supervisory staff and by placing a great deal of emphasis on staff training. We employ over 100 staff and have built up a team which is committed to providing quality service to all our customers.”

In with the new…

Motherwell born, Jim Wotherspoon is the ‘new broom’ in Minster’s Glasgow North area and, whilst he is looking forward to putting his sales and managerial skills to work, he does not intend to make any major changes to the way the business operates, “This is a sound business with a very loyal and competent workforce. Initially, I am going to spend time getting to know them, speaking to our customers and making sure that the stable relationships which have been established remain in place.

“A thorough training course at Minster’s head office and time spent with a existing Minster franchisees has helped me to become familiar with the systems and procedures and Doug and Liz are working with me in the short term to smooth the transition.

“Once I have settled in, I will step up the marketing activity and start to use my contacts in the area to take the business on to the next level. My target is to double the turnover within three years. ”

40 year old Jim, who is married with daughters aged 12 and 10, began his career as an apprentice with coal mining equipment manufacturer, Anderson Strathclyde moving from there to Ferranti and then into a sales role with R D Taylor, a manufacturer of high tech materials for the electronics industry, doubling the company’s turnover before leaving to set up his own electronics company at which annual turnover peaked at $50 million.

At the same time as he was building up his electronics company, Jim and his wife were also establishing a successful pub business where they quadrupled sales in five years before selling it to a brewery.

After looking at a variety of businesses including pubs, retail and numerous franchise opportunities, Jim chose Minster, “The Cumbernauld location of the branch is perfect with plenty of manpower on the doorstep and a massive untapped market within easy reach. The fact that the business is low-tech and virtually recession-proof was also important to me.”

Jim also took to Alan Haigh describing him as a ‘straight-shooter’ who has built an efficient and well-run business, “As the company has grown, Alan has invested heavily into systems and recruitment and yet the business has managed to retain a definite family feel.”

Haigh confesses to being very relieved to meet Jim, “I knew almost immediately that Jim was the right kind of person for us and I’m confident that he will be very successful. ”

Wayne’s off to a world down under

After six years in Minster’s Derby franchise, Wayne Malpas is selling up to move back to his native Australia to where his wife, who works for the worldwide accountancy and professional services provider, Deloitte, has been promoted.

Wayne set up the franchise in September 1998 and has seen steady growth throughout the six years, achieving a turnover this year of over £xxxxx. The branch has also benefited from very low staff turnover levels, a factor which has led to them having the best record for customer retention in the group.

Asked what he believes are the main strengths of the Derby franchise, Wayne says that they are the growth potential, the excellent reputation that Minster has built up and the high quality staff, “This is an area where there are large numbers of small to medium sized businesses. Just by carrying on with the marketing programme, turnover should reach the £1 million mark within a couple of years.”

Franchisees are the Future

The quality of Minster’s franchisees has been key to the company’s success and their plans to grow turnover to £50 million over the next few years are largely dependent on them continuing to attract people who have management ability coupled with the drive to succeed in business for themselves.

There are currently new franchise opportunities in the Aberdeen, Doncaster, Durham, Guildford, Jersey, London, Peterborough and Swansea areas and Minster’s Derby and Sheffield branches are available as a resale.

For details of resales or new branch opportunities, contact Minster Services Group on 0121 386 1722 for an information pack or a copy of their new CD-ROM, or visit their web site: http:/www.minstergroup.co.uk

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