After two years of strengthening its management structure and with many franchise showrooms established, Dream Doors is well prepared to achieve its national ambitions. Gordon Patterson and Gary Rigby put their questions to the management team
Gary Rigby: Where does Dream Doors sit within its market sector?
Troy Tappenden: Dream Doors are an alternative to general kitchen companies since we can transform a kitchen by replacing the doors and drawer fronts in less time, for less money and with little upheaval for the customer. All of our doors are made to measure and are far superior in terms of manufacturing and quality to a standard flat packed product. Middle-market would best describe our position - our average facelift is £3,500 and at 50 per cent less than the cost of a like for like new kitchen. Cheaper kitchens can be bought from high-street and flat-pack specialists, but our product and service beats them every time.
GR: How has the business changed in the last couple of years of trading?
TT: The last two years have seen the most dramatic changes to the company in eight years of trading. We now have 18 showrooms open across the UK and in each area this has substantially increased franchisee turnover. Brand awareness has grown and we are committed to extensive national advertising campaigns. Levels of franchisee support have increased to reflect the demands of a growing network achieving record levels of sales. New Head Office premises were obtained three years ago and the management team, along with support staff, have doubled in that time.
Gordon Patterson: To what degree does sales performance of the franchisees depend on store location?
Alex Waite: It is critical. There are a number of factors to take into account, such as size, displays, layout, marketing and staff - but the most important is location. Without the right positioning, the other factors are largely irrelevant. Dream Doors will help our franchisees source the best location for their showroom using our years of experience and the most up-to-date statistical and demographical research.
GP: How does Dream Doors achieve customer satisfaction?
TT: Quality products, professionally installed and with the highest levels of customer care and service. Referrals are a huge part of our business, and without satisfied customers we would not generate half the business that we do. All of our franchisees are independently monitored by Checkatrade who score them in areas such as tidiness, courtesy, workmanship and value for money. We are extremely proud of the high scores that our franchisees consistently achieve and of the comments included from satisfied customers. We only take a 50 per cent deposit from the customers and they pay the balance on satisfactory completion of the job. This means we have to provide a good service and get the job done, otherwise we will not get paid!
GR: Have there been any recent developments or innovations with respect to the product range or business systems?
AW: Dream Doors are launching a new range of doors to add to our existing portfolio that will give us a unique position within the market. We are always looking at ways to develop our business systems and are updating our website to give us an even greater online presence. We are introducing a CRM system for us and our franchisees and an online ordering system to streamline logistics and supplier communications.
GR: What kind of profile makes a Dream Doors franchisee?
AW: Our franchisees spend the majority of their time meeting customers and must be comfortable in selling. A career history in sales and management would be an advantage, but we have successful franchisees from a variety of backgrounds. There is no cold calling as all leads are generated through advertising. Kitchen industry experience is not necessary as we help recruit an installation team and fully train our franchisees in the Dream Doors methodology. Good communication skills are important and our franchisees must be ethical as they will be invited into people's homes. Self motivated and hard working individuals will get the most from life outside the corporate arena.
GP: With your ever increasing volume of sales, do you have good supplier's arrangements which benefit the franchise network?
AW: We only deal with the best and, due to the increasing levels of business we do with our key suppliers, we have negotiated preferential terms and prices that benefit our entire network. Dream Doors have just recruited a Supplier Manager to maintain levels of communication between our franchisees and our suppliers. This will ensure that, as we continue to grow, our lead time to customers will not be adversely effected and our franchisees can continue to offer the highest levels of service and delivery.
GR: What are the key benefits of owning a Dream Doors Franchise? TT: As with any genuine franchise, Dream Doors offer a proven model that has been tested and benchmarked over a number of years. By owning a Dream Doors franchise you are buying an existing business model that, through hard work and by learning from us, can generate substantial levels of income. The concept and product has massive customer interest and is largely recession proof. The business is out there and we want franchisees in every postcode to benefit from that.
GP: Are there any areas within the UK that you are particularly interested in appointing franchisees? TT: There are areas available throughout the UK and Ireland but particularly in the West Midlands, the Home Counties, Scotland and Wales. We generate a huge number of leads through our national advertising and there is nothing more frustrating than finding customers who do not have a local Dream Doors branch to service them.
GP: How many Dream Doors franchises are you looking to assign in the UK?
AW: Between 100 and 120.
GP: How has the management structure of Dream Doors developed with the phenomenal growth of the franchise network?
TT: The depth of knowledge and experience within the Dream Doors management structure is unparalleled. Some of the team have been involved from the outset and we have newer members who have brought different skills and methods to the table. By recruiting individuals with backgrounds in kitchens, logistics, advertising, marketing, law and human resources, the management team at Dream Doors is in the best position to advise, support and drive forward a dynamic and diverse franchised network.