20% growth despite the downturn

With his business continuing to grow Sharone Freed has plans to build it into a large operation

2009 was a good year for Sharone Freed as he not only won the Colourfence Franchisee of the Year Award but also continued to see his business grow. "At the end of 2009 my business has had a 20 per cent increase on last year," he reveals. "I think one of the main reasons why I have been successful is because I have done more marketing than in the previous year. This has lead to my customer base growing, which is set to continue as there are still people not aware of the Colourfence product."

Colourfence was established in 2003 when the concept was brought to the UK from Australia and has been franchising since 2005. Colourfence franchise owners sell and install high tensile steel fencing, which is a practical alternative to traditional wooden fencing.

In fact Sharone first came across Colourfence while searching for an alternative for his own fencing. "I was a Sales Executive for the RAC and I was looking for a fencing solution for my own home that was different to the traditional timber solution," he recalls. "Looking online I came across Colourfence and researched it as a customer. I met with Colourfence's co-Founder Mark Stewart-Woods and his team and was so impressed with the product and the people that when I learned it was available as a franchise in my area I had to go for it."

Prior to launching his Cambridgeshire-based franchise in July 2007 Sharone completed the Colourfence training programme. "The training programme was tailored to what skills I already had and where I needed to grow," he comments. "As I already had a strong background in sales and administration we focused the training on the operational side of installing and erecting the fencing and Colourfence Customer Service. Training took place partly at head office and partly within my territory.

"As well as the initial training there is a support team at head office for whatever help I need, be it a technical question for the manufacturing team, administration or sales. Whenever I have a question I know that help is just a phone call away. They have exceeded their obligations to me."

Although Sharone enjoys being his own boss he admits that it is hard work: "Running my Colourfence business takes a lot of my time, however the flexibility is great and if I need to take time off it is up to me." With his business thriving Sharone has plans to build it further. "At the moment I have one part time person working for me," he explains. "In the future I want to grow into a large operation where I will have a team of people installing fences."

Reported by Derin Ibrahim

Initial Investment Requirement

Maximum total investment: £35,000

This covers the licence fee & launch package (£15,000)

Vehicle deposit, tools and equipment (£5,000)

Working capital/short term income requirement (£15,000)

Funding can be arranged for up to 70% of this figure (subject to status) which means interested parties should have access to approximately £10,000 from their own sources.