If January has been a bit of a drag work-wise, maybe it’s time to get out of the ‘same old, same old’ rut by becoming your own boss. Should you opt for a change, you won’t be alone. Figures released by the Office for National Statistics this week show that self employment is growing fast and now represents 47% of the total UK workforce. There’s a growing band of independent, self-driven workers, many of whom are entrepreneurs.
Of course, for those of us used to a monthly salary, self employment is regarded as being more risky. But there is a safer way of becoming your own boss – buying a franchise. Invest in a quality franchise and you’re buying into a proven successful business model. And there’s the support of the franchisor who will be keen to ensure your business is a success. Statistics compiled by franchise industry body, the bfa (British Franchise Association) backs this up:
- The failure rate for franchises in 2013 was just 2.3%. The same figure for independent business start-ups was 10%
- There’s also clear evidence that franchisees move into profit more quickly. In 2013, 80% of franchises established within the last two years were in profit.
- Overall, in 2013, 92% of franchises were in profit. There’s an equally impressive figure going back to 1992 showing that every year since then, around 90% of franchisees have reported profitability.
Immediate success through franchising has certainly been local man Gary Riches’ experience. He bought Driver Hire’s Colchester franchise as a re-sale in November 2012. An ex-serviceman, Gary had moved into transport management. He used Driver Hire Colchester whenever he needed temporary staff. It opened his eyes to the potential of a franchise and, when the business was put up for sale, Gary moved in.
Since then he’s gone from strength, more than doubling turnover at what was already a successful business. In December 2012, his office provided temporary cover for 365 shifts. Fast forward a year and that number had gone up to 736. His efforts – and that of his two colleagues – haven’t gone unnoticed. Just before Christmas he collected the ‘Best new franchise’ award at the ‘startups.com’ national awards. A few weeks later he was presented with Driver Hire’s ‘New Start of the Year’ award at the franchisors Winter Conference.
“I love what I do,” says Gary. “I am on call at weekends and in the evenings, but still work fewer hours and see more of my family than I ever did when I was working for someone else. I’m less stressed and, financially, much better off.”
Gary’s not the only East Anglian Driver Hire franchise to enjoy outstanding success. Six years ago George Griffiths bought Driver Hire’s office covering Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich. Like Gary he won ‘New Start of the Year’ and then went on to become Driver Hire’s ‘Franchisee of the Year’. An accountant, George decided on franchising when he was between jobs. He’s certainly no regrets.
“It’s a great way to run a business for yourself,” says George. “The back-up is great. There’s an area manager to call on, support at every level of the business from the head office team and of course a network of other franchisees to call on for practical guidance. The fact that I decided to renew after completion of my first five years says it all.”
Driver Hire is celebrating thirty years in business during the current financial year. It mainly 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.