Family franchises reap the benefits

Building a business with your family can be a very rewarding venture. Franchisors discuss the various ways in which families can get ahead in franchising

Family business is big business in the UK, with over 60 per cent of the UK's small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) operated by families, Business Link has confirmed. With the recession having a negative effect on household incomes, franchising could provide a solution for families wishing to take control of their earning potential and work/life balance.

Franchising is a much safer route into self-employment than going it alone, as CEO of domestic cleaning franchise MOLLY MAID Pam Bader explains: 'As a franchise owner you have the support of a brand name and experienced support office behind you to help get the business off to the bets possible start. The franchisor will also be able to keep you up-to-date on the latest news that may affect your business. While working as a family means you can train together and support each other through the learning curve.

'At MOLLY MAID we have found that the businesses where both partners are involved in every day life, who have young children to take care of, find that the MOLLY MAID franchise allows them the flexibility to look after their family and run the business.'

While setting up a business with family members is not for everyone, for those that choose to do so, there are several benefits including working from home (in some cases), sharing the workload and a common goal to see the business succeed. These are the benefits franchise owners from MOLLY MAID, snack delivery franchise Snack-in-the-Box (SITB), commercial cleaning franchise Dublcheck and kitchen facelift franchise Dream Doors have reported.

Approximately 30 per cent of SITB's franchises are family-run businesses, with husbands and wives, partners, sisters, parents and siblings or whole families involved in the operation. SITB Franchise Director Matt O'Neil comments: 'Families seem to enjoy the flexibility and work life balance that SITB provides because the business can be run from home and is carried out predominantly Monday to Friday in office hours. Some of our franchise owners like to split the packing and servicing of customers 50:50, which enables them to run the business on a full time basis and have time for family responsibilities.'

Dublcheck founder and chairwoman Carol Stewart Gill agrees: '20 per cent of our network is run by families. Some of our franchise owners work together and share the workload, while others use their complementing skills. So one will take care of the customer liaison and administration side while the other oversees the operational aspect. Franchise owners who delegate the workload in this way have more quality time to spend with their families.'

In some instances franchisors specifically seek to recruit couples or families to operate a business. Dream Doors is a prime example. Managing Director of Dream Doors Troy Tappenden explains: 'To date 80 per cent of our franchises are operated by families. We like to recruit families, especially older couples, because they share the workload - one often canvasses the territory while the other is looking after the showroom. So both sides of the business are running efficiently and are under the direction of someone with a vested interest in the success of the business.'

Reported by Jess Sturman