Just Shutters Franchisee Case Study Feed

Last updated: 18-December-2020

Just Shutters franchise offers work life balance for London media executive - 18-December-2020


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Having been made redundant twice in quick succession and disillusioned with the London media landscape, Simon Broadhurst decided to get out of the rat race and grab a better work life balance with his wife Gina and young family.

Having identified the positive statistics around success rates of franchising versus independent start-ups, as well as less risk and infinitely more support, they decided to focus their research on franchise opportunities.  Searching by budget available, location and sector, Just Shutters, the largest independent shutter specialist in the UK, popped up!

“Shutters was a product that we could be passionate about as we love design and interiors.  It fitted my skill set as I’m practical and enjoy DIY and working with my hands. We researched and established that the shutter category is a fast-growing market and we were sure it would be very appealing to our local area. We liked what we heard at the initial meeting; we bought into the brand and the way Chris (Franchisor) spoke about his aspirations for the company. We especially liked the level of support available through Sales Support and it set Just Shutters apart from other franchise opportunities on the market.”

Using their life savings and a small loan they purchased Just Shutters Surrey in March 2017. Initially Gina stayed in the Corporate world but after the first year of trading, she also made the leap to join the family business.

“My initial training was excellent.  The team were all very accommodating and helpful. Even down to the master fitter from Dorset coming out with me on my first few fits. Then when Gina joined the business, she also visited the team in Dorset and did some further training in product knowledge and the back-office products.”

We asked them to describe their day-to-day role as a franchisee, “It is busy but rewarding.  When I was running the business single-handedly the days became long, but it was very satisfying doing the job beginning to end.  Having the satisfaction of a job well done and the 5-star customer reviews and recommendations. Now we are a team (including our two Fitters), we can carve out clear roles for each person and divide the workload to grow the business.”

Like with any new business start-up, challenges exist.  Simon and Gina gave us a good outline of the challenges they overcome.

Rapid growth – In Year 1, if I was fitting shutters, I could not be selling shutters, as time moved on there was a chance that we were going to grind to a halt, so we needed to create more capacity. In the space of 18 months we moved from being a one-man business run solely by myself to a company actively run by its two Directors and with an Employee.  We have learned that you need to be brave and take calculated risks, have the vision to spot potential problems and mitigate them well in advance.  The recruitment and training process took time so if we had waited until the recruitment need was urgent, we would have seriously handicapped our business.

Sticking to your budget – we regularly review our budget and reconcile against actual performance so we can identify any over/under spend.  It is crucial that we cut costs when necessary but also release more funds into the budget if we over perform.

Marketing ROI – it can be counter-intuitive, but we have learned to spend on Marketing even when there is a dip in revenue.  We are a relatively new business and we need to build brand awareness and visibility in the local market, though Marketing can be viewed as a cost to a business, we have concluded that it is an important investment. That said, we regularly review the ROI on our Marketing activities, channel by channel, and if something isn’t working, we cut if off the plan.  Equally if it is bearing fruit, we will release more funds to expand this channel.”

Life has changed for Simon and Gina since becoming franchisees.  “We no longer commute to London nor use childcare for our children before and after school.  We have more flexibility to see those all-important assemblies and school plays whenever they come up. We are building something for ourselves and have the satisfaction of employing two people. We work hard but feel proud of our achievements and a greater sense that we are the masters of our own destiny. We won Best Home Improvement Provider in the Essential Surrey Awards 2019 which is something we are immensely proud of.”

For anyone else thinking of buying a franchise, Simon and Gina give this advice, “Do your research, be realistic with your business plan and ensure you have enough working capital to get up and running. If you believe in what you are doing – be brave.

We believe a successful Just Shutters franchisee is committed, hard-working, buys into the master brand, is prepared to take controlled risks, has a sense of humour and is a team player.”

The future looks very bright for Simon and Gina with them outlining a several achievable objectives:

  • Become the No 1 choice for shutters in Surrey
  • Continue to grow the business with higher turnover and consistent margin
  • Increase our conversion rate and average order value
  • Drive growth though more commercial work and higher levels of affiliate partnerships
  • Hit £1 Million turnover by Y5

So, if you had to do it all again, what would you do differently? “Be braver. Take on a part time Fitter earlier in the process. Define the role of the Sales Manager, someone in the office to chase up quotes and speak to customer’s every day, put this into action earlier on. Put simply, accept this can be a one-man business but to deliver our ambitious growth plans this was not the best option for us.”


"Freedom to set our own schedules has changed our lives!" -


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Name: Brooke and Tom Parrott

Location: Herts

Franchise: Just Shutters

Date launched the franchise: Purchased September 2018

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying your Just Shutters franchise business?

Tom has an extensive background in the shutter business having worked for his parents who owned a shutter business in Florida. Tom helped to build the shutters as well as selling and measuring.  

Can you also tell us about the franchise you have bought?

Founded in 2006, Just Shutters is the UK’s largest independent shutter specialist.  In our own business, Tom is out measuring, installing and ordering, and Brooke is doing the taxes, invoicing, follow ups and advertising etc.

Why did you go down the franchise route? What made you choose your industry? And why did you choose a Just Shutters franchise?

The security of a customer base, flexibility and satisfaction of having your own business.

Been in the industry for over 15 years

Great brand, excellent product and good team

How did you raise the finance?

We used cash from the sale of our house in Florida to purchase and start up the franchise.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?

We were provided with training on ordering, measuring and fitting as well as running a business.

How would you describe your day-to-day role as a franchisee?

Busy! Measure/fit during the day, orders at night.  Brooke does follow ups during the day along with other office duties.

What challenges have you faced?

Learning how to keep our heads above water in very busy periods, and how to also survive slow periods financially.

Measuring, fitting and ordering – basically having to learn an entirely new system. In Florida, almost all windows were perfectly square and straightforward. Not here!

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

Yes it has given us the freedom to set our own schedules (most of the time) and has helped us financially.

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

“Hard work pays off”

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?  

Dedication and sacrifice.

What are your plans for the future?

To grow the business and take on a fitter, and of course, make more money.

If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?

We would have put more time and effort into marketing.

Just Shutters are actively recruiting new franchisees across the UK, learn more here!


"The brand, system and support was really appealing" -


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Name: Paul & Lisa Wells

Location: Yorkshire & Humberside

Franchise: Just Shutters

Date launched the franchise: May 2019

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

I was employed as a General Manager for various supermarkets, the most recent 12 years for Aldi and then Lidl. I am married to Lisa, and we have 5 children (4 daughters and 1 son).

Can you also tell us about the franchise you have bought?

Just Shutters are the largest independent shutter company in the UK, supplying premium plantation shutters to customers. Linked with their excellent customers service, it is a winning combination!

Why did you go down the franchise route? What made you choose your industry? And why did you choose your franchise?

After 23 years in the retail industry I decided to get out, I wanted to go down the self employed route – however going from a salaried income meant I needed to do something I could get up and running fairly quickly. I chose plantation shutters as all the elements suited my skill set (I have always done a lot with my hands, I understand company administration, I am good face to face with customers etc). I chose Just Shutters after significant research, I spoke to several existing owners. The brand, system and support was really appealing, after meeting the head office team Lisa and I knew it was the right fit for us. A real family feel with understanding and support clear and evident.

How did you raise the finance?

By inviting my parents to be shareholders, no external finance used.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?

Just Shutters were willing to provide as much training as required, I felt comfortable with the product, process and systems quite quickly – but if I needed more I could have had it. As with anything, there is a lot of learning once you are out there doing it – the support is always there and any difficulties are answered/solved.

How would you describe your day-to-day role as a franchisee?

As I am still in my first year I would describe it as “I do everything” – design/sales/administration/communication/installation/aftercare… And I love it! Learning daily!

What challenges have you faced?

Cashflow is the biggest challenge to any new company, and has been for me. I have lost sleep over it at times – my parents were in business for many years and have told me they too lost sleep many times!

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

Massively – I never saw my family before, now I spend every weekend with them, do some morning school runs, some school pick ups. There is a feeling of pride too, and excitement due to being in control of your own destiny.

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

Research a lot to find the right fit, talk to other owners. It is not something you can just change your mind about a few months in!

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?  

Work ethic, passion, personal strength of character.

What are your plans for the future?

To continue to grow my business. First employee late in year 2.

If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?

Honestly, nothing comes to mind. Really happy with what I do :)

Just Shutters are recruiting franchsees across the UK. Learn how you can join Just Shutters here!