A franchise with a great support structure

Although Countrywide Signs franchisee Tim Mason launched his business less than a year ago, he already has clear plans for its future

I've spent 30 years working for someone else and always having to answer to someone, however now I'm running my own Countrywide Signs franchise I can make all the decisions myself and am in control of my own destiny.

Leaving my previous job as a manager in the connections department of Eon Energy, I was fed up of working long hours for someone else and wanted to start working for myself. I began looking to set-up my own business and when someone suggested franchising to me it appealed as a more secure way of starting a business. I like the fact that my business is my own and I decide what to achieve, but at the same time I always operate with support behind me. I was interested in the property sector and Countrywide Signs appealed to me as a business that I could run by myself without needing to employ anyone to help me. I also liked the fact that I would be outdoors a lot and the initial investment and overheads were low compared with the other franchises I had looked at.

Once I spoke to Countrywide Signs Sales Director John Ball I became more and more interested. I could see from the first conversation with John that the franchise has an excellent support structure, is well established and the atmosphere within the organisation is very much like a family. I launched my business in November covering the Nottingham area and the support has lived up to my expectations. If I need any information or advice all I have to do is call the relevant department - someone at head office will either resolve it over the phone or come out to visit me.

Additionally Countrywide Signs has spent a lot of time setting up a database system which makes it very easy for estate agents to place an order - they book a job on the system and that order will go onto my job sheet for the next day. The computer system also allows me to produce invoices at the touch of a button, as well as keep track of where my boards are and at what stage of the sales process they are at.

I'm aiming to achieve a turnover of £50,000 for my first year and I've got a clear plan of how I want to develop my business. By this time next year I want another van in operation and in two to three years' time I plan to have three vans, as I know that my area will easily have the work to support this.

Reported by Derin Ibrahim