When the going gets tough, franchising works
On 27 June 2019, Driver Hire was crowned ‘Franchisor of the Year’ at the bfa Awards, but of course, 2020 is proving to be a year like no other. We all expected the ongoing story of Brexit and how Britain will settle into its new relationship with Europe and the rest of the world to be a big feature of the year – and then Covid-19 came along and presented us with challenges of a type, and on a scale, that none of us has ever seen before.
Every business is impacted. Some will thrive, perhaps due to good leadership, good luck, or simply because of the sector they happen to be in. But despite the extraordinary measures put in place by the Government, sadly the challenges will be too great for some businesses.
Businesses fail – even in good times. But it’s a fact that one of the most resilient business models is franchising. 93% of all franchises are profitable, and less than 1% of franchisors close due to commercial failure each year. It is a sector that has grown consistently over more than three decades in the UK, with over 48,600 franchised units operating in the UK (up 10% since 2015) and employing over 710,000 people in 2018.
How does franchising help in extraordinary times?
Whilst you are running your own business, you are never alone. Driver Hire takes its responsibility for the success and wellbeing of its franchisees extremely seriously and any other good franchisor will to do all it can to help you through a crisis.
Driver Hire began contingency planning for the impact of Coronavirus in February 2020 and offices remained open throughout lockdown and a series of steps were taken to support the network, from IT investment, an online COVID-19 hub, extensive marketing support and more.
“We have taken a range of measures to help our franchisees to deal with the challenges of Covid-19”, comments Jeremy Neale, Managing Director.
“For example, we all understand the need for social distancing, but as a recruitment business, this presented real and obvious difficulties – how do you conduct a job interview when you can’t meet face-to-face? We invested in IT and technical support, and developed a temporary remote candidate registration process, to enable our franchisees to continue to recruit, and to deliver the quality service that their customers still need.”
Jayne-Anne O’Flynn, Driver Hire Grimsby commented about the support received as a franchisee during Covid-19:
“Along with every other business owner, we were worried about the impact Coronavirus could have on our business. After weeks of speculating, lockdown was announced and along with the rest of the country, we had to stop going in to work immediately. It applied to us but also to the majority of our customers, which meant trade dropped off significantly.
However, what came to light very quickly was how prepared Driver Hire, as franchisor, were for this. Whilst lots of other businesses were having to make preparations after the event, Driver Hire had already ensured that we would have the ability to work remotely from home and resources were made available to support our business under the restrictions we were facing.
There is no doubt in my mind that being a part of such a strong and well organised team is incredibly important during difficult times like these and every department within Driver Hire excellent in supporting franchisees.”
Times of change are a great breeding ground for new ideas – and encourage a different way of doing business, but solid foundations are important. None of us can know what the business landscape will look like when life returns to normal, or even what ‘normal’ will be.
However it is a safe bet that franchising will still be a prominent part of the UK’s economy, and that people who took the decision to buy a franchise will be among the success stories that will be celebrated in the years to come.
Read our full article on why franchising works during difficult times, how Driver Hire is supporting its network during Covid-19 and advice on what to look out for in a good franchisor.