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South West England news and case studies:

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

Subway opens first drive-thru in the south of England

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Subway’s first drive-thru site in the south of England has opened at a new development in Swindon. Conveniently located underneath a Travelodge hotel, which makes up part of the new development, the new drive-thru Subway provides drivers and hotel residents easy access to a wide selection of great value Subs, Salads and wraps.

As well as a drive-thru, the Subway store provides seating for 32 and features Subway’s Fresh Forward design, offering guests an enhanced brand experience, a bright new colour palette and clean lines. The new store has also generated employment for the local community, creating 10 new jobs (full and part-time).  

The new store on Barnfield Close in Swindon is owned by franchise owners, Steve and Sue Pasco. The duo currently own 15 Subway stores in Bristol and surrounding areas and are also Business Development Agents for Subway in the Bristol and West region. Business Development Agents have specific experience in opening and developing Subway franchises and offer support and assistance to franchise owners with everything from site selection, leasing, operations and much more.

Sue Pasco, Subway franchise owner and Business Development Agent, said: “We’re delighted to have opened our first drive-thru store and also the first for Subway in the south of England! The store is in a great location, situated on a busy main road and close to a retail park – perfect for hungry shoppers and passers-by to stop in for a quick and convenient meal or snack. Being right next-door to a Travelodge also opens up another customer base, and with our menu ranging from breakfast to dinner, hotel guests can enjoy a huge choice and variety without compromising on taste and value.”

The store marks Subway’s sixth drive-thru site to open in the UK and Ireland, with existing drive-thrus located in Rochdale, Salford, Wakefield, Guisborough and Belfast.

Colin Hughes, Country Director for Subway UK and Ireland, commented: “Subway is always looking for great locations to open new stores. Drive-thru sites open up new possibilities for our guests, in that they don’t even need to leave the comfort of their own car to enjoy our wide product range. Guests will also be able to take advantage of our exciting new products and deals, such as our new Vegan Sub and Salad and Ultimate Cheesy Garlic Bread, giving our guests amazing value and more choice at all times of the day.”  

With more than 2,500 Subway stores open across the UK and Ireland and over 43,000 stores in over 110 countries, Subway is the world’s largest sandwich franchise.

Barnstaple couple open their own Driving Miss Daisy franchise

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Name: Mark Jones and Sharon Hunt
Franchise: Driving Miss Daisy
Location: Barnstaple, North Devon
Date franchise launched: June 2018

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying your Driving Miss Daisy franchise business?
Mark - I worked as a Software Developer, Application Support Analyst and IT Manager prior to semi-retiring in April 2017. My partner, Sharon, worked as an Administrator for a local College for over 20 years and gave that up to be a Bookkeeper two years ago.

Why did you go down the franchise route?  And why did you choose the care industry?
As we had never run a business before we wanted the reassurance of the experience and know how to rely on. We knew we could make use of all that advice and backing as well as the strong and growing brand. There was also all the ideas, processes and concepts to follow which were structured and relatively easy to follow and all we had to do was put the effort in and make it happen. We were also introduced to other franchisees who were successful and were only too willing to provide support and advice as well.

We were only too well aware of how many start-up businesses fail in their first year, so we wanted to be part of something that was already a success.

The reason we chose this industry was because we felt that we could give something back to the community and do something that is personally rewarding as well as providing us with an income.

The reason we chose Driving Miss Daisy® was because of the concept and strong brand and because it was becoming more successful. We are also treating this an investment as we hope to grow into something that will be truly a good proposition for someone else to take on when we come to retire.

How did you raise the finance? What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
We raised the finance through savings and cashing in a pension. We received three-day’s training at Head Office in Portsmouth which included Franchise strategy, policy and concepts as well as first-aid training, safeguarding children and wheelchair accessibility training.

We are continually guided, monitored and mentored by senior staff, and we are also encouraged to make contact with other franchisees for support and advice, which we do. They are all very willing to pass on their experience and knowledge which is tremendous and makes it feel like we are part of our own little community.

We also have a Client Services team at the Head Office who support all our franchisees and take calls for us as well as informing clients of our services before passing them onto us.

How would you describe your day-to-day role as a Driving Miss Daisy franchisee? What challenges have you faced?
Chief Cook and Bottle Washer! Basically, anything that needs doing needs to be done by either myself or Sharon. This ranges from providing the actual services, i.e. driving and companionship, to pricing, marketing, administration, bookkeeping, booking jobs, leafletting, etc. Challenges are making people aware of our service, so marketing and networking.

We are not sales people so selling the brand was difficult to start with and putting yourself into uncomfortable situations just has to be done to get the message out there.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how? What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise?
Very much so, as now we only get out what we put in and it’s all down to us. We try not to let it go too far but it does dominate our thinking nearly all the time, but you have to make time for yourselves to give you a balance in your life. It’s nice to know that your decisions dictate your future and having that control is very satisfying as well as daunting at times! Our advice; only take up a franchise if you know exactly what you can lose, and you can cope with that. Don’t risk everything!

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?
We’re not entitled to give an opinion on that yet as we are too early in our journey to be judged to be successful, but hopefully one day we will!

To find out more about Driving Miss Daisy click here

Exclusive Interview: "We wanted to make a real difference in our community."

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Driving Miss Daisy® Bath is one of our first franchises to launch in 2019 and is run by husband and wife team Sarah and Jo Webb. Sarah answered some questions on their reasons behind opening the franchise, their experiences and what’s worked well for them so far.

What attracted you to Driving Miss Daisy®?

We were both attracted to Driving Miss Daisy® as we realized it was a service we would like for our parents and children. We have both run our own business for many years and there was something about Driving Miss Daisy® that chimed with our feelings of wanting to make a real difference in our communities, particularly in challenging times when families are juggling the demands of caring for both children and elderly relatives whilst working, especially if they do not live close by.

Has there been anything unexpected that’s surprised you?

Where do I start?

We were told by other franchisees that we would become integral to the lives of our clients. Whilst we understood this conceptually it wasn’t until we started, that we truly began to understand the power of the service and how close we would become to our clients in many instances becoming firm friends. We get as excited as they do when we are taking them for outings or on holidays.

What’s your experience been like so far?

Our experience so far has been amazing, because of family circumstances last year we had to delay the launch of our business and the team at Driving Miss Daisy® could not have been more helpful and supportive. When we finally agreed a date to launch, everything was in place to get the wheels turning and the support from the Client Services Centre, adjacent franchisees, our designated mentor and from the Driving Miss Daisy® management was exemplary and ensured that we moved into operational status with the least amount of fuss and bother.

What’s worked well in promoting Driving Miss Daisy® in your area?

We have spoken to lots of social groups and organizations in our area and without exception they have all told us that they are glad we are here, as specialist transportation is a massive problem for all of them. We have pushed how truly flexible we can be and how clients must use us like family. We recently attended the Bath and NE Somerset Dementia Action Alliance - Dementia Friendly Conference at the Guildhall in Bath on the 7th February. The reception we got was beyond our wildest dreams and we are now running to catch up as orders have flooded in from a range of organizations who support people and families of people living with dementia. We are already looking to expand our fleet with more wheelchair accessible vehicles and companion drivers.

What would you say to someone thinking about opening a Driving Miss Daisy® franchise?

They have to realize that we are definitely not a taxi service. Whilst the vehicle and transportation is at the centre of our activities we also provide companion only services, twilight support to individuals and families and an integrated holiday service with partner organizations such as Mind For You, Disabled Holidays, Enable Holidays, and Limitless Travel to name but a few. To those starting out I would say, spend time really getting to understand the value of our service to our clients as it takes a while for this to sink in. Go out of your way for people, then they soon realize we are not taxis. The courtesy phone call the night before is essential for you and them. If family book you for a relative, give them a follow up email or call to tell them how well the trip went and thank them for their business.

Anything else you’d like to say about being a Driving Miss Daisy® Franchisee?

Our biggest tip is to follow what you are told in training. The training is excellent and based upon over 100,000 journeys so listen and implement because it works and it works well.

Buy into a brand that partners with one of the leading confectionery brands in the world

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Name: Kevin & Rose Hooper
Location: Plymouth & Cornwall
Franchise: Snack in the Box
Date launched the franchise: June 2007

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying your Snack in the Box franchise?
We had a newsagent, confectioners and tobacconist for 16 years and we sold that and moved into a smaller house which we worked on for twelve months and then started to look around for a small business for us both to work in.

Why did you go down the franchise route initially? And why did you choose a Snack in the Box franchise?
It was a readymade business which we could walk into and it was dealing with all the products we were used to as well as dealing with the public which is again what we are used to.

Why have you decided to sell your business?
Unfortunately, Mrs Hooper is now unable to work due to ill-health and can not leave the house on her own so needs constant care.

What’s the key selling points of your business?

  • Instant cash return from day one.
  • All well known brands of confectionery and snacks.

What support should the new franchisee expect to receive?
Snack in the Box will always be at the end of the phone be it a technical problem with a vending machine or just any general inquiry. There is an area manager who gives you full support.

What are the other benefits of buying a resale?
The business is already up and running to just walk into and have instant return. And you can make it into what you want it to be.

What is a typical day for you as a franchisee?
I usually leave about 7.15 and visit about 25 customers; they are a mixture of box vending, slimline and large vending machines. Check the stock in them all and refill clean and empty the cash from each machine. Returning home between 2 & 3 pm. On returning spend an hour preparing my van for the next day.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
It has given us plenty of flexibility so we can arrange our day and working week to suit us.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise? 
Embrace the freedom and make it work for you.

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?  
To be able to work on your own and to enjoy the freedom it gives you.

Find out more about this Snack in the Box franchise for sale in Cornwall

Exclusive Interview: "I have a much better work-life balance. I feel much better in mind and body."

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Name:  Mark Pascoe

Location: West Plymouth
Date launched the franchise: April 2017

Mark worked in the construction industry on and off for over 20 years when an accident at work left him needing an operation and 3 months off work. In this time, he was able to start thinking about his future, and that’s when he noticed an advert for Ovenclean in a National newspaper.

“When I saw the advert I visited the website, and after reading some case studies, decided to give them a ring for more information. I had been self-employed before so understood the concept of working for myself and being my own boss, which is why the opportunity really appealed to me.“

“Starting out, I spent two weeks on the job training with an established Franchisee, which was the best training I’ve had. The follow up support from HQ was spot-on with daily conversation for the first couple of weeks, followed by regular contact. I know they are always available when I need them.”

“After my injury at work I now suffer from Rheumatoid arthritis which, although under control, has its limits. An Ovenclean franchise offers the opportunity for flexible work hours, meaning you can do as much or as little as you want. As with any business, you get out what you put in. For me, I work around 2 – 3 bookings a day which is comfortable for me to maintain with my arthritis. Working the hours I want, and that suit my health, means I now have a much better work-life balance. I feel so much better in mind and body”

"I now have a much better work-life balance. I feel so much better in mind and body”

“In my previous role I was always under stress to meet deadlines which were unrealistic. With Ovenclean, I can enjoy going to work knowing that each day I will be meeting new people, going to new places, and get satisfaction from delivering a job well done. I’m fortunate enough now to not be under pressure to undertake any more work, although I know it is there if I want it.”

“Of course, there are also challenges. You have to be focused and understand your costs when running a business. Although you can be flexible with the work you book, you have to maintain the appointments coming in to keep the wheels turning and the  earnings coming in to pay your bills. Self-employment is not for the faint-hearted, it takes hard work.”

“In my opinion, a successful franchisee would be hard-working, focused, and be able to use all the things you have learnt over your lifetime (good, bad or indifferent) to your advantage now you are the boss.”

We asked Mark what advice he would give to someone looking to buy their first franchise.

“Don't just dream it, do it. If you’re motivated, want to be your own boss, enjoy meeting people and are not easily fazed, I can’t think of a better way of building a new business.”

“Nothing happens overnight. My plan from day one was 5 years of hard graft. I’m now into my second year and loving every minute of it; building my business, growing my client base and now reaping the re-cleans on a regular basis. My only regret is that I didn't see this opportunity earlier in my working life.”

Learn more about franchise opportunties with OvenClean by downloading a prospectus here!

Making a different in North Devon with a Driving Miss Daisy Franchise

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Name: Mark Jones and Sharon Hunt
Location: Barnstaple, North Devon
Franchise: Driving Miss Daisy
Date launched the franchise: June 2018

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying your Driving Miss Daisy franchise business?
I worked as a Software Developer, Application Support Analyst and IT Manager prior to semi-retiring in April 2017. My partner Sharon worked as an Administrator for a local College for over 20 years and gave that up to be a Bookkeeper two years ago.

Sharon and I have always been interested in running our own business and we were gently looking around when we stumbled across Driving Miss Daisy. It immediately grabbed our interest with the concept and how we could make a difference to people’s lives in our community which would be personally rewarding as well as satisfying our ambition of running our own business.

Can you also tell us about the Driving Miss Daisy franchise
Our franchise is Driving Miss Daisy which was brought to the UK in 2015 and now has 30 franchises throughout the country.

It is a unique Companionship and Driving Service for the young, elderly, vulnerable and essentially people who are unable to drive and want to retain their independence. It is a trusted service offering much more than just transportation. We collect you, drive you to and from your destination and provide assistance with mobility, giving you peace of mind.

We help with appointments, i.e. doctors, hairdressers, dentists etc, social outings, shopping trips, delivering children to and from school or activities, supporting clients with special needs, taking pets to the vets etc.

All our drivers our enhanced DBS certified, private hire licenced, first-aid trained and dementia friends.

We’re family when family can’t be there.

Why did you go down the franchise route? What made you choose the care industry? And why did you choose a Driving Miss Daisy franchise?
We were always suspicious of franchises and were a bit sceptical until we had our initial talks with the Business Development Director of Driving Miss Daisy. He reassured us that it would not be a case of handing over your money and then you get on with it and that has not been the case for sure.

We also spent a day at the Head Office being shown around and introduced to prominent members of staff which was really useful.

As we had never run a business before we wanted the reassurance of the experience and know how to rely on. We knew we could make use of all that advice and backing as well as the strong and growing brand. There was also all the ideas, processes and concepts to follow which were structured and relatively easy to follow and all we had to do was put the effort in and make it happen. We were also introduced to other franchisees who were successful and were only too willing to provide support and advice as well.

We were only too well aware of how many start-up businesses fail in their first year so we wanted to be part of something that was already a success.

The reason we chose this industry was because we felt that we could give something back to the community and do something that is personally rewarding as well as providing us with an income.

The reason we chose Driving Miss Daisy was because of the concept and strong brand and because it was becoming more successful. We are also treating this an investment as we hope to grow into something that will be truly a good proposition for someone else to take on when we come to retire.

How did you raise the finance?
Through savings and cashing in a pension

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
We received 3 days training at Head Office in Portsmouth which included Franchise strategy, policy and concepts as well as first-aid training, safeguarding children and wheelchair accessibility training.

We are continually guided, monitored and mentored by senior staff. And we are also encouraged to make contact with other franchisees for support and advice which we do and they are all very willing to pass on their experience and knowledge which is tremendous and makes it feel like we are part of our own little community.

We also have a Client Services team at the Head Office who support all our franchisees and take calls for us as well as informing clients of our services before passing them onto us

How would you describe your day-to-day role as a franchisee?
Chief Cook and Bottle Washer! Basically, anything that needs doing needs to be done by either myself or my partner. This ranges from providing the actual services, i.e. driving and companionship, to pricing, marketing, administration, bookkeeping, booking jobs, leafletting etc.

What challenges have you faced?
Making people aware of our service so marketing and networking.

We are not sales people so selling the brand was difficult to start with and putting yourself into uncomfortable situations just has to be done to get the message out there.

People we know we can help by buying into our concepts

It has made us work hard as we have had to go through local Council Driver Licencing which can be rigorous.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
Very much so, as now we only get out what we put in and it’s all down to us. We try not to let it go too far but it does dominate our thinking nearly all the time but you have to make time for yourselves to give you a balance in your life. It’s nice to know that your decisions dictate your future and having that control is very satisfying as well as daunting at times

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise? 
Only take up a franchise if you know exactly what you can lose and you can cope with that. Don’t risk everything!

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?  
I’m not entitled to give an opinion on that yet as we are too early in our journey to be judged to be successful but hopefully one day we will.

What are your plans for the future?
Our plans for the future are to scale up and have Daisy cars situated in strategic parts of our area so that we can better serve the whole of North Devon instead of just Barnstaple and the surrounding areas.

If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?
It’s a bit too early to ask that really and I think at the stage we are at we wouldn’t have done anything differently. Ask me again in a year’s time!

From banking to private health insurance

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Name: Mark Tomlinson
Location: Gloucestershire, covering Herefordshire, Monmouthshire and Worcestershire
Franchise: WPA Healthcare Practice (Western Provident Association)
Date launched the franchise: September 2010

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying your WPA Healthcare Practice franchise business?
I had spent 27 years in Banking, in TSB initially and then Lloyds TSB since the 1995 merger. I had worked in branch banking for the first 12 years, including four years as a Branch Manager, before moving into a range of different Head Office roles from 1994 onwards. My last few years in the Bank saw me working between Bristol and London.

Can you also tell us about WPA Healthcare Practice?
I am a Senior Healthcare Partner for WPA Healthcare Practice Plc, which effectively means that my role is that of an Account Manager - a combination of taking on new WPA members (individuals, families and SME businesses), and then looking after a growing portfolio with information, advice & support.

Why did you go down the franchise route? What made you choose the private healthcare industry? And why did you choose WPA Healthcare Practice franchise?
I was attracted to Franchising as I wanted to build my own business over time, but with the support/reassurance of an established business/operating model.

I didn’t so much choose the industry initially, but was very impressed with WPA as a business/Franchisor. Partly because of the fact that WPA are a not-for-profit Provider, and the positive impact this has on their ethos, and partly down to the obvious quality of the organisation and the other Franchisees that I met whilst undertaking my due diligence.

That said, my family and I had benefitted significantly from Private Health Insurance whilst in the Corporate world, so I was already a very positive advocate for the need to take responsibility for our own healthcare for greater choice/control, even though the NHS is a tremendous organisation in very many ways.

How did you raise the finance?
I was able to secure Voluntary Redundancy from LloydsTSB as there was significant restructuring needed following the 2010 Credit Crunch and the disastrous takeover of HBOS.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
Initial training was a mix of pre-training preparation, reading, and product knowledge, followed by an intensive week long residential course and subsequent additional distance-type learning/support. There’s also a well-established Mentor scheme for the first two years, couple with an ongoing Academy for those in their first two years with WPA.

Healthcare Partners also now work towards an appropriate Chartered Insurance Institute qualification over a two year period (and subsequent supporting CPD).

How would you describe your day-to-day role as a WPA Healthcare Practice franchisee?
Initially it was very much a case of raising awareness of WPA and, over time, taking on new Members (both companies and families). For me personally this involved a fair amount of Networking.

The last 4-5 years though have seen that increasingly gravitate towards looking after my growing WPA portfolio, supporting the policy administration, claims and annual policy renewals (and changes), although I still do a degree of networking each week.

What challenges have you faced?
Like most ‘start-ups’ it takes a while to become an established business, and for the peaks/troughs of income vs costs to be less pronounced. My first few years initially were also in the challenging environment of austerity and so it was probably only 2013/14 onwards that I was able to be 100% confident that my business would be sufficiently successful.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
Completely. My working week is generally very varied, and extremely flexible. And I can be confident in the fact that I get out, broadly, what I put into my business in terms of time, effort & focus.

My success is largely down to my own efforts – but coupled with WPA’s excellent products, H/O staff and support for the front-end Healthcare Partners. It’s also very rewarding when Members appreciate the benefits and advice that they’ve received have had a hugely positive impact on their, or their families, health.

I have also been a Senior Healthcare Partner for the last couple of years, which – as a member of the South West leadership team – brings an additional dimension in providing help, advice and support to new Healthcare Partners.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise?
Choose your Franchisor carefully and wisely and then Keep The Faith, as success isn’t instant, but takes a real investment of time and hard work.

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?  
Desire, Persistence, and a genuine Customer Focus – and a successful Franchisor

What are your plans for the future?
To continue to grow my Member Portfolio steadily and organically, whilst ensuring I can maintain excellent levels of service and support for the WPA members I look after. Medium to Long-Term I may well want to look at developing administration/renewals support in my business so that I can gradually switch my balance towards increasing personal time for me and my family, whilst maintaining a successful and stable/growing portfolio.

If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?
I would have maybe put a CRM system in place to support the very significant number of networking events I was attending each week. Not necessarily as relevant now though due to internal WPA developments, and the increasing sophistication of Social Media.

Otherwise I’m extremely happy with how it’s progressed over time and was honoured to have been awarded WPA’s South West Healthcare Partner Of The Year award three years back.

Read more about the WPA Healthcare Practice franchising opportunity

A life changing decision for Creation Station franchisee

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Name: Sharon Keirle
Location: Exminster, Devon
Franchise: The Creation Station Cranbrook and Exminster
Date launched the franchise: July 2016

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying your Creation Station franchise in Devon?
I spent 11 years working for the NHS in public health before retraining as a primary school teacher.

Can you also tell us about the Creation Station franchise?
I bought a Creation Station franchise after wanting to run my own business that would allow me to work with a variety of people in a creative and inspirational way. I wanted something that would allow me to challenge myself and learn how to become a business woman, fit it around my family and encompass the values I believe are important.

Why did you go down the franchise route? What made you choose the children’s art and craft industry? And why a Creation Station franchise?
Having always wanting to run my own business, the reality was very scary. I knew I wanted to run a business that could make a difference to people and allow me to inspire people to be creative and benefit from this. I loved teaching but no longer felt it allowed me the freedom to do this.  I looked long and hard for ‘something’ and when I came across The Creation Station I felt that something finally clicked. They had the same values as I had. The support was second to none. This would be what would allow me to learn all I needed to know with the benefits of a known and respected brand leader.

How did you raise the finance?
Family

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
I received a weeks initial training which was incredible, followed by 3 months of regular support calls and conference calls. There is online support, head office support as and when needed, regular calls and meet ups and our annual conference.

How would you describe your day-to-day role as a franchisee?
Exciting! Every day is a new challenge, whether running classes, marketing, meeting people, planning and expanding my business. I get to choose the income streams I love running and have the opportunity to grow my business to suit me and the changing needs of my family.

What challenges have you faced?
Starting a new business, learning how to market, setting up classes, learning what works, what I enjoy and taking the rough with the smooth. The first year is tough, particularly building up your client base and earning enough money. 

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
It has completely changed it. I feel happy, content, my self-confidence has grown, and I feel excited about the future.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise? 
Research, research and more research. Make sure it can offer what you are looking for and the support needed. Do some leg work to make sure what the franchise promises on, it delivers. Don’t expect it to be a success just because you are using the brand name; this takes hard work, but the rewards are all yours.

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?  
Goal focused, hardworking, prepared for things to go wrong but to be solution oriented.

What are your plans for the future?
I have many ways I want to see my business develop and am proud to be working with head office on developing new initiatives and income streams. I can see many ways I can work on and change my business to adapt to the changing market and have a plan for at elastic the next few years.

If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?
Absolutely nothing. I’m pleased I did my research and did not go into it with rose tinted glasses. I knew it would require hard work and determination and would constantly challenge me.

Read more about The Creation Station Franchising Opportunity

Exclusive interview with No Letting Go's Bath franchisee

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Name: Rachel Farr-Drejer
Location: Bath
Franchise: No Letting Go
Date launched the franchise: 2015

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying your No Letting Go franchise business?
Before buying the franchise I worked within the property sector.  I was looking for a way to build my own business with minimum risk.  I have 2 young children, so the option of working from home, was also important to me.

Can you also tell us about the No Letting Go franchise?
We provide property reports for rental properties.  So before and after a tenancy we conduct an inventory and condition report.  Our clients are letting agents and landlords.  We have bespoke software to assist us in putting the reports together, which makes is easier and quicker

Why did you go down the franchise route? What made you choose the rental industry? And why did you choose a No Letting Go franchise?
I have always been interested in property and setting up my own business.  A franchise is a low risk option, as everything is set up for you.  It also means that you work for yourself but not alone as we have support from head office and neighbouring franchisees.

After conducting some research, it was clear that No Letting Go was the leading supplier, had a great reputation and had developed their own propriety software so it can stay ahead of the competition.

How did you raise the finance?
Via a lender recommended by the franchise.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
I received extensive training ranging from how to conduct the reporting, industry knowledge, technology and business planning.  We also attend specific industry training such as Legionella risk assessments, floor plans and attend quarterly meetings.

How would you describe your day-to-day role as a No Letting Go franchisee?
It’s quite varied, but booking and allocating jobs to my staff, speaking with agents and my team about current work.  Problem solving, and of course I’m always looking to add to my client list.

What challenges have you faced?
Booking in last minute jobs, and juggling appointments can sometimes be challenging.  We never want to turn work down, so we work hard to accommodate the needs of our clients.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
Yes it has, its provided me with huge confidence in my own abilities.  I enjoy running a small team, and I do have flexibility to spend time with my children.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise? 
Do your research on the franchise, speak to other franchisees and make sure that you have the right mindset to build the business yourself.  Having a support network is a great advantage, but you still have to treat it as start up enterprise.

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?
Someone who is determined, a self-starter and loves to please the customer. 

What are your plans for the future?
I am currently looking to purchase a second territory, and replicate the success I have had in Bath.

If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?
I am pretty pleased with the way my business has grown, we are always learning and refining, but I would not change anything.

Read more about nolettinggo Franchising Opportunity

Papa John's Plymouth Store Enjoys Record Sales

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Leading pizza franchise, Papa John’s has named its Plymouth store as the record holder, for the highest ‘pizza sales during one week’ in 2017.  The Mutley Plain outlet is run by franchisees Jo and Austin Boland, who joined Papa John’s in 2013.  The husband and wife team employ around 60 local staff in Mutley Plain plus their new Papa John’s in St Budeaux, also located in Plymouth.
 
Jo Boland explains: “We had been building up to a record week and the return of students to the region late last Spring pushed our pizza sales to the highest level ever!   One challenge we faced is that our Mutley Plain store is one of the smallest Papa John’s in the UK.  Our staff were pretty cosy serving up all the pizzas and so the lack of space was a big driver in opening our second outlet in St Budeaux, at the end of last year.
 
“We have been busy with promotional activity including digital brand awareness, traditional leafleting and we even support a local football team!”
confirms Jo.  “We are now pleased to report both outlets are doing brilliantly and we look forward to growing sales further in the future.”
 
Jo and Austin Boland’s achievement was recognised with a special award at Papa John’s recent Company franchise conference, held in Milton Keynes.  For the first time, Papa John’s entire UK network; including store managers, key staff as well as franchise owners and suppliers, came together to celebrate successes and highlight outstanding team and individual achievements throughout the year at the ‘Champions of Better’ themed event.

Papa John’s is actively recruiting for more enthusiastic franchisees hungry to join the team.

As one of the largest pizza companies in the world, Papa John’s has opportunities for franchisees throughout the UK.  Help is provided with location selection and full turn-key opening of stores.  As a franchise, the Company supplies all the assistance needed to get your successful Papa John’s up and running. 

Successful changeover for TaxAssist Accountants Cheltenham and Gloucester

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Having successfully established TaxAssist Accountants in Gloucester 11 years ago and expanding into Cheltenham last year, Chris Hutchings has sold his business to Rob Little.

Rob has taken over the shops on Bristol Road in Gloucester, and Hewlett Road in Cheltenham, and will continue to look after the specialist needs of small businesses in the local community.

Rob completed his accountancy training with a four-partner firm near Bristol in the early 1990s, before spending two years auditing with Coopers and Lybrand in New Zealand. Rob then moved into industry and has spent most of the past 20 years working in financial roles in the hospitality industry.

Rob commented: “Building my own business and working in the small business community has always been my plan and now just felt like the right time to work closely with this thriving sector. Not only was I born in Gloucester and grew up just down the road, my early professional career was very much focussed on small owner-managed businesses.”

“Having visited the TaxAssist Accountants Support Centre, Chris in his two shops and speaking to his staff, I quickly realised this was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. I’m really enjoying meeting the clients, working with the existing team and I’m looking forward to growing the practice further.”

Chris said: “I’ve really enjoyed my time with TaxAssist and the additional technical and business development training and support have helped me to grow a substantial practice which I’m proud to have built up.

“TaxAssist has expertly guided me through every step of the resale process from providing an initial course on exit planning to assistance in finding a buyer. I could not be happier with the end result”.

Sarah Robertson, Group Business Development Director at TaxAssist Accountants, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Chris and his wife Jill over the years and I’m pleased we were able to assist in finding someone of Rob’s calibre to purchase his practice. We are all looking forward to working with Rob to keep building upon the success of the practice.

“Resale opportunities continue to be a popular avenue for potential franchisees wanting to join TaxAssist, as they are keen to buy into an established business with an income stream, experienced staff, as well as the additional support offered by being a part of a successful franchise network.”

This franchise resale is TaxAssist Accountants’ fourth in the last 12 months, highlighting that after more than 20 years of continuous growth, franchisees are starting to retire, or realise the asset they have grown.

Signs Express Snaps Up New Franchisee

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Signs Express, the UK’s leading signs and graphics franchise, is celebrating 25 years of franchising this year and has just welcomed their newest franchisee, Ben Walker on board.

The brand-new Bristol centre opened in October and is already off to a flying start.

“It’s been a busy month, getting my premises perfect for the launch of the business and I am so excited to get out in the community I love and start making connections.”

Ben has a wealth of experience across many industries from diagnostic sales to most recently running his own Snap-On-Tools franchise, which is already serving him well as the 66th centre within the nationwide Signs Express network.

Managing Director of the Signs Express group, Craig Brown, stated, “Ben is a very hands-on franchisee and is so enthusiastic that we have the utmost confidence in him. His unit looks fabulous and with his background as a previous franchisee at another company makes him the perfect leader for our new branch in Bristol.”

Ben moved to Bristol ten years ago and has a strong affinity to the county, which he is excited to begin operating in. Based on Avonbank Industrial Estate, Signs Express (Bristol) is a newly furbished unit with industry-leading technology, such as the HP Latex 365 wide-format printer that offers faultless print results and the versatility to print on more substrates than ever before.

Ben Walker has also benefitted from the unique offering Signs Express have for all brand-new centres by investing £30k into the business. But reinvesting their entire franchise fee and adding further investment, Signs Express help new franchisees hit the ground running from day one!

If you are looking to be a part of a diverse and profitable industry, be sure to make an enquiry to find out more.

"I wanted a simple to operate, task orientated franchise and the Agency Express model provided that"

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Steve Macqueen became an Agency Express franchisee in January 2017. After spending a number of years in sales for the food and catering industry, Steve was ready for a change of direction and set his sights on owning a business.

Steve began his journey at the 2016 National Franchise Exhibition in Birmingham, where he approached Agency Express looking for his ideal business. After spending time researching the industry and carefully considering his option’s, Steve decided that the Agency Express franchise opportunity met all his requirements.

I wanted a simple to operate, task orientated franchise and the Agency Express model provided that. However, it was the ongoing back up from head office that really appealed to me, specifically the ongoing support with accounts and credit control.

After successfully completing a comprehensive five day training course at head office, Steve he was assisted in the launch of his new business. This included a three day programme of visits to estate agencies in his local area enabling him to make first contact with potential customers. Steve excelled in this area and thrived on meeting people and forging new relationships.

The Agency Express training process is very good. All aspects are covered thoroughly. There was a lot take in but the backup from head office and other franchisees is fantastic, so I felt supported every step of the way.

Less than a year from inception Steve has established a solid base of customers and continues to grow his business. His patient approach in acquiring new business and high standards of service have played fundamental part in his success.

Building my business was slow to begin with but that has now started to come in nicely. The upside of gradually building the business is that I’ve had the chance to adapt the way I work whilst getting progressively busier. Now I really get a buzz when I sign a new customer.

Interview with Pippa Crow, Monkleigh, Oscar Pet Foods

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Name: Pippa Crow
Location: Monkleigh, North Devon
Franchise: Oscar Pet Foods

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying a franchise business?
I worked in the RHS Rosemoor for years, prior to that I worked in a solicitors’ office.

What attracted you to franchising versus started starting up on your own or finding employment?
In one word, security. Knowing that you would have necessary support, back up and knowledge when needed.

Why did you choose Oscars? What research did you undertake?
I had been purchasing the food for 3 years then franchisee who delivered to me said he was moving back up to London so the franchise would be up for sale. I

How did you raise the finance for funding your franchise? Did you use any financial support (grants etc) specific to business startup?
Redundancy package. No grants required.

What training and support did you receive initially from your Franchisor?
A week’s training and the support has never gone away.

What is a typical day for you as a franchisee?
I load my van the night before and once my children have all gone off to their respective schools I go off on my deliveries. My deliveries are usually finished so that I can be back home in time for my children to be coming home from school.

Balancing work and family life is important for all franchisees but more so for working parents, do you think franchising gives a good work and family life balance? Has becoming a franchisee changed you and your family’s life?
Franchising for me does work to give a good work and family life balance. I am home to see them off to school and for when they come back. I am available if they are sick and during the school holidays. They enjoy coming with me to the various shows that I do and helping setting up/clearing away.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give other mums looking to get back into work and considering starting their own business through franchising?
Research and, where possible, speak to franchisees of whatever business you are thinking of entering into

What are your plans for the future?
To try and further expand my customer base.

Would you do it again?
Definitely!

Exclusive interview with Jo Boland, Papa John’s, Plymouth

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Name: Jo Boland
Location: Plymouth
Franchise: Papa John’s

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying your Papa John's franchise?
Before joining Papa John’s as a franchisee in 2013, I previously ran the shop as a branded Perfect Pizza outlet. Myself and my husband Austin have a young family and so were looking for more financial security so thought joining forces with a well-known brand would help our long-term future.

What attracted you to franchising versus started starting up on your own or finding employment?
As franchisees previously, we recognised the support being part of a franchise can offer. Papa John's is one of the largest pizza companies in the world and we were keen to become part of that success. The decision was a good one as following the store re-fit and launch, it was so busy people were queuing to the corner of the street to try out the pizzas! Because the Papa John’s pizzas taste so great people were quickly coming back for more. The store was twice as busy as expected.

Why did you choose Papa John's? What research did you undertake?
We were already aware of Papa John’s as a company. We also knew Gareth Davies who is now regional vice president for Western Europe for Papa John’s, but who previously worked for the now disbanded Perfect Pizza and we trusted his recommendation.

In addition, the Papa John’s concept of ‘Better Ingredients, Better Pizza’ means the company only uses 100% fresh dough and fresh ingredients which give a great natural flavour. The pizzas simply taste better than the competition so the decision was straight forward!

How did you raise the finance for funding your franchise? Did you use any financial support (grants etc) specific to business startup?
Through savings and a loan arranged through Papa John’s.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing from your franchisor?
The marketing support and training provided by Papa John’s was second to none. Although I have a background in the industry, the training, including computer training covered every angle. The head office staff were also really helpful. I needed to work with the Papa John’s team to completely re-fit the store and they were always there to help and would answer any questions at the drop of a hat. During the official launch I had all the support I needed and Papa John’s even sent a senior staff member from head office to help on the day.

Papa John’s also supported us with some of the cost of our opening offers to guarantee the new venture was off to a great start. They are genuinely invested in our success and I would certainly recommend Papa John’s to other potential franchisees.

What is a typical day for you as a Papa John's franchisee?
Austin is heavily involved in the franchise on a daily basis. From my point of view because of our two young children (aged four and six years) I work in the shop when I can. I also help with the paper work and phone calls. It is a varied role, for example we are currently planning our next direct mail campaign.

We are lucky to have found a good manager who takes care of a lot of the staff management but still it’s a 24/7 operation. You may get a call if someone’s called in sick or even at 3am if the alarm’s gone off! However, the advantage is that we run a thriving franchise business which gives us the flexibility to take time off if we need it too.

What challenges have you faced?
Being a mum, life is always a balancing act! Before the children I used to work full-time in the pizza store, however, now, I’m sure like many mums, it can be hard to find enough hours in the day! However, I like to keep in-touch with ‘what’s going on’ so spend as much time as I can in-store. I think the staff find it motivating that the owners of the business are as hands on as they can be.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
Sure it’s hard work but the franchise offers us flexibility also. It has defiantly changed our lives for the better. We know if we have any issues we can call head office for help. Even though Plymouth is a long way from Papa John’s HQ in Surrey, someone will always be here to help if we need it. That kind of support is invaluable.

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?
In our business you need to be a people person. We have lots of staff to look after and by getting involved, being hands-on in the business shows you care.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give other women looking to start their own business through franchising?
I have some friends that have recently set up their own businesses and it is very tough. Franchising offers a support network, where help is on hand whenever you need it and you will, so take advantage of this.

What are your plans for the future?
We are enjoying developing our current store and seeing how far we can grow this. Since start up in 2013 we have seen a big increase in sales. In addition, the recent Papa John’s TV advertising has been a great boost and this is the kind of investment you would never get if you started up alone.

Would you do it again?
Yes, definitely!

Click here to find out more about the Papa John's franchise opportunity

New Dream Doors showroom opens in Wootton Bassett

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Dream Doors North Wiltshire franchisee, Ian Sturton, opened his showroom in Wootton Basset last week. The Royal town's deputy mayor, Councillor Ian Ferries, and his wife, Judy, were there to cut the ribbon, while celebrated town crier, Owen Collier, was on hand to ring in the news. Dream Doors' founder and managing director, Troy Tappenden – who formed the kitchen makeover company in Hampshire back in 1999 – was the first to congratulate Ian, handing over a bottle of champagne to celebrate his brand's latest showroom opening.

“This is another very proud moment for me,” said Troy. “It's a fantastic showroom in a great location, and I know Ian will be one of our most successful franchisees. He knows what he's doing, has had a great start already and, with support from my team and his own staff, those sales will continue to flood in.”

It's taken Ian, already an experienced retailer, seven busy months to finally get his showroom ready for launch. And, if he follows a typical Dream Doors franchisee's growth path, his turnover will increase fourfold from now on. “We've averaged sales of £25,000 a month since we started, and everything has worked out very well,” he said. “We're well ahead of our business plan, with at least £60,000 of sales to come in. It's been great and, if I'm honest, it's been crazy at times as well!

“Luckily we found Darren who has come on board as an installation controller. He has huge experience in kitchens, whereas my background is in business and retail, so Darren makes sure we're delivering on all the promises we've made to our customers.”

Like most Dream Doors franchisees, Ian had no previous kitchen industry experience. Award-winning training is delivered from the outset, including peer-to-peer mentoring from existing franchisees. And Ian's franchise manager, Bryn Jones, was quick to praise him for embracing all of the support at his disposal: “Ian took full advantage of our training programme, making himself available from the turn of the year. By the time he completed his week's induction course at head office in February, he'd already had five visits from myself and Andy Hart, our company sales trainer. He'd also spent three days with existing franchisees in Oxford, Thatcham and Woking.

“It's been a pleasure working with Ian and seeing his business grow,” he added. “I'm happy to see another showroom open around here as, of course, that now means most of the consumer demand in the south is being satisfied.”

Dream Doors is recruiting new franchisees nationwide, and there are also some existing and profitable franchise resales available in Bath, Essex, East Sussex and Kent. Franchisees don't need any practical expertise as sub-contracted teams or employed fitters handle the installations. The company will be on stand L60 at the National Franchise Exhibition this Friday and Saturday to meet interested parties.

Brothers team up for Driver Hire take over in Bournemouth

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Transport and logistics specialist recruiter, Driver Hire Bournemouth, has new owners. The south coast franchise has been bought by brothers Arjindar and Balraj Dusanjh. They will be running the office with assistance from their father Jasbir and uncle Davinder.

Driver Hire has a network of almost 100 offices nationwide. It provides temporary and permanent drivers and other logistics staff to local and national organisations in both the public and private sector. If they’re short of staff – perhaps because of illness, holidays or seasonal demand – Driver Hire will supply them with a suitable replacement.

Balraj, Jasbir and Davinder came across Driver Hire on a visit to the Franchise Exhibition. There they met Gee Bains, Driver Hire’s London South East franchisee who extolled the value of a Driver Hire franchise. Following their own research, they decided to invest.

Arjindar who has previously worked for BT and is also a sports coach and football referee, will be using his sales’ experience to develop the business. Brother Balraj, who has a diploma in business studies, will be looking after the back office. Working alongside them will be longstanding recruitment consultant, Ley Sheppard and Joan Eastwood who looks after payroll and finance.

“Driver Hire prides itself on delivering quality, guaranteed drivers, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” says Arjindar. “We’re looking forward to supplying them to a wide range of local and national businesses and organisations in the Bournemouth postcode area.”

Setting up Rosemary Bookkeeping franchise saved me years of mistakes

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Before becoming a Rosemary franchise partner, Richard had worked in Casino Management in both the UK and overseas. “My previous job provided me with plenty of multi-cultural life experiences in a ‘leisure’ and people-orientated work environment. Setting up a franchise with Rosemary has allowed me to run my own business and has saved me the first three years of mistakes, stress and hopefully failure that being an independent may bring.”

How Richard got involved with Rosemary Bookkeeping
“I first became involved with Rosemary in August 2011. Rosemary’s friendly and positive approach attracted me to them initially along with the directors’ experiences in a range of disciplines.

“Since joining Rosemary, my work/life balance has improved thanks to the support and guidance I have received from the team at Rosemary. My working hours are now more flexible and I am my own boss in a business with great growth prospects that has the potential to be developed into a valuable asset.”

Richard’s secrets to success...
“I intend to run my franchise with a huge emphasis on the Rosemary motto, ‘an altogether friendly bookkeeping experience’. I will use my existing people skills to develop customer relationships and develop and manage my future bookkeeping team.

“I am aiming to develop my bookkeeping skills to even higher levels so that I can continue to expand my customer base by using all of the support and strategies available from the team at Rosemary.”

What Joanna Dennis, Franchise Development Director of Rosemary Bookkeeping says:
“Richard has been able to harness his skillsets from his previous management roles and put them to good use within Rosemary. Richard’s charismatic approach works well with businesses as he listens to their needs carefully.”

About Rosemary Bookkeeping
Rosemary Bookkeeping is a British Franchise Association accredited franchise, based on a successful business which was established in 2002 and offers a unique bookkeeping system which is built around charging clients per transaction rather than per hour.

The Founding Partners have over 60 years of business and bookkeeping experience between them in the essential business disciplines of accounting, operations, sales and marketing.

According to the Federation of Small Businesses, over 4 million customers NEED this service. By law, all businesses in the UK are required to keep records of their transactions which later are used by an accountant to file for tax and often VAT. Managing these transactions through bookkeeping is often the biggest headache to the small business owner and a task that is left at the bottom of the pile.

There is a growing network of established Franchise Partners in the UK either running their franchise as a
management business with bookkeepers undertaking the work for them or working on client accounts themselves.

West is best for Just Shutters franchisee Andrew Cook

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Andrew started his Just Shutters business, covering Exeter and the South West, back in April 2011. He had been running a car body repair business in Hertfordshire for ten years. Andrew started at the tender age of 24, first as a franchisee and subsequently as his own business. Ten years later, at 34, he decided it was time for some changes. He needed a fresh challenge, and sold up.

Andrew explains, “I needed a change of working environment. I hadn’t had a proper holiday for five years, so after selling the business, it seemed like the right moment to step back, take stock and enjoy some well-earned time out. I bought a motor home, headed west with my surfboard and mountain bike and enjoyed a six month break”.

After the break, plenty of surfing, running and mountain biking, Andrew was ready to recalibrate. He enjoys a personal challenge, and knew from past experience he would be more motivated working for himself again.

Just Shutters was immediately attractive to Andrew and after a meeting with Just Shutters Directors Chris and Helen Rocker, Master Fitter Kate Papiernik, and Fitter Martin Rogaluk, Andrew was convinced this was a great franchise opportunity.

Andrew had enjoyed his break down in the South West so much that, when he realised the Exeter and South West territory was available, he decided to relocate from Hertfordshire to setup his new Just Shutters business.

Andrew has now set the new goals. His plan is to grow to have two more vans and employees and “take the South West by storm”. He is also looking forward to a better lifestyle balance working and living in the South West, and making at least some time for the surf...

“I’m independent, and I knew I’d work harder with my own business again. I know how a franchise works and enjoyed building my smart repairs business, but the work was getting harder, margins tighter, and breathing in the paint fumes was having an affect too. I wanted a change of lifestyle and a ‘cleaner’ business.

Plantation shutters have been around for a while but are becoming more and more popular, so I believe it is a good time to invest. I also like the way Chris and Helen do business.”

"Signs Express is a perfect example of all that is good about franchising"

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Originally opened in 2004, John has been centre owner since 2007 and now employs seven staff from his 2200 sq ft unit based on Avonbank Industrial Estate.

1. What did you do prior to becoming a Signs Express franchisee?

Product manager for Capita – I was responsible for the design and development of a large computer application sold to local government. This involved managing teams in Asia and India so I travelled a lot!

2. What made you decide to buy an existing franchise?
I bought into Bristol as an area. Bristol is the tenth largest local economy in Britain and yet the Bristol branch was no where near as successful as branches in much smaller towns – there was and still is loads of scope to grow here.
The brand also attracts regular national work which more than pays for the fees; only this morning I have been asked by a Belfast-based company to quote on a large re-branding in Bristol. They were upfront that they need great service at a reasonable price and were confident from past dealings that this is what they would get from Signs Express.

3. How has your own business progressed or expanded since you launched?
We enjoyed fairly quick success and were 250% bigger than when we bought into Bristol. The recession has slowed all that down, but I can really feel our reputation growing locally and I think 2012 will be another year of solid progress.

4. What has been your biggest order to date or who has been your biggest customer?
We have had two orders of over £50k each. We work for a brace of large household brands but are bound by confidentiality agreements to not say who!

5. Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?
That’s interesting because if you had asked me three years ago I would have said looking to retire. It’s a long way out and things may change, but I will probably be a Signs Express franchisee albeit with one of my staff running the centre on a daily basis.

“Signs Express is a perfect example of all that is good about franchising: they are board members of the British Franchise Association (BFA) and look to take a supportive rather than dictatorial stance with their franchisees, which was important to me.” - John Miller-Wilson, Franchisee, Signs Express (Bristol)

 

Cafe2U franchisees crowned Partner of the Year

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Gary and Rachel Wilson, husband and wife owners of Cafe2U Bristol North have scooped the Franchise Partner of the Year Award at this year’s Cafe2U National Leadership Conference, held in Leeds. The award was presented at the prestigious Cafe2U awards dinner by Cafe2U Managing Director, Tom Acland.
 
The Cafe2U Franchise Partner of the Year represents as complete and well rounded a Cafe2U business operator as possible. The award is scored throughout the year, through a combination of field visits, contributions to the franchise, development of the business, and coffee skills, and the competition this year was closer than ever before.
 
In announcing the award Tom Acland, Cafe2U MD, said “Gary and Rachel have succeeded in their goals because they worked hard on the Cafe2U formula of great coffee, Brilliant customer service, and great branding. Being part of a franchise provides support and a process to follow, and they have followed this to ensure great local marketing is planned and executed, as well as following nationally coordinated campaigns. Cafe2U brand consistency is valued and evident in everything they do, brilliant customer service encourages customer feedback and constructive customer interaction.”
 
Tom added, “Cafe2U Bristol North, demonstrates how to combine the Cafe2U global vision with their own local flair, and whilst striving to be Brilliant! in everything it does, it doesn’t lose sight of local community involvement and presence.”
 
The prize for being crowned 2011 Franchise Partner of the Year is a trip to the USA, and Gary and Rachel are taking their two sons with them on a luxury trip to New York! Gary and Rachel explain their delight at winning the award. “We were overwhelmed and emotional on the night because we understand that any franchisee who shows commitment to building their business can have their efforts acknowledged in this way and it will spur us on to greater things.”
 
Cafe2U delivers fresh espresso coffee daily to businesses all over the UK, Australia & Ireland.

Gaining a better quality of life with Oscar Pet Foods franchise

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Franchisee: Pippa Crow
Territory: Bideford, North Devon
Franchise: Oscar Pet Foods
 
From London to Devon to OSCAR – and to my ideal way of life. I was a legal secretary for over twenty years spending the majority of this time in London. In search of a better quality of life a move to Devon, by the sea, was a dream come true. For a time I pursued the politics of the legal profession and at the first opportunity I found work at the Royal Horticultural Society - only to be made redundant. Redundancy forced me to rethink my future; to have a fulfilling and flexible job that allowed me more time to spend with my husband and two children meant working for myself.
 
Moving to Devon introduced my three Greyhounds and four cats to OSCAR - changing their food made all the difference both in looks and fitness - I was delighted. And when it came to my notice that an OSCAR resale franchise was available in my area I did not hesitate in making contact. Buying an existing business was a good start because certain elements were already in place but before making a final decision I researched the business opportunity fully, via the internet and locally.

Comfortable with the Cafe2U set-up

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Gary & Rachel, Cafe2U Bristol North since 2009
 

Gary runs the business full time, and Rachel assists him on 2-3 days a week. Neither had run their own business before, but felt comfortable taking that step within a franchise set up.
 
“It’s the best job I have ever had. We would like to say how much we appreciate and value the support that the whole Cafe2U team have given us and their unstinting patience. Many of our fellow franchisees have been generous with their advice and knowledge, and although this is our business to run we really feel like part of the team.”





Retaining independence with Cafe2U franchise

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Having run and sold his own logistics business, Brian wanted to find a business he could operate with his wife, Angela, which would challenge them both yet allow them to retain some independence.
 
They operate the business every day together, and haven’t looked back.
 
“We were looking for a business that ticked three very important boxes:
 
    • A franchise business with a proven track record which, with hard work, would make a solid profit, after working in the up and down world of transport.
    • A business with a low investment entry level, ensuring costs are kept low, so we would be working with minimal debt.
    • A business fairly early in its development, providing us with a challenge, as well as excellent growth potential both in our business and in the wider network.
 
“With these objectives in mind, it was not long before we realized Cafe2U was a perfect fit. The fact that we are working with great people, selling great coffee, working in the fresh air, and making people happy were all bonuses.”
 
“We are not trying to say that it is all a bed of roses, nothing is! We have found it to be better than a lot of jobs we could be doing. It is mostly rewarding, and the returns are certainly there if you work hard.”

Signs Express franchise recruits in the south west

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Franchise business opportunities act as much safer option when starting in business and this is especially the case when looking at buying an existing franchise business as a resale option.
 
Through buying an already established business, the new owner will gain a distinct advantage as the business is already up and running with an existing customer base. There are no headaches over finding a production unit to base the business, plus the centre is already fitted out with the required equipment and furniture; so no waiting around for suppliers and no need to waste time organising the layout, it’s already been done. The staff are even already in place and fully trained, therefore cutting out the time recruiting in the area and providing the business owner with the knowledge of the centre as it currently stands. This means that as soon as the franchise owner is in, he can start trading and continue generating profit from day one.
 
There are huge benefits within the counties in the South West. For example jobs in Gloucestershire are highly sought after. Economically dominated by the service industries, and with a strong financial and business sector, this South West location is currently experiencing vibrant growth amongst its existing business community which increases scope for business in the future. The existing business, has an excellent reputation amongst its established customer base and receives a substantial amount of repeat business within the area.
 
With business opportunities in Dorset, or if you are looking to buy a business in Gloucestershire and businesses in Somerset all helping to bring the region through the recession.
 
With over 80 centres nationwide and 20 years of experience under its belt, Signs Express business opportunities are growing as more franchisees reach retirement. There are many business owners who joined Signs Express having worked for years in various industries and who were looking for security as they reach retirement age. This means that now, some years later, they have reached their potential and are set to retire and enjoy the money that they have earned through their own hard work over the years.
 
The key to starting in business and in particular buying an existing franchise in is its distribution channel. The franchise has built up an enviable customer base as a result of time and experience, meaning the customers would already be there and at the new business owner’s disposal. The same goes for suppliers. Signs Express has its own preferred list of suppliers and in a resale situation these relationships have already been made with the centre and therefore any problems already ironed out.
 
As a management franchise, prospective franchisees require no industry experience as full training is provided. 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 Swindon

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Swindon 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 Swindon and Wiltshire areas in particular are abundant with customer potential and money making opportunities. With particular emphasis on economic growth and development in retail, financial and business services, technology, public sector 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, professional clients such as solicitors and architects, retail and restaurant customers 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 Swindon sign franchise opportunity is one particular location Signs Express is looking to recruit as there is currently little presence in the Swindon 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 Swindon 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 Swindon franchise production unit. Your skills will be based on your own management and sales experience and your ability to lead a team.
 
 

To Buy or Not to Buy - with Platinum Property Partner franchise

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Sarah has worked as an estate agent, a home image consultant and a recruitment consultant, and since 2003 she has also been a television presenter – primarily on BBC1's 'To Buy Or Not To Buy' - and freelance property writer.  She currently works freelance part-time within Platinum Property Partners and, as a Franchise Partner, has started to build a portfolio in Poole & Bourne mouth.

It was mid-2004 when Sarah first met Steve Bolton, and she spent some time looking into his methods and business proposition.  It didn’t take long for her to realise that there was definitely something different and special about Steve, his business partners and the people they were working with, and she started to work freelance for the company on copy writing, publicity and shows & events.  In November 2007, having known Steve for three years and worked within the company on a part-time basis for nearly a year, Sarah joined the Franchise.   

"I had a fair amount of experience in the property field, but nothing like the knowledge within PPP, particularly on the investment front – it's a completely different proposition to the residential and holiday home market.  And because I like to work on a number of different projects, I simply don't have the time or inclination to worry about having to research every aspect of the property business, so the Franchise is the perfect solution and, for me, a very cost-effective way of ensuring I make the right investments and have access to the best people to advise me on an ongoing basis.  Plus, I've made a lot of great new friends and some seriously inspiring mentors and colleagues."

Sarah was sale agreed on her first property the day after her initial mentoring, completed on that purchase in February 2008 and it was ready to rent as a 6-bedroom House in Multiple Occupation six weeks later.  Thanks to a tracker mortgage, that property currently cashflows £1,400 a month.  In November 2008 Sarah bought her second HMO – another 6-bedroom property – and that cashflows £660 a month.  Those two cashflow figures are after the mortgages and all bills have been paid, allowances have been made for maintenance and voids, franchise management service fees have been paid, and include the cost of employing a property manager.  The combined pre-tax profit of around £2,000 a month is therefore virtually passive income, as Sarah only has to spend around 2 hours a week on administering the business.  

Albert Road, Poole

Purchase price                £230,000

Rental income                £2,686
(5 doubles, 1 single)

Mortgage repayment            £1,139
(85% LTV, 6.89% int. only)
Other expenditure             £881
(utilities, c. tax, insurance, TV, b'band,
cleaner, voids & maintenance allowance,        
franchise MS fees, property management)            
Total expenditure            £2,020

Total monthly pre-tax profit        £666
Total annual pre-tax profit        £7,992


Sarah is working with her father as a passive investor, and has made the most of the other investment options offered by PPP.  She has invested into a development project in Romania, which is anticipated to give around a 100% return within 3 years, and also entered into a passive loan arrangement with one of the PPP founders, which pays market-leading interest rates on a monthly basis.

For the next few months Sarah will be focusing on the purchase of her own home in Bournemouth and obtaining planning permission, with the help of PPP’s contacts, to build in the garden of one of her HMOs.  She also hopes to acquire at least one more investment before the end of the year.
 

Taking the plunge and investing in a ServiceMaster franchise

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Alistair Grieves, ServiceMaster Contract Services, Exeter
 
I originally worked for a Contract Furnishing company in London, neither my wife nor myself wanted to continue working in London so we decided to move to what we considered was the best part of the UK for us, Devon.
 
As I was experienced in the tendering process, I thought I would use my strengths and look for a franchise, which best suited my abilities. It also enabled me and my family to move to the country and out of London.
 
What attracted me to contract services, or daily office cleaning was the idea of regular invoicing, whatever I billed I knew I should be billing the same amount the next month, it was a regular income.
 
As money was tight initially, moving into a new house and buying a new business it was important for us to be able to forecast our income and plan our future.
 
The best thing about being my own boss is you make decisions and are able to take responsibility for that. I also have the flexibility of working when I wish and taking time off when I wish.
 
The other nice thing about an established franchise company is there is plenty of advice, new ideas, and other business's to liaise with. It is nice to have other franchisees around you who are doing the same role but not in competition with you.
 
My wife works in business I find it very important to have a reliable financial colleague, she looks after the accounts side of the business, invoicing, credit control payroll etc.
 
I would never have had the flexibility or life style that I now enjoy without taking the plunge and investing in my own franchise.

Gut Feeling that Franchising Was The Way Forward

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X-Press Legal Services’ Ltd is a specialist franchise that provides property searches and reports, working on behalf of solicitors, conveyancing professionals and specialist HIP providers. The searches and reports are a vital part of the property buying process in the UK.

When most people think about becoming a franchisee, they embark on a long and intensive process of research. Potential franchisees are advised to be cautious, to look at a range of options, investigate different types of franchise and to check out every last detail of the franchise they decide they want to join.

It is extremely unusual for someone to decide virtually on the spot to become a franchisee without really knowing anything about franchising. But that is exactly what happened to Jackie Cryer, who had a lifetime’s experience in the IT industry and sought a complete change.

Jackie chose X-Press Legal Services, following her instinct that this was where she wanted to be. She explains: “It really appealed – I didn’t even look into any other franchise or even franchising in general. I just followed a gut feeling that this was what I wanted to do – and it still is!”

Jackie’s first interest in X-Press was prompted by an article in a national newspaper. “It whetted my appetite but I wasn’t able, at that time, to even consider giving up my career,” she said. Some time later, Jackie’s employer implemente

d some radical changes, which coincided with changes in Jackie’s personal circumstances that enabled her to re-consider being her own boss. “I wasn’t happy with the new set up at work. I thought ‘life’s too short’ so let’s do something about it,” Jackie said. “True, the job was well paid but I wanted choices and to control my own destiny. I rekindled my interest in X-Press and the benefits of being part of a network of supportive people. Once I decided to do it, that was it.” Although Jackie was totally convinced about X-Press, she nonetheless went through all the usual checks and procedures. She talked to other franchisees about their experiences and got professional legal advice from a bfa-affiliated franchise lawyer before signing the franchise agreement.

Jackie set up her business in February 2008. She says: “Every day I come across a new challenge. I am enjoying learning something new all the time and having to do things I’ve never done before, like marketing. It is very refreshing after years of doing a job that was fairly predictable,” Jackie added.

Outside work, Jackie enjoys some challenging hobbies which include backpacking, running, camping, hill walking, coasteering. She has climbed Kilmanjaro, been paragliding and tried skydiving.  

A dream start in business with Dream Doors franchise

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Approaching his 40th birthday, Andy Stewart knew that he no longer wanted to work for someone else so he and his wife, Shelley, decided to visit the British Franchise Exhibition in Manchester to look for an alternative.
 
A joiner by trade and having worked close to the kitchen industry throughout his career, Andy had considered Dream Doors franchise, the UK’s number 1 franchised kitchen facelift company, but the Stewarts were edging toward a complete change of direction.
 
“Originally we dismissed it,” Andy says. “Because it was in my trade, we thought it would be nice to try something different”. 
 
Since Dream Doors had a stand at the exhibition, the Stewarts decided to discuss the franchise with them and left impressed with the company’s attitude and professionalism. This then led to a meeting at Dream Doors head offices in Gosport, further discussions with existing franchisees and finally, having secured the funding for the business, the Stewarts bought the Dorchesterpostcode.
 
The Dream Doors concept involves swapping existing kitchen doors and drawers with made to measure replacements, transforming a kitchen in as little as one day. This can also lead on to new work-surfaces, sinks and appliances through which a new-look kitchen can be achieved with little stress and upheaval for the customer and for a significantly lower investment.
 
Franchisees do not need any kitchen experience as Dream Doors will assist in recruiting an installation team. The training and support of the franchisor is critical when investing in a franchise, and in a technical industry with a sales and retail focus, Dream Doors have a lot of knowledge to impart.
 
“They’ve been there every step of the way and time has never been an issue,” says Andy. “It’s nice to have a regular input, they’ll turn up to see how it’s going and it’s all on a personal level.”
 
Originally working from home, and with Shelley continuing to work part time, it quickly became apparent that the business would evolve and require a full time commitment.
 
“We found ourselves moving in a different direction,” says Andy. “It was a lot busier than we thought and we were picking up more orders”
 
Opening their showroom towards the end of their first year, Shelley left her part-time job and a full time fitting team were employed. The initial 10 month turnover of just above £100,000 leapt to over £400,000 in the following year, a rise put down to both effort and retail premises, as Shelley comments.
 
“Our figures show that having a showroom does make a difference and that all our hard work has certainly paid off!”

Most Promising New Business - MOLLY MAID

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Karen Wilkinson and Lee Given business owners of MOLLY MAID Tonbridge, the domestic cleaning professionals, have been awarded the Most Promising New Business Award in the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards 2008. 
 
At a gala dinner held on Wednesday night all of the finalists eagerly awaited the results from the judges. All of the entries had submitted a presentation that demonstrated how the business met each of the criteria set out by the Chamber of Commerce, the finalists were visited and interviewed on an individual basis. These criteria covered every area of the business, starting with a description of the product or service provided, through to the financial validity of the company and their community involvement. After the awards Karen said “I can’t believe that we have won, I am so delighted. I have a clear vision about where I want to take the business and to have the recognition from the local business experts that we are running a great business is fantastic.”
 
Coming up to 2 years ago Karen and Lee started their MOLLY MAID business in the local area.  Karen said “We started researching a domestic cleaning franchise because when searching for some help around the home ourselves we found it hard to find a local cleaning firm that offered flexibility and reliability. We realised that there was a gap in the local market for a high quality, flexible cleaning service, and discovered MOLLY MAID fitted the bill.” Since then they haven’t looked back.
 
When asked what makes MOLLY MAID stand out from any other local cleaning company Karen says that it is both their staff and their customer care. The MOLLY MAID teams are given a month long training programme that ensures that they can delight the customers day after day. Each staff member has an employee pack that gives them information and goals to achieve. “Our incentive scheme and clear promotional structure means that our maids are happy and motivated and this has a positive impact on our customer satisfaction.” On top of the MOLLY MAID 100 per cent guarantee Karen offers a flexible cleaning schedule, ensures that regular quality checks are carried out, and calls customers on a regular basis to ensure that they are satisfied with their clean. “Myself and my supervisor have a very personal relationship with our customers, we are going into their homes so we feel it is important that they know us and can call us should they have any problems.”
 
On the back of this award Karen plans to continue to grow her customer base through increasing her marketing activities and charity involvement locally so that more and more people think of MOLLY MAID when they need some reliable help in the home.

MOLLY MAID Shine in Local Business Awards

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Karen Wilkinson and Lee Given business owners of MOLLY MAID Tonbridge, the domestic cleaning professionals, have been awarded the Most Promising New Business Award in the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards 2008. 
 
At a gala dinner held on Wednesday night all of the finalists eagerly awaited the results from the judges. All of the entries had submitted a presentation that demonstrated how the business met each of the criteria set out by the Chamber of Commerce, the finalists were visited and interviewed on an individual basis. These criteria covered every area of the business, starting with a description of the product or service provided, through to the financial validity of the company and their community involvement. After the awards Karen said “I can’t believe that we have won, I am so delighted. I have a clear vision about where I want to take the business and to have the recognition from the local business experts that we are running a great business is fantastic.”
 
Coming up to 2 years ago Karen and Lee started their MOLLY MAID business in the local area.  Karen said “We started researching a domestic cleaning franchise because when searching for some help around the home ourselves we found it hard to find a local cleaning firm that offered flexibility and reliability. We realised that there was a gap in the local market for a high quality, flexible cleaning service, and discovered MOLLY MAID fitted the bill.” Since then they haven’t looked back.
 
When asked what makes MOLLY MAID stand out from any other local cleaning company Karen says that it is both their staff and their customer care. The MOLLY MAID teams are given a month long training programme that ensures that they can delight the customers day after day. Each staff member has an employee pack that gives them information and goals to achieve. “Our incentive scheme and clear promotional structure means that our maids are happy and motivated and this has a positive impact on our customer satisfaction.” On top of the MOLLY MAID 100 per cent guarantee Karen offers a flexible cleaning schedule, ensures that regular quality checks are carried out, and calls customers on a regular basis to ensure that they are satisfied with their clean. “Myself and my supervisor have a very personal relationship with our customers, we are going into their homes so we feel it is important that they know us and can call us should they have any problems.”
 
On the back of this award Karen plans to continue to grow her customer base through increasing her marketing activities and charity involvement locally so that more and more people think of MOLLY MAID when they need some reliable help in the home.

Yearning a New Challenge

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X-Press Legal Services’ Ltd is a specialist franchise that provides property searches and reports, working on behalf of solicitors and other conveyancing professionals. The searches and reports are a vital part of the property buying process in the UK.

2006 Award winner for ‘Best newcomer’

John Watt reached a point in his life where he was bored with his job and wanted to do something completely different. After working for over a decade in a variety of roles with an international IT conglomerate, he yearned for a new challenge.

He was convinced that he did not want to work for another multi-national corporation. Previously, John had worked in the transport sector for 12 years but he didn’t want to return to that industry either.

Instead, he considered several avenues before deciding he wanted to have his own business and enjoy the benefits of being his own boss. Like many prospective new business owners, John was cautious about being entirely alone in business.

His wife indirectly suggested franchising by bringing home a franchise magazine. “It was the first time that I looked at franchising properly,” John said. “I always thought that it was a small sector, confined to areas like fast food and drain cleaning, so it was amazing to see what a huge choice of businesses there are,” he continued.

John read the magazine and put X-Press Legal Services at the top of his short-list. “In truth, it was the only company that really excited me and I was really keen to find out more detail. I also needed to check that my area was still available before I got too carried away,” John said.

He went on to explain why he identified X-Press as being so outstanding: “I am very interested in the property market, which I monitor closely. My second great interest is maps, having spent many days and some nights poring over them when I was in fleet management and trying to find the most cost-effective routes - that was in the days before sophisticated on-line mapping services,” he continued.

“There were other aspects that really appealed to me, including the fact that X-Press provides a business to business service that involves dealing with professional clients. After I had met the key people at X-Press, I spoke to several franchisees to get a real inside view and then went to meet one near Manchester, coincidentally my home town.”

Following local research and training, John opened his franchise in September, 2006. He says: “I enjoy the combination of going out and meeting people and quietly doing the paperwork. There’s so much variety in a day with visits to councils, clients and prospective clients. I like the convenience of being able to run the franchise from a home office.

“I would like to grow the business but I always want to maintain the personal service that is its hallmark. I intend to be a walking directory for my customers.”

New Gloucestershire Franchisee for Xpress Legal

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X-Press Legal Services’ Ltd is a specialist franchise that provides property searches and reports, working on behalf of solicitors and other conveyancing professionals. The searches and reports are a vital part of the property buying process in the UK.

Gloucestershire franchisee, Penny Brierley, is an opthalmic optician who had always dreamed of having her own business. But she had never considered the possibility that any independent enterprise would be something outside her profession.

“I’d always wanted to run my own business but, for a variety of reasons that included having two small children, it never happened – until now,” Penny explained. “I trained as an optician and worked in this field for 20 years. I really loved it and enjoyed helping people. Unfortunately, as time went on, I found I was less and less resistant to my patients’ bugs because I kept getting ill with sniffles and coughs.

“I think it must be an occupational hazard but I was fed up with feeling off colour and decided that I needed to do something else,” Penny continued.

While Penny was considering her options she helped out friends in their businesses and soon discovered that she enjoyed the variety of sampling different areas of commerce.

In early 2005 she started to look more seriously at some ideas to find something permanent, when she became interested in franchising. She already had a limited understanding of the concept since she knew the franchised chains of opticians and had read about it in national newspapers.

“I liked the idea of going into business for myself but without being entirely alone,” Penny said. “I selected a few franchises, found out more about each one before making appointments to meet the franchisors and talking to their franchisees.

“I was especially interested in X-Press because I thought being involved in the property world would be interesting, especially the variety of searches. Going to several councils in the area meant every day would be different.”

Penny continued: “The other big advantage was that this is a business that doesn’t need premises, at least initially, so start-up costs and overheads are kept to a minimum. This allows you to grow at your own pace.”

Penny became a franchisee with X-Press in February 2006 and her client base grew very quickly in the first three months. Husband Graham, who also worked in the optical industry, had been on the X-Press training course so that he could step in at a moment’s notice if Penny suddenly needed extra support.

“Graham went to the course very much as an ‘in case’, with no intention of giving up his job at the time. However, he was becoming tired of the amount of travelling he had to do and so he opted to join me,” Penny said.

“We are very excited to have made such a flying start. We are delighted with the number of clients we have and how quickly word is spreading about our service. There is no way we would have grown this fast if we had tried to start this ourselves and I am convinced it would have taken years to get to this point,” Penny went on.

Now that her two sons are in their mid-teens and more independent, Penny has more time to invest in developing her business with Graham. They believe that friendly, flexible service, combined with energetic marketing, have enabled them to grow the business so successfully.

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