This product IS the future'

So impressed with the quality of Colourfence's product was James Hunter, that he decided to buy the franchise

Wooden fencing has been popular with UK homeowners for many years, however it is often high maintenance and lacking in longevity. Colourfence's alternative high tensile steel fencing, which is low maintenance and lasts for at least 25 years, is steadily increasing in popularity.

It was the superior standard of products that Colourfence provides that first attracted experienced wooden fencer James Hunter to the franchise. He recalls: 'I'd been working in wooden fencing all my adult life and about three to four years ago I was looking for another product to sell alongside wooden fencing. I came across Colourfence when it first arrived in the UK and at that time they allowed me to sell their product alongside my traditional fencing.'

As Colourfence products became established the company decided to use franchising as a means of developing the business and James was invited to become a pilot franchise owner and leave timber behind for good. "Although I'd never considered buying a franchise before, I decided to become a Colourfence franchise owner as I could see that their fencing is far superior than wooden ones," says James. "For example with Colourfence, customers are given a 25 year guarantee when they purchase a fence, but most can last many years longer."

Colourfence originated in Australia, where its product accounts for 40 per cent of the Australian market. The company first launched in the UK in 2003 and since then it has won numerous awards including the Gold Award at the Royal Horticultural Society Blenheim Place Show as part of a show garden and the Silver Award in the 'Best Labour Saving Product or Service' category of The National Gardening Awards 2004.

As one of the first UK Colourfence franchise owners James immediately recognised the potential of the business. He reveals: "When I was selling Colourfence fencing before joining the franchise I could see that this product IS the future and that I could build up a successful business with it."

Despite the fact that James had many years of experience of working in the fencing industry he still underwent Colourfence's training programme prior to launching his franchise in 2006. He explains: "I went on a two week training course, most of which involved hands-on training on how to install the fencing. Since launching my Buckinghamshire-based franchise I've had lots of support from head office. If I have any questions all I have to do is pick up the phone and call them - there is always someone there who can help."

Having reached a turnover substantially greater than that of his old timber business at its peak and estimating his business will increase by another 50 per cent this year, James is very happy with his franchise. He says: 'I really like the fact that this job allows me to work outside. This franchise would definitely suit someone who enjoys working outdoors and being hands-on.

"In the future I want to build my business substantially and head office are really supportive of my efforts. They recently confirmed that we will be undertaking a national TV advertising campaign in the UK after a successful trial with the Irish network. I'm really excited by this prospect as it will mean wider exposure for the Colourfence brand, and increased sales opportunities for me."

Interview by Derin Ibrahim