The advantages of setting up a franchise

Rik Hellewell, franchising expert and founder of oven valeting business Ovenu, talks about the many advantages of setting up a franchise compared to starting a new business from scratch.

I have been immersed in the wonderful world of franchising since the early 1990s when I first started to franchise my business offering. Since then it has been very much a journey, guiding and mentoring my team of 105 franchisees based the length and breadth of the UK. It’s been a thrilling but challenging time, and I’m very proud of the numerous solid business achievements of the franchisees and of the strength of the brand itself.

The beauty of the cleaning business is that it’s accessible to most people, so that makes it an ideal franchising opportunity. An added bonus is that start-up costs are relatively inexpensive, and the process involved in getting the business off the ground is also pretty straightforward.

Franchising is the ideal business model

Franchising can be the ideal business model for anyone thinking about starting their own business, but who is unsure about the direction to take, and is uncertain about becoming self-employed. Franchises, with their strong brand and support network, are often the best way to start a business for people who may currently be employed. They can often be the perfect solution for anyone who is unsure about dipping their toes into the more uncertain waters of self-employment.

Our start-up package also provides a level of support, and promotional activity that is perfect for people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Franchise packages should provide excellent earnings potential and allow the opportunity to hit the ground running with support packages such as a comprehensive ISO9001-accredited induction training courses.

In our particular company, franchisees also benefit from flexible working hours and a scalable business model, allowing expansion into a multi-van operation should a franchisee wish to go down that well-trodden avenue for building a successful business.

Franchisees from all backgrounds

I have franchisees of all ages and backgrounds and there are numerous case studies that provide testament to the fact that anyone with no prior experience of the oven valeting industry can set up their own franchising business, and go on to develop a successful business. In Uxbridge and Maidenhead for example we have two of the country’s youngest franchisees in Richard Charalambides and Ryan Penniston who are both aged 22. Both are bucking the trend as business owners in their early 20s, as franchisees are typically aged 49, according to the Natwest BFA Franchise Survey 2012.

Most small business owners fall into the 35 to 44 (25 per cent), 45 to 54 (31 per cent) and 55 to 64 (26 per cent) age categories, according to the survey by ‘Start your own Business 2012.’ Richard says that more young people should consider setting up their own franchise business – especially in today’s tough economic climate where jobs are hard to find.

Richard also says that he made the decision to set up his own business after finding that many employers were only offering short-term work in the downturn. He made the decision that a strong franchise, rather than starting a new business from scratch, would be the best, and most straightforward, option for him, especially in the recession.

Richard is a young man who took his future into his own hands after experiencing repeated setbacks in finding work, and is finding success in generating business and gaining loyal repeat customers. At the other end of the scale, we have franchisees such as 58-year old Ray Gayden who have come into the business after being employed for many years.

According to the latest research by over-50 business starter support charity PRIME, businesses started by people over 50 have a 70 per cent chance of surviving their first five years – compared with only a 28 per cent chance for those younger than them. These case studies just go to show that franchising can be a very viable and workable option for the many people who are considering setting up their own business.

Although some oven valeting ventures require franchisees to get involved with some level of the cleaning, getting your hands dirty is one of the common misconceptions of cleaning franchises. In fact, many are management-based and are often some of the most corporate franchise organisations around! With a management franchise, you have the option to employ staff to carry out the cleaning while you take on much more of an operational role, which is the case for many of our franchisees.

The role of a franchisee

Many others choose to take on a more ‘hands-on’ role, and positively enjoy working at the coal face of the oven valeting business. Whether a franchise targets commercial or domestic cleaning markets, every postcode area offers hundreds – if not thousands – of potential clients. Almost everyone has an oven, but it is a good idea to target niche areas, if you possibly can. For instance, it is often a good idea to target commercial enterprises such as letting agents that have the already established networks of customers to tap into.

Many of our franchisees have excellent working relationships with such businesses, and they can prove to be an extremely fruitful way of getting established in business. Whatever way you choose to start your own business, franchising can be a very attractive and a very viable option for many people. Starting a new business is never an easy and straightforward option, but setting up in business as part of a larger and established company can be the best way forward for an increasing number of people making the leap into self-employment.

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Rik Hellewell

Rik Hellewell is a franchising expert and founder of Ovenu.

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Franchise Opportunities

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