The latest Shuttercraft franchisee, Martin Burge, who has based his business in Bristol, is already experiencing strong success. In fact, he's already exceeded all the monthly targets since launching his franchise.
Martin previously worked as a photocopying engineer, but had been plugging away in his role for a decade without a single pay rise. When he reached the stage of having just eighteen working years left before he hit retirement, he decided to seriously consider his options.
Sue, Martin's wife, had previously worked as a nursing assistant, but transitioned to self-employment by setting up a pet-grooming business two years beforehand which had experienced great success. His wife's experiences gave Martin the confidence and drive he needed to make the move to self-employment.
He knew that he could see himself running a business based around the DIY industry, which was flexible and local. But he also realised that he would need practical re-training and support with marketing and business development to build a successful new venture. Martin came across the franchising industry when he went to a BFA seminar and this helped him tremendously with his research. He eventually chose to work with Shuttercraft, who provided him with all the information and answers he needed to make the right decision.
The Appeal of Franchising
Martin explained that franchising particularly appealed to him as he would be self-employed with his own business, but within the family of an established and recognised brand. He knew too that he'd receive the necessary training, business development and marketing support necessary. Shuttercraft as a brand particularly appealed as the franchise offered the back-up of the UK's leading distributor of shutters and a huge established network of independent UK retailers. The brand also had field-based account managers who were there to provide support and help in building profitable new retail partnerships within his local territory.
Martin was very impressed with the training he received, explaining that he'd developed the requisite practical skills of measuring and fitting shutters extremely rapidly, thanks to guidance from some of the UK's top fitters. He was also delighted with the investment that Shuttercraft made in him even before he had truly got his venture fully going. In fact, the Shuttercraft team set up his website and ensured that it was optimised so that Martin's business was ranking top of the Google local searches. He was also impressed by the cash-positive business model, as Shuttercraft customers pay a 50pc deposit when they make an order. This means cash flow from the first order onwards.
Martin is now up and running, having received all the necessary training. This included practical training in the brand's customer and sales processes, which helped Martin to achieve excellent sales conversions from the start. He was also given access to the company's invoice and quote software which allows for easy quoting and margin management. Alongside these benefits was in-depth product training provided by top fitters and surveyors, to give Martin the skills and confidence he needed to survey and fit new shutters for his customers. Other training included marketing and sales, administrative systems and more.
The Future Looks Good
Martin's excellent support and training package, combined with his drive and zeal to succeed, has led to an incredible first year in business as a Shuttercraft franchisee. He explained that his future had previously been bleak and his aspirations fairly low, but by buying his new franchised business he had developed a real passion for being his own boss. Seeing the huge potential for income and success, he said that the move was the best he'd ever made.
The Day-to-Day Role
Martin explains that his role as a franchise owner within the Shuttercraft brand means managing all the processes and functions within his business each day, from new-business development through to sales promotion, customer quotes and surveys and the resulting installation. He builds client relationships to encourage strong repeat business, works to grow the franchise and will eventually be recruiting and developing his own team. Regular meetings with the Shuttercraft team help analyse his marketing return and put into place/revise marketing activities to ensure a steady stream of leads.
Factors for Success
In terms of attributes that Martin feels are necessary to be a franchisee, particularly with Shuttercraft, he believes that a passion for service and a great eye for detail are both essential. He says that franchisees who are naturally 'people-oriented' will have an advantage thanks to their empathy and those with a potential for craftsmanship will relish the hands-on side of the business. Supporting skills such as sales and marketing are useful, but Martin believes that these can be learned during the franchise training delivered via the support team.
Shuttercraft is the UK's leading supplier of high-quality shutter products for windows and exclusively supplies the S:CRAFT range of shutters, venetian and honeycombe blinds. All products within the Shuttercraft range are branded and the franchise development team is committed to providing the best support possible, including an ongoing programme of marketing support, R&D and market research. Set-up costs are relatively low at 16,900 plus VAT and there is a potential to generate as much as 64,000 of trading profit in the second year, with higher possibilities for those with greater ambitions. Extra working capital may be needed and every franchisee receives a geographical territory which is protected and pre-assessed for sales viability.
At Franchise Expo, we'd all like to congratulate Martin on his franchisee success with the well-known Shuttercraft brand and we're delighted to hear yet another positive story of success in the franchising industry. In a tough economic climate, it seems that more and more formerly employed people are taking successful steps towards self-employment via the franchising model. This certainly bodes well for 2013!