Originally published 2012. For up to date information on our franchisees stories please see some testimonials here: Franchise success stories.
Since starting his business in April 2011, it’s been a busy 18 months for Andrew Cook, owner of the Just Shutters Exeter and the South West franchise – but he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Above: Andrew Cook of Just Shutters South West
Not only was Andrew faced with the prospect of starting a new business, but he also had to relocate to Exeter in Devon, from Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, where he had been running a car body repair business.
“I’ve absolutely no regrets,” he enthused, “since starting the business things have built steadily month by month. Going to county shows has brought many orders and I get a fair amount of referrals from satisfied customers, of course. I get a lot of enquiries each month and the conversion rate is really good. People really like the quality of the product.”
“It takes time to establish a brand in a new location and now Just Shutters is more well known than when I started the business. The thing about my area – and probably a lot of other places – is people prefer to buy from local businesses rather than the large national companies.”
Placing display advertisements in interior design shops is a marketing strategy that has also paid off for Andrew. “I’ve had a quite a few orders that way. I wouldn’t say I have a typical customer; it’s people of all ages and from a variety of backgrounds. Some are improving their homes; others are first-time buyers looking to add some ‘wow factor’. Many people choose shutters rather than curtains and blinds, which they view as ordinary and even a bit old-fashioned.”
Andrew loves living in Devon. He added: “It’s a lovely place and there’s so much to do down here, including surfing, which is one of my passions. At the weekend, I can go cycling in breathtaking countryside or walk my dog in Dartmoor or visit Cornwall. It has been a big change for me, but I’m glad I made the move.”
So what has been the biggest lesson he has learned while running his businesses? “The importance of attention to detail,” he replied. “If you follow the Just Shutters processes to the letter you can’t go wrong. That’s not just about fitting the shutters; it’s everything, from providing quotes to after sales support. The initial training you receive from Chris Rocker really is fantastic – it covers everything.”
Andrew is optimistic for the future of his business. “We all know money is tight at the moment because of the economy, but things are good for my business and I think that will only get better when the recovery starts,” he concluded.