Looking to start a new business of any sort and in any structure is a life-altering and large decision. It will take financial and time commitment and you need to be sure you are giving yourself as much information as possible. Doing so can ensure your best chance of success. Here we have compiled our list of ‘things to ask a franchisor’. This will help you decide whether franchising is right for you.
We at Just Shutters have always operated under a strict policy of openness. Prospective franchisees are invited to our head office to meet our team. Additionally, to see our products and get a real sense of our company ethos. We disclose facts, figures, history and information on our current franchisees. As well as allowing open access to them so you can be sure you hear the true inside story!
The great people at the BFA (British Franchise Association) put together their top 50 questions to ask a franchisor; http://www.thebfa.org/join-a-franchise/50-questions-to-ask-a-franchisor. Sadly, we don’t have time to answer all 50 in this blog, but we have worked on their template and answered a few questions we thought were of real interest. The whole 50 can be found on the link above. Feel free to print them and come in to meet us, we will happily answer all of them face to face.
Please see our FAQ page for all of the below and more general franchise questions.
– How long have you operated the franchise model?
We started to franchise back in 2008, so it will be eight years this year (2016).
– Can I talk to or meet existing franchisees?
We are happy for prospective franchisees to talk to existing franchisees. We are very open within our network and encourage communication with our people. This includes head office staff and as we say, with existing franchisees.
– Who are the people on the head office and franchise team within your organisation?
You can find all about the Just Shutters team on our main website. A franchisee’s main point of contact within the head office will be Victor Brown, Franchise Sales Manager. Furthermore we have Simon Osterloh, Managing Director, on hand to answer any of your questions. Additionally, franchisees have access to Charlotte Fantelli Marketing Manager, our telesales team, our Sales Designers and Marcin our expert Master Fitter. These experts are on hand for help with fitting, measuring and shutter related questions. We are all here to play our part in helping you start and run your own successful Just Shutters franchise.
– May I ask for references?
We are very happy to provide you with references. We would be delighted to point you towards people from any part of the business; our customers, our financial contacts, franchisees, staff… Just ask.
– How do you select franchisees?
When it comes to selecting franchisees we have a process we usually follow; we will have a telephone conversation and if we feel we would be a right mix for each other, you will be invited to meet us face-to -face. At a meeting we discuss expectations of one another as well as facts and figures. If we feel a mutual affinity at this meeting we are happy to proceed to a more formal look over of contacts and potentially make you an offer of becoming a franchisee.
It is hard to say what percentage of initial enquirers make it through to becoming a franchisee as both party’s have to ensure we are right for one-another. However over the past year over 50% of those who have met us face-to-face have gone on to become franchisees. Please note we are usually quite selective and in-depth on initial phone conversation so as not to waste each other’s time.
– How much does your franchise opportunity cost?
Our franchise territories start at £25,000 + VAT and reach £42,000+ VAT depending on area for new franchises. The majority of our franchises cost £30,000+ VAT. Resales are of course different – check your area here to see details.
– How much working capital do I need?
We suggest a working capital of £7,500.
– Is the franchise business seasonal? Are there times of the year better than others or times I should be prepared for a downturn?
The shutter business is not seasonal and is very buoyant throughout the year. However there are busier times; our January sale, Winter sale and October ‘fitted for Christmas’ rush. While the end of November through until Christmas is slightly slower.
– What advertising and promotional help will I receive?
We have a top graphic designer who makes all our advertising material and literature. Furthermore an expert in-house marketing and SEO whizz. We also have a Google master partner Pay-Per-Click agency. Our franchisees benefit from these great people and us absorbing a large part of their costs. They benefit from the local as well as national advertising we do and find our ‘clout’ and negotiating power saves them a fortune as well as shared artwork discounts.
Part of your franchise fee covers an extensive marketing launch as well as some on-going marketing support.
On top of this you will be given your own bespoke area of our website (written by our SEO expert). This will have your own number and promoted as your own.
You will receive beautiful brochures and literature. Artwork and templates of your own as part of initial marketing launch.
Our franchisees all benefit from our national advertising; print advertising, digital advertising, video marketing and more.
– Do you train me?
We offer full training and support. Even if you are a novice in shutters (as many of our franchisees are) you will be trained in all aspects of their measure, design and fitting. We also provide excellent sales help and guidance. Our support and experts in house are also here to help you if you have a more operational training need.
– Who will be my link with you after I have opened for business?
You will have key contacts for different enquiries but Victor Brown, Franchise Sales Manager, is your key contact within the head office. Simon Osterloh, Managing Director is additionally on hand to support you. If you need a marketing question answered Charlotte Fantelli is your contact.
– Can I meet some of your staff?
You are most welcome to meet our staff. If after an initial telephone conversation we feel mutually happy to meet, you will be invited to our head office and flagship showroom where you will see our operations, our products and our HQ staff.
– What will be the opening hours of the franchise business?
Operating hours can be discussed. We offer you the opportunity to set your own hours to a certain extent as it is your own business, however we suggest usual operating hours of 9:00 – 5:00 Monday – Friday with some flexibility for evening and weekend appointments. This is because a percentage of our customers prefer an evening or weekend appointment.
– Where will I be located?
This is a van-based franchise in your own exclusive territory. You will be home-based although you will spend a lot of your working week attending appointments at peoples homes or business premises.
– What help will I receive in local advertising and promotion?
Please see above.
– What help will I have in wider promotion and advertising?
Please see above, our marketing help is so very comprehensive.
– What systems do you have for keeping franchisees in touch with you and each other?
Our franchisees all have access to one another through phone or email. Furthermore, we have a great WhatsApp group for all franchisees. We also hold social and training get-togethers to ensure our franchisees have the benefit of the support network and shared experience.
– What exclusive rights do I get?
You will have an exclusive Just Shutters territory. So, we will not sell our Just Shutters products or another Just Shutters franchise in your designated and agreed area.
– Is your company a member of the bfa?
We are a provisional member of the bfa.