The key to success is excellent project management

All Trades Network franchise owner Yannis Nicolaidis proves that you do not need a background in the building industry to build a successful franchise

First-rate organisational skills and an entrepreneurial spirit are the key attributes needed to become a successful franchise owner according to Yannis Nicolaidis, who was one of the first of a new breed of entrepreneurs to join All Trades Network. The 42 year-old became one of the company's first franchise owners in 2005 and has since built up a successful business that provides property repair services to the insurance industry.

After many years working in the IT industry, Yannis began to look for a change in career direction and wanted the freedom that self-employment can bring - giving him more time to spend with his wife Melanie, a teacher, and their teenage daughter. He also wanted to be fairly rewarded for his efforts and to make money for himself rather than for a large corporation.

'Franchising seemed to offer the ideal solution,' says Yannis, who is based in the North West of England and whose territory includes South Manchester and Warrington. 'At the time I also wanted to make use of my extensive experience of project management and I spent quite a lot of time looking at various franchise opportunities. I realised that whatever I chose to do, it would be difficult to approach large national companies on my own and so when I came across All Trades Network I was immediately impressed at what they had to offer.'

Four years on and Yannis now leads a team of experienced tradesmen who carry out repair and restoration work on behalf of some of the country's best known insurance companies and claims management firms. He project manages repair work on domestic properties including homes damaged by fire, flood or any other incident covered by the homeowner's insurance policy.

Yannis continues: 'The last four years have been hard work but the fact that I had no previous experience of the building industry has not hindered me in any way. What has helped is good organisational skills and experience of customer relations.

'This has enabled me to put together a team of quality tradesmen who can deliver a first class service. When we carry out any work on a property, we ensure the repairs are carried out to the highest standards and personally I find it really rewarding when the householder returns after the work is completed to see their home restored to its pre-claim condition.'

Yannis also praises the team at All Trades Network head office for their support while the training they have provided has also proved invaluable: 'The team in Blackburn, led by Managing Director Keith Roberts, is always available to offer sound advice and expertise on all aspects of the business. All Trades is also a very forward thinking company and I'm looking forward to developing more specialist services to help the business expand.'

Reported by Martin Farrow