Request Free Info

Recognition Express Franchise

celebrating 40 years of recognition express

Successfully trading since 1979, previous winner of the coveted bfa Franchise of the Year Award, over 45 franchise territories in the UK and Europe and with multiple revenue streams, Recognition Express is a stalwart of British franchising and is the most successful franchise network for the sector in the UK.

In a market worth an estimated £3billion plus per annum, Recognition Express supplies branded business gifts and promotional products, personalised name badges, staff awards, posters and signs, plus a full range of branded clothing to the widest cross section of companies and organisations in the UK.

Hardworking, ambitious and driven franchisees with good ‘people skills’ are well suited to the ethos of the company and will find the rewards for owning your own business can be substantial.

Walk around your local area and see the opportunities everywhere for badges, branded clothing, promotional products, large format colour posters, corporate gifts and awards. The market is huge, and the good news is that most of the business is repeat business.

In business for yourself not by yourself

With 40 years in business, the Recognition Express Head Office team have a wealth of business experience from sales and marketing to operations to finance to procurement.

Whilst this is YOUR business and it’s YOU who makes the key decisions, we are always on hand with help and advice. More importantly, you have access to the widest range of support to help you manage, grow and develop the business.

You also benefit from the Recognition Express business systems, marketing programmes and collateral and sales tools.

As part of the largest franchise network for corporate merchandise and recognition products you will take advantage of our considerable purchasing power – plus we get best products from the best suppliers, keeping you ahead of the competition.

We are committed to supporting you in all key areas of the business:

  • Integrated business planning
  • Centralised marketing activity
  • Appointment generating programme
  • Ongoing training
  • Financial planning
  • Comprehensive marketing launch programme
  • Annual symposium
  • Monthly magazine
  • Dedicated extranet
  • Help and advice lines
  • Franchisee websites
  • Procurement

examples of recognition express products

Franchise training

Training is comprehensive and extensive, covering all key business areas – marketing, sales, finance, business planning, production, products, pricing etc.

What our franchisees say

“Having been away from the workplace for 18 years, I was apprehensive about starting my own business. The support I have received from Recognition Express has been exceptional, so much so that at the end of my first year I achieved all my financial targets and have made the transition to business owner. The business is going extremely well and the economic climate has not affected my business at all. In fact, people are very aware of the need to promote the business and keep their name out there.”
Jan Chidley, Recognition Express Hull and East Riding

“The support has been first class with excellent material and an ever-improving range of centralised marketing programmes. I can see significant growth and am aiming to take the business to the next level over the next 12 months.”
Sally Findlay, Recognition Express Mid Surrey

Marketing is the cornerstone of every successful B2B business

Recognition Express has extensive marketing experience in the business to business field. We have developed several tried and tested marketing systems and programmes to help franchisees to achieve ‘friction free’ marketing and to get in front of customers – old and new.

All franchisees have access to an extensive and comprehensive collection and range of marketing collateral from sales letters, to email marketing to awareness cards to flyers/leaflets to give-aways to a branded and personalised catalogue. Additionally, we engage professional agencies to coordinate direct marketing activity to prospective customers and generate appointments on your behalf.

Centrally designed, managed and implemented direct marketing programmes form the backbone of the Recognition Express marketing system. These are augmented by high quality literature, marketing tools and ongoing training designed to drive business growth, client contact and brand awareness.

Constantly on the lookout for exciting products and innovations, we invest both the time and money in on-going new product development programmes and in constant R&D, across the whole product range.

examples of recognition express products

What does a Recognition Express franchise cost?

There are two options available with Recognition Express.

  • Some franchisees like to have the ability to print/decorate products ‘on-site’ and as such we provide a comprehensive equipment package as part of the offering.
  • Many other franchisees would much rather spend their hard-earned time speaking with and meeting new and existing customers, building relationships, generating new business and looking after existing orders.  In these cases, franchisees have asked us to remove the equipment package.

The Recognition Express franchise is available for £25,000+VAT*.  

Should you wish to include the equipment package, then the total price is £35,000+VAT*.

*You will be able to reclaim the VAT in your first quarter.

We have excellent relationships with all the major banks and for a business with the history and performance record of Recognition Express we expect the banks to fund at 70% or the total required. If you were looking to fund at £25,000 your personal commitment would be under £8,000+VAT.

Initial franchise package includes:

  • Licence to trade and use the trademarks
  • Marketing Launch Programme
  • Extended training
  • Centralised Marketing programmes
  • Appointment generating system
  • Own website
  • Extensive marketing collateral
  • 250 Recognition Express product catalogues
  • Accounting software
  • Ongoing training; business reviews and network meetings

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for ‘people’ people – good communicators who are comfortable building relationships at all levels.

Successful franchisees are well organised, ambitious, and keen to follow a proven business system.

Leave this field empty

Interested and want to know more?

By filling in the form below, Recognition Express can send you further information on their franchise opportunity and allow you to contact them direct with any questions you may have.

This is FREE and non-obligatory; we never share or sell your personal information.

* Required


Additional Information

Sign up for FREE newsletter with updates on the latest franchise opportunities and news

GDPR. How We Use Your Data

Click here to see how we use the data submitted by you when you enquire about a Franchise.

Click here to see how we use the data submitted by you when you sign up for our newsletter.

At a Glance


Min total investment:

Min contribution:

Development type:

UK presence:
43 franchisees in the UK

Development type:

Franchisee Case Studies

Recognition Express  Franchisee

Growth is on track for Recognition Express franchisee Hugh O’Neill

Facing redundancy after 20 years in a senior role for a contract caterer, Hugh O’Neill decided it was time to invest in his own future. He put his redundancy payment towards the purchase of a Recognition Express franchise in 2010, and he’s set to reach his target ultimate turnover by 2022. When the time is right, he plans to put the business up for sale and enjoy the fruits of his labour during his retirement.

Franchisor Interview

Interview with Nigel Toplis, Recognition Express

Recognition Express

Franchisors name: Nigel Toplis
Name of franchise: Recognition Express

Tell us about how and when Recognition Express was started and the motivation behind establishing the company. 
Recognition Express started in 1979 and this first franchise later became the catalyst for the development of The Bardon Group, Recognition Express’ parent company and now a specialist franchise operator with multiple brands.

In the early days of that first Recognition Express franchise, the focus was very much on the manufacture and distribution of personalised name badges to a range of businesses from public sector organisations such as the police, fire service and local councils, to supermarkets, hotels, airlines and the like.

Recognition Express quickly expanded its product range to include associated products such as door plates and internal signage. Product demand grew rapidly across the UK and by 2001 we were supporting and helping to grow no less than 18 franchises.

This stability enabled the business to explore the huge market that was, and still is, promotional products.

I joined the company at the end of 2002 a hugely challenging and transitional time for the business. With a clear strategy agreed, we began a strategic realignment to ensure that our franchisees could take advantage of emerging revenue streams. By increasing both the volume and quality of these revenue streams we saw results immediately with further growth and increased profitability. This strategy has become the bedrock of our business.

The “big three” as we now refer to them are corporate branded clothing, promotional products and personalised name badges, but we also offer an extensive range of banners, posters, awards, business gifts and more.

As leaders in the promotional product market we ensure we are always up to date with industry trends and emerging business needs.  A growing awareness of the environment has led to a surge in demand for products that minimise single use plastics such as drinking cups and carrier bags, placing drinking vessels and cotton ‘bags for life’ amongst our top selling products.

This revenue stream mix enables all Recognition Express franchises to continue to deliver what has long been and will continue to be our key business motivation, and that is exceptional customer choice and service.

What have been Recognition Express’ biggest achievements/successes to date so far?

The realignment and re-engineering of our business model was a major task and absolutely critical in ensuring a growing and robust business. While it was undoubtedly challenging it is a measure of our success that we now have 41 Recognition Express franchises covering the length and breadth of the country.

But it is about more than just the numbers. Our franchisees not only enjoy enviable profitability within their businesses, but Recognition Express offers career longevity. Many of our newest franchisees are resales due to retirement, a testament to the loyalty within our business and one of our biggest achievements.

What challenges have you had to overcome?

The mix of political and economic uncertainty that has dominated the business climate over the past few years has presented a number of challenges for all businesses.

SMEs have been hit particularly hard with the number of new business registrations falling and those ceasing to trade on the rise. What Recognition Express has found however, is that while SMEs in general have suffered, entrepreneurial spirit continues to thrive leading to growth in the self-employed sector. The franchise sector bucks the trend of business failures with a less than 1% of franchise businesses closing due to commercial collapse.

What marketing/promotional tools do you use to grow your franchise? 

Marketing the business, creating awareness, promoting the brand, communicating with customers, building brand credibility and establishing Recognition Express as the brand of 1st choice. These are all critical to the success of our franchisees.

We have established and proven marketing systems targeted at:

  • Promoting Brand Awareness
  • Business Prospecting
  • Creating Brand Value
  • Developing Key Accounts

Our very own A, B, C, D of business development.

Systems are augmented by regular communication with franchisees including:

  • 1-2-1 Business Reviews
  • Internal monthly newsletter
  • Network Meetings
  • Symposium

In addition, all our franchisees have access to an extensive toolbox of marketing collateral (leaflets, brochures, catalogue, sales letters, price guidelines, awareness cards) and are invited to take part in centrally controlled marketing programmes including:

  • Appointment generating
  • Direct mailing campaigns
  • Email marketing

All these tools go hand in hand with our ongoing franchisee support across the whole spectre of business disciplines – from marketing to finance to procurement to training to sales to business operations, ensuring our franchisee are always best placed to take advantage of being the ‘best of breed’ in our marketplace.

What differentiates Recognition Express from your competitors?

Two words - customer focus! Our business is about solving problems, providing solutions and building long term solid relationships with customers. And we are better at doing these things than our competitors. It really is that simple.

What changes have you seen in your industry over recent years? And how have you adapted to them?

Self-employment has risen dramatically over recent years. In the three months to June 2019 the overall number of self-employed workers increased by 15,000 to 4.9 million and this has had a positive effect on franchising.

While other businesses may have been making redundancies to weather the recent economic challenges, three quarters of all franchises employ staff and Recognition Express franchises are no exception. With an estimated £17 billion contribution to the UK economy, it is easy to see why franchisees are the unsung heroes of national business.

Another key factor that has worked for us is that rather than selling to a price during recession, we have continued to sell on the value we can add to the customer, taking the view that if you resort to selling on price then you become a commodity player and you have no competitive advantage.

What does the future hold for Recognition Express?

We have a highly professional and receptive network of franchise owners supported by suppliers who understand both the products and our market and who treat our franchise owners as the managing directors that they are. This combination means Recognition Express is perfectly placed to enjoy a very profitable future.

What expansion plans have you got nationally and internationally? 

We do not intend to expand internationally. The UK franchise market is thriving. 60% of franchise units nationwide have an annual turnover of more than £250k according to the bfa and Natwest’s 2018 Franchise Landscape report. Plus, there is excellent profitability within the sector. By offering supported self-employment through franchising, Recognition Express has set its sights on continued domestic growth and further embedding its position as the leader in its field.

What advice would you give to someone considering franchising their business?

Firstly, take professional advice which, in the first instance, should be a thorough evaluation of your business so that you get an unbiased assessment of whether franchising is a viable option and, critically, roughly what the launch cost would be.

You also need to be prepared to invest significant money and therefore the business needs to be financially healthy for franchising to work. And finally, be prepared for growth of the network to be modest at first – start small but aim big!



Bardon Group Succession Plan on Track

The UK’s leading franchising specialist, The Bardon Group has announced major board-level changes.

More news from Recognition Express