Sonic Golf: Golf franchise goes... Super Sonic!

Aiming to secure 35 per cent of a market estimated to be worth in the region of £40 million a year, Sonic Golf seeks partners with good communication skills and excellent local knowledge

'We estimate the total United Kingdom market for golf club cleaning services to be in the region of £40 million a year,' reveals Joel Bissett, Managing Director of Sonic Golf. 'Our target is to secure 35 per cent of this market within the next three years. We are working to achieve this with the extension of our franchise system and a streamlined Sonic Golf franchise model.'

Joel, a keen golfer, former Regional Chairman for the British Franchise Association and founder of a leading franchise information website, was speaking at the announcement of a string of new Sonic Golf franchises. Joel has just signed franchise agreements in the UK, Spain and Portugal, with further deposits secured on a Master licence for the Republic of Ireland. Within the UK, franchises awarded recently include locations in Sussex, Essex and Hertfordshire. He confirmed that the Sonic Golf team is currently in discussion with interested parties from Australia, South Africa and France.

'Our strategy is to develop a rapid growth pattern. This process has been accelerated following an exceptional response generated through a series of September Open Days at the Manor of Groves golf club. With previously installed systems throughout the UK combined with this new batch, we are well on our way to achieving the establishment of 800 machines during the next three years.

'What makes this golf franchise so appealing to investors is that, in terms of new opportunities, there are relatively few golf investment options. We are bringing to market an innovative product with the benefit of a three-year UK pilot project. The pilot proved the durability, reliability and profitability of our offering. Sonic Golf's entry level franchise price is just under £15,000, a low investment threshold, designed to encourage rapid uptake and the acquisition of multiple licences. 'We expect an average machine to generate income from cleaning in excess of 200 sets of clubs per month,' adds Joel. 'Our trials indicate that this figure can be as high as 3,000 sets of clubs per month, and minor clubs can still generate significant profit with a throughput of 400 sets a month.

'Our unique relationship with an accredited UK ultrasonic cleaning manufacturer means we are in a strong position to deliver and service equipment quickly. Our local base also enables us to offer telesales and marketing support, which is included within the franchise licence.'

Franchisees need not be golf enthusiasts, but they will need some knowledge of their local golf market, as well as strong communication skills to draw in additional revenue through the sale of advertising space on the machines. Funding the business will be within the range of most golfers, however, they must be prepared to hire and manage part-time staff to operate the machines during peak times, again, to ensure revenue is maximised.

Sonic Golf will help franchisees to build lasting relationships with golf clubs and to site then maintain machines. Machines are placed within clubs free of charge, with a percentage of wash sales paid to the club. Currently the recommended charge is £4.50 per set - the cleaning process takes two minutes to clean the grips and heads. An independent party has piloted the franchise over the past three years, and using a single machine has achieved sales of up to £1,900 per month.

'Our roll-out deal is an initial franchise investment of £14,995,' adds Joel. 'This includes licenses for 10 machines, induction training, operations manual, maintenance manual, and ongoing support, including billing. With a minimum of administration required, Sonic Golf gets franchisees straight into the driving seat.'

Sonic Golf's machines have already been made available to golfers in key locations, including St. Andrews. They are recommended by Bill Ferguson (PGA), former coach to Ian Woosnam and other European Ryder Cup stars.