If you are looking to go into a management franchise, then this Select Your Franchise ‘Hangout on Air’ might be a great online resource of information for you.
The event, broadcast on 10th November, features Graham Duckworth who explains all about the Driver Hire UK franchise opportunity. Graham who is the Franchise Sales Director at Driver Hire is an expert in the subject and shares important advice on the business. The interview was part of Select Your Franchise You Tube’s regular Google+ Hangout on Air programme. The event was hosted by their Managing Director Nick Strong.
You can watch it here or read about the interview below:
Franchising is often said to be a way of working for yourself but not by yourself. Many people will want to know what the best thing about franchising is. Graham starts of by explaining what Driver Hire franchisees may consider to be the best things about being a part of the business.
What do Driver Hire franchisees consider to be the best thing about being part of the business?
“Predominantly, one of the major things why people buy a business is to make money and one of the primary reasons potential franchisees choose Driver Hire is because it has great earning potential. Last year our average franchisee turnover was £1million and at that level they are likely to make somewhere between 10-15% net profit. As well as this, being part of a large network is a really important reason why people join Driver Hire. Franchisees generally help each other out in our business to the benefit of both franchisees. And the final point to make, we carry out an independent survey of our franchisees and they fed back that it was our proven systems and great products and services which made all the difference to their business.”
From this, we can take away that Driver Hire franchisees have the potential to earn very good profits and run a successful business. But in order to do this they must have sufficient support from the company. Graham breaks down the support systems in place for Driver Hire franchisees.
What initial support do you provide prospective and new Driver Hire franchisees?
“Firstly before someone becomes a franchisee, we will help put them into contact with other franchisees, have them visit the Driver Hire head office and allow them to get a good understanding of the business. There is then a two-week training programme before any franchisee opens for business. This two-week programme is very detailed residential training programme at the Driver Hire head office. Once somebody opens for business they then have a six-month training programme called our ‘Franchise Support Programme’ in which our area manager is out with the franchisee helping them get to grips with the business as quickly as possible.”
Within Driver Hire, the system, the income potential, the profitability, the proven system and the support given are all part of a successful package. Moving onto the role that Graham has, he explains his job and what he enjoys most about it.
What do you enjoy most about your role within Driver Hire?
“My background is in recruitment, and Driver Hire is a recruitment business. My personal passion is to make sure that people who are looking to join Driver Hire are right for our business. I want to make sure that they have the potential to be successful. In terms of job satisfaction for me, it comes from seeing people go form the initial enquiry through to a successful franchisee – making more money than me!”
Keeping in mind that Driver Hire is a recruitment business, some potential franchisees may be worried that they have no recruitment experience or come from a different background. Graham explains that this does not disqualify you from becoming a Driver Hire franchisee.
Does it matter if a prospective Driver Hire franchisee has no recruitment experience?
“Of the top of my head, I can only think of one franchisee who has come from a recruitment background. We have franchisees from all sorts of industries and all walks of life. Something they all share in common is that there are some key skills that they share, but also, they have the drive, determination and passion to run a good, professional and successful business.”
Speaking on the profile of the most successful Driver Hire franchisee, Graham mentions that, “There are two franchisees that had a business with over £3million last year so it’s useful to demonstrate that there are differences even between the top two performers. One is a former accountant, a profession that may not immediately come to mind when considering recruitment. The other top performing franchisee’s background is as a convenience store manager. So as you can see, one a very corporate job and the other as a local retailer. They both had similar skills with being very good with people, they’re very sales focused, very professional and both have a desire and determination to run a successful business. The way they do that, is they both have very good teams around them. They both recruited very good staff who they look after very well and keep motivated. In turn, this makes their businesses successful.”
[Check out our page on ‘What we expect from franchisees‘]
So successful franchises with Driver Hire include sales focused people and a strong team front. From this it is clear that finding the right team for the franchises is important.
How do Driver Hire help franchisees find the right people for their team?
“In some instances, if it’s a resale the franchisee may inherit existing staff who may or may not be to the franchisee’s liking. When recruiting people our area managers play a very important role. They will gladly sit in during interviews and they will interview staff with the franchisee. The franchisee is running their own business so ultimately it is their decision as to who they recruit. We can however give support with advert writing, helping with putting the advert in the right place to attract people, and then also sitting in during the interview to provide some guidance and experience.”
With all businesses, there are some struggles and challenges that everyone must face. Within franchising, if a franchisee comes up against a challenge they are unsure with they would look toward their franchisor for assistance.
How does Driver Hire help their franchisees should they find things challenging or difficult?
“Even the most successful of our franchisees have gone through difficult times. When you are starting out the challenge is greater because it may be a new industry, you may not know recruitment or they transport sector. It is clearly doing to be difficult at first because there is a lot of information to take on board. To help our franchisees, we have the initial training programme as mentioned before, we have over 70 staff at head office including specialist teams and of course the 6-month training programme which is done in a very structured way.”
Graham adds that if someone should get into real difficulty, Driver Hire can go above and beyond what the franchisee would normally expect and provide a greater level of area manager support. One example that Graham gives is if a franchisee isn’t winning enough customers the area manager will go out on a greater number of sales visits with the franchisee. They will try and increase new customer wins or try and identify if there is a training need which Driver Hire can then act upon.
For some people, franchising is a win-win business model. The franchisor must win, the franchisee must win and indeed the employees and the clients must win. Graham examines what this win-win situation means and how it is put into practise within Driver Hire.
“A win-win is when we have franchisees who are financially successful and in turn that will make Driver Hire – the franchisor – successful. The way that nearly all franchises work is that the franchisor receives a percentage of the franchisees’ sales. So the better support we provide as a franchisor and the better the franchisee does then both parties will win as it is financially beneficial for both.”
Graham goes on to add that, “It has to be more than financial wins as well. It is about working in harmony, having good relationships, having engaged franchisees and having trust between franchisor and franchisee.”
Franchising, although it has its many positives, is not for everyone. Graham notes that in order to assess would-be franchisees, Driver Hire holds a series of meetings. Typically an initial meeting and then a meeting at Driver Hire’s head office. This gives the potential franchisee a chance to meet a lot of the support staff and to see how Driver Hire is structured. It is not just about meeting the support staff but also about spending time with them. When Driver Hire put people in contact with current franchisees they will also get feedback from those franchisees about the prospective person as to whether they think they may be suitable as a Driver Hire franchise owner. In terms of practicalities, the Driver Hire franchisees will know more about the running of the business on the floor than some of the support staff.
Graham also explains it is about the person’s skills, motivations, and whether they fit into the Driver Hire culture. There are multiple steps when it comes to assessing potential franchisees and it involves a lot of face-to-face contact. Driver Hire are very mindful that the assessment is two-ways and that the potential franchisee is assessing the company just as much as they are assessing them.
Moving onto the financial ambitions of potential franchisees, Graham explains what Driver Hire expects for franchisees.
What do you expect of Driver Hire franchisees?
“We want people to be ambitious as clearly it benefits us as the franchisor as well as the franchisee. Our ambition is to have each franchise turning over £1million with the franchisee earning a six-figure profit every year. To us, that is really what success looks like. Thirty-six Driver Hire franchises had a turnover of over a £1million last year so it is clearly very achievable. It takes hard work and determination but it is possible and we want people to have a good return on their investment.”
Having mentioned the initial two-week training and the follow-up six-month training programme to get people off to a very good start, Graham goes on to speak about the ongoing support that is available to franchisees in order for them to gain the success that is so clearly achievable.
What ongoing training and support is available for Driver Hire franchisees?
“There is an initial two-week training programme but obviously it is impossible to learn everything about running a Driver Hire franchise in that short amount of time. In addition to the six-month training programme held at the franchisee’s office, there are regional meetings, conferences and cluster meetings. In the cluster meetings, which are facilitated by the area manager, a small amount of franchisees from the same region will get together to share ideas and best practises. Some of the training for new franchisees will come from other Driver Hire franchise owners in a more informal way. For instance, picking up the phone and asking for some advice on a particular job. In fact, one of the important things we look for when assessing potential franchisees is that they are interested in being a part of a network and have the mind-set that they will happily help others out.”
When it comes to franchisees who are more mature within the business and feel it is the time to exit the company having worked hard and earned themselves a good amount, what are the options for them?
“Everybody is going to leave Driver Hire at some stage, whether it is due to retirement or because they want to try something new. For our franchisees we look for people who are hands on. It is really a decision of whether you continue with the business, in which case some franchisees will hire managers who will take care of the day-to-day running of the business, or do you sell the business and get a cash return from it?”
Graham explains at this point he will again come in to help the franchisee sell the business and get a good return from their investment. The process for many cases, Driver Hire will look for a potential franchisee for the franchise owner looking to sell their business. They can also undertake their own efforts to find a buyer – perhaps someone who works for them, family member or another person they may know. However, Driver Hire as the franchisor will have to assess that individual in exactly the same way as with any other potential franchisee. Driver Hire have a responsibility to their network and to the interested individual and that they feel they will be successful within the business.
It is clear that continuity, relationship, expertise, application and the building of local business for the win-win relationship for them and everyone involved are key when it comes to a sale transition of a franchise.
To contact Graham Duckworth directly you can email him via: firstname.lastname@example.org