What makes a successful franchise and what should you expect from your franchisor?
Success is down to a number of factors but if you’re looking to buy a franchise you should look for evidence of a proven business model and a strong brand in a sector or industry showing signs of sustainability and room for long term growth.
For example; established in 1983, Driver Hire is celebrating its 30th year in business and has been franchising since 1987. Driver Hire operates within the recruitment sector, which is worth approximately £24bn per year in the UK. The success of this B2B management recruitment brand is strengthened by its full membership of the bfa and ‘Franchisor of the Year’ award wins. In fact Driver Hire has been a finalist in the annual ‘Franchisor of the Year’ awards for the last eight years running – something no other franchisor has achieved!
“When I started to look at Driver Hire and met with their Franchise Sales Director, I soon learnt about the strength of the Driver Hire brand. In fact it’s the UK’s market leader for supplying temporary staff to the logistics sector. Even though I had no recruitment experience, I could see it was a straightforward business and further down the line would be a business my children could come into and run.” – Jamie Williamson, Driver Hire Portsmouth Franchisee
Becoming your own boss and setting up a business is a risky affair. Going down the franchised route adds security and provides you with an experienced network and franchisor you can call upon for assistance on all business levels.
A good franchisor will support you all the way, including your period of due diligence, where they should provide information and help you to set realistic expectations. One way of doing this will be to encourage you to talk to any of their current franchisees, so you can ask your own questions and learn what is expected from you and by your future customers.
They will also provide pre-launch training, help in getting started, good IT systems, ongoing sales and marketing support and the opportunity to share ideas with your peers within the franchise network.
As well as a two-week foundation training programme, the Driver Hire support package –backed by a head office team of over 50 staff – includes administrative functions such as invoicing and payroll; a bespoke IT system that takes care of bookings, candidates and customer records; a national accounts team that delivers centrally-won business opportunities; a marketing team providing a steady stream of professional marketing resources and a dedicated Area Development Manager.
In addition to this Driver Hire arranges regular franchisee territory meetings, two conferences each year, additional training when new services are developed, a franchisee buddy scheme and an interactive online forum.
“I religiously attend Driver Hire’s territory meetings. It’s great because I get to meet up with people who are in and understand my business, but who I’m not competing against,” – Rod Halling, Driver Hire Plymouth Franchisee
Of course, the single most important factor in any successful franchise is the hard work and determination of its franchisee. It’s essential whilst researching the different franchise opportunities available, that you also look at your own skills and work/life expectations. Do you want to ‘provide the service’ or ‘manage the service’, sell to customers or to businesses, work from home or in the ‘office’ – and how much time and effort are you really prepared to put into your new venture?
Running a franchise can be a big commitment (financially and emotionally) and all really successful franchisees work hard. To make sure you get it right, do lots of research and make sure the franchise you choose gives you; the lifestyle you want, the income you need and the enjoyment you deserve.