A good name, a solid reputation and a brilliant approach to customer service
Bairstow Eves franchise owner Craig Anderson is looking forward with confidence after seeing the turnover of his Hayes business almost tripling in his first year of operation.
Hayes-based Craig Anderson knows the local property market inside out. Having spent the best part of 20 years working for both corporate and independent estate agencies in the area, he's fully aware of the potential - and challenges - faced by a new property business and what it takes to make the most of them.
When he had the chance to become the franchise owner for Bairstow Eves in Hayes just over a year ago, Craig had little hesitation in joining the network.
"I didn't have to think too hard about taking the opportunity," remembers Craig. "I knew the area and the market very well, and if I was going to have any estate agency franchise it would have to be Bairstow Eves. They have a good name, a solid reputation and a brilliant approach to customer service". Under the Bairstow Eves Franchising system each franchise owner develops and operates their own full-service estate agency and lettings business using the company's distinctive brand, knowledge, training and proven systems.
All new Bairstow Eves franchise owners undertake a 30-day training programme that equips them and their staff with the knowledge they'll require to run a successful property service business, and will help with refining the skills of those with previous industry experience.
Franchise owners receive ongoing support and advice from the Head Office based franchising team and dedicated field-based Franchise Business Managers.
"The beauty of having the support of a head office is that you have plenty of corporate style back-up," says Craig. "Independent agents don't have the backing of an established name, and it makes such a difference in building customer confidence. And it's obviously reassuring to know there's a huge amount of experience and resources to call on when you need it."
Opening in January 2009, Craig's business immediately made an impact on the local property market, and he's delighted with the start he's made.
"We had a very successful first year, with turnover reaching almost £330,000," he reports. "That's especially impressive given the recession we were going through. We're competing with about 20 other estate agents in this area, and there's no doubt the Bairstow Eves brand contributed to our success." Craig is not one to rest on his laurels, however - Craig has already invested in a second Bairstow Eves franchise business which is due to open in the summer of 2010.
"It's a very changeable market," he says, "and you've got to be ready to adapt. I've got a very talented team behind me and together with the support we get from Bairstow Eves, particularly in respect of marketing and promotions, we'll be maximising on the huge potential I know this area has."
For potential franchise owners looking to become part of the Bairstow Eves network, Craig advises that previous property experience can help but is by no means essential.
"Offering a high quality property service is all about understanding the area and the needs of your customers," he says. "Although I do have previous experience, I think it's more important to have the drive and motivation to do well. It's reassuring to have the power of a recognised brand like Bairstow Eves behind you, but if you want the results you got to put the effort in."
For Craig, joining the growing network of Bairstow Eves businesses around the UK has been an ideal way to build on his past and look forward to the future with confidence.
"The best thing about being a franchise owner is that it puts you in total control," he reflects. "It gives me the freedom to use all the training I've had and to use all my past experience to move the business in the right direction under the guidance of a recognised and respected brand."