'I'm the toughest boss I have worked for!'

From satisfied customer to thriving franchisee, Cambridge-based Sharone Freed discusses how he came to invest in a Climar Colourfence franchise

Q: Why did you decide to look into franchising?
Sharone Freed: I didn't! 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.

Looking online I came across Colourfence and researched it as a customer. I met with 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.

Q: What appealed most about the franchise?
SF: The quality and the exclusivity of the product, plus the fact that apart from timber there is no direct competitor with metal fencing. Also, the passion and experience of the people behind the business was a big plus. Mark may be the Managing Director but he is happy to be hands-on with the business demonstrating good leadership skills which left me with a positive impression of the company as a whole.

Q: What training did you receive?
SF: The training programme was tailored to what skills I already had and where I needed to grow. 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.

Q: Has the business met your expectations?
SF: The level of support provided has allowed me to far exceed my first year targets and whatever Mark and his team have promised has always been delivered.

Q: What support have you received?
SF: 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.

Q: How do you generate business?
SF: In my first month of trading I exhibited at a local garden show from which I secured my first three customers. Further business is generated through a combination of leaflet drops, local advertising and national advertising by head office. As my business has grown I now get an increasing number of referrals by happy customers.

Q: What is your current turnover? Are you on target to meet your business plan?
SF: When I first started I had a business plan target for my first year. I achieved this target within the first nine months and to date I am currently 29 per cent over target with two months left to go.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your business?
SF: I enjoy being my own boss...even though I am probably the toughest boss I have worked for! My goal is to add a couple of vans and a team of employees, to build a substantial business and a secure future for my family.