Agency Express: Signs of success on every UK street

Ever wondered who is responsible for erecting the 'For Sale' signs? Agency Express is the nationwide company dedicated to the task.

Every day each one of us sees dozens of estate agency 'For Sale' boards advertising properties for sale. On virtually every street in the country people are selling property and the most important sales aid is the estate agent's 'For Sale' board. In fact, it is estimated that at any one time there are approximately 1.5 million 'For Sale' and 'To Let' boards displayed outside properties across the country.

This equates to a £20 million per annum business, which is largely unrecognised by the general public, but welcomed by the property industry.

Agency Express was set up during 1997 having identified the need for a nationwide professional and reliable daily board fixing service. Eight years later, the company services an average of 4,300 agency boards PER DAY and almost 20 per cent of all estate agency offices in the UK use an Agency Express franchisee to erect and service their 'For Sale' boards. If all the boards that Agency Express has erected during 2005 were laid end to end, they would stretch across the country from Lands End to John O' Groats.

The company currently has 87 franchisees who collectively operate 110 vans and cover areas as diverse as Aberdeen in the north to Cornwall & Kent in the south.

The Business
Working Monday to Friday during normal 'family friendly' business hours, each Agency Express franchisee works within his own fully protected territory servicing the 'For Sale' boards within the area. It is a van based business, which means low overheads and excellent earning potential.

Uniquely in the franchise industry, virtually every job carried out is based on repeat business from existing clients and therefore the need to spend money on expensive advertising is virtually non-existent.

Traditionally 'For Sale' boards have been erected by the agencies' own staff or by local sign companies that offer very limited geographical coverage and generally offer a poor standard of image and service. Over 50 per cent of the business enjoyed by Agency Express franchisees is with the large national corporate agency chains who are attracted by the unique Agency Express centralised accounts system, whereby a single invoice is provided for all their board work nationwide. This service also benefits each franchisee by reducing paperwork and administration to the barest minimum.

The Rewards
The cost of joining the franchise is £11,950 (plus reclaimable VAT) and this includes not only the 10-year Franchise Licence Fee, but also virtually everything you need to get the business up and running. This includes a total of eight days' training and business launch, the deposit paid on a brand new racked-out Renault Master Van, a computer, printer and fax machine, all the specialist equipment you need, together with corporate clothing and stationery.

The earning potential is equally impressive with the average franchise territory producing just under £50,000 per annum and top franchisees earning in excess of £100,000.

But none of this could be achieved without the high level of support provided by Agency Express to its franchisees.

Working out of 3,500sqft of modern offices in a converted old church in Norwich, 26 support staff assist with every aspect of the growth of a franchisees' business. Whether it be a technical enquiry, a Human Resources problem or even the need for a new board design, Agency Express has the support staff in place to assist with the day to day running and growth of the franchisees' business - and how the business has grown during 2005!

The business of the average Agency Express franchisee has grown by an average of over seven per cent per month during the course of 2005.

Reported by founder and Managing Director Stephen Watson