"The BCR Associates' business model is really straightforward"
Two friends decided to secure their futures before new Government regulations affected their careers as independent financial advisers by investing in a BCR Associates franchise.
Neil Rice (pictured top) and Lee Davison (pictured second from top) had been running a successful and Independent Financial Advice practice in Exeter for a number of years before the Government announced that it would be making changes to the regulatory system for the UK's financial industry.
However, like many independent financial advisers, Neil and Lee believed these changes in the Financial Services Authority (FSA) regulations, due by the end of 2012, would impact adversely on their incomes.
"As we have been friends for years and share an office in Exeter, we were both looking to do something different and rewarding," explains Neil. "So when we both came across BCR Associates we were instantly attracted to the excellent franchise opportunity." One of the aspects Neil and Lee liked about the company was that because they both have children, they could remain in the Exeter area due to the fact that, unlike many franchises, BCR Associates franchise owners are not tied down to one specific territory.
"As the work is mainly computer driven, we are not restricted to the South West and we have commercial customers as far away as the Midlands," adds Neil.
Neil and Lee - plus the entire BCR Associates' network - specialise in making savings to their clients' essential running costs across energy, telecoms, insurance, water, staff, finance, vehicles, business rates and green services.
"The BCR Associates business model is very straightforward - it saves its customers money without costing them anything as we get paid by the suppliers, whereas a number of other companies charge a fee or take a percentage of the savings," says Neil. "In fact every business should take the opportunity for BCR Associates to review their utility bills and make savings and increase their bottom line profit."
Lee explains further: "How it works is that we receive copies of the bills from clients, analyse their current situation on their behalf, deliver a review and recommendations and then put their new contracts out to tender across BCR Associates' wide network of supply chain partners. "We are then able to negotiate some of the best rates and tariffs available and our clients receive 100 per cent of the savings." Having invested in the BCR Associates' franchise opportunity, Neil and Lee were able to broaden their already considerable experience by going on the company's pre-launch training programme.
"The training BCR Associates provided was excellent," says Neil. "We both come from a sales background but what BCR Associates provides its clients was a new in-depth process for us.
"The training manual we were supplied with is a fabulous reference tool and we are impressed that the support services from head office really are second-to-none, with a negotiator or any other help just a phone call away."
Neil advises some experience in the finance industry would be advantageous but not essential.
"You have to be very organised and computer literate and have good interpersonal skills as you will be dealing with people up to Managing Director level," he adds.
"While coming from a sales environment is also useful, BCR Associates has an intensive system in place to help you monitor your work for maximum efficiency and achieve your goals."
Since the pair launched their BCR Associates franchise in July, the business has been going very well.
"As Lee and I have the same skills we are able to share the workload," says Neil. "We have our business plan and targets in place which, although still early days, we look like comfortably hitting.
"At present we are working on consolidating our business but eventually hope to employ someone to handle the company's administration work so that we can concentrate fully on making savings for our clients and generating good profitable returns."
There is great potential in the business and we see many opportunities for expanding the business. If you think about it, clients can't lose with this service.
Reported by Fraser McKay