Chemex couple build success on resale

Buying an existing Chemex resale franchise has given husband and wife team Mike and Karen Bird the confidence to start planning a mulit-van concern. Jane Denny investigates

Former Quantity Surveyor Mike Bird joined Chemex in 2012. He opted for early retirement following a successful freelance career lasting 35 years. He was keen to take over an established and proven business in which his wife Karen, a healthcare professional, could also be involved. The Chemex model appealed to him and he brought a County Durham-based franchise from a retiring franchise owner.

Mike says he picked Chemex because it was a long-established company with a good track record. “Although buying a virgin territory offers good value,I wanted the peace of mind of investing in an existing and already successful franchise,” he explains.

He admits the cost of investment was higher than some other franchises he looked at, but knew he was taking on a profitable business with an existing customer base. “New customers would be an additional bonus and not a necessity,” Mike comments.

“The biggest plus has been having a viable business from day one, which we are now in the process of growing. The outgoing franchisee was also very supportive in introducing me to customers. The franchisor’s support service is invaluable with regard to training, product knowledge support and admin backup. Chemex also supplies an excellent telesales service for each franchise.” Mike was attracted by the fact that a Chemex franchise involves selling as opposed to him selling, as he did before. “I wanted to run a business that was selling a product, not my time, and therefore not solely dependent on my availability or health.”

Short-term, Mike and Karen plan to establish the business as one with a turnover of at least £175,000 and a 30 per cent net profit. “Within five years the plan is to grow the business into a multiple van company generating more than £300k a year with a 25 to 30 per cent net profit,” he adds. If you want what Mike and Karen have found, take heed of his sage advice: “Maintain a positive attitude and give great customer service. On the practical side, make sure you keep on top of admin and remember that results and rewards are only generated by hard work and commitment."