FDS North & Scotland Q&A

FDS North Franchise Consultant, Tony Urwin speaks with Eddie Mulqueen, Franchise Manager at All Trades Network

Q. What does All Trades Network do?
A. We offer property re-instatement, repair and maintenance services to insurers, loss adjusters and other property professionals, all managed through our service centre based in Blackburn.

Q. In which industry?
A. Principally we operate within the domestic property insurance sector; our services range from initial validation and surveying of the works required through to undertaking and managing the necessary repairs.

Q. Why did All Trades Network decide to franchise its business?
A. Our head office is based in the North West of England and as our reputation as a company that delivers developed, so did our workload. Our clients knew that they could rely on our services and started to provide instructions outside of our core location. We knew that we needed to expand our operation and, after exploring the options available, decided to franchise our operation in 2005. We now have over 30 franchised regional offices throughout the UK.

Q. Why not simply open additional branches?
A. Where do you start? As our clients were requesting works nationwide, we would have been required to open several new branches in territories which would be unfamiliar to us. Recruiting local property professionals to manage their local teams, using local contacts was the way forward - that way we only recruit the best trades people to undertake our clients’ instructions. We also harness the enthusiasm, responsibility and ambitions of the franchise owners in moving the business forward – a win-win for both parties.

Q. Which people would you describe as your ‘ideal’ franchise owners?
A. Committed people who have a desire to own their own business, have the ability to manage their own small team of contractors and who have an understanding of property in general and who are willing to do that little extra to ensure customer satisfaction and their own personal success.

Q. Do they need to be property professionals - such as surveyors or contract managers to be successful?
A. No. While, the majority of our franchise owners have generally carried out a wide range of property repairs themselves, they all display the skills of man-management, either at supervisor or management level. This enables them to manage their workforce effectively. In addition, they display good business management skills – some of them ran their own businesses before joining All Trades.

They have excellent communication skills and are able to relate well to everyone they come into contact with. They are able to discuss the work in hand with the homeowners/tenants affected, who often need reassurance, liaise with loss adjustors representing the insurer, or indeed direct with the insurer (our client), regarding the progress of any claim – at the same time keeping their support team at head office fully updated using our own comprehensive software support package.

Q.How does All Trades Network help their franchise owners find work?
A.Underpinning our business throughout much of the country is our relationship with insurance companies, While this does not generate work in all territories, the fact that the territory has an All Trades franchise owner in place allows us to invite the insurance companies to provide work. In addition, we provide excellent web coverage by way of a comprehensive website individually designed for each franchise owner, enabling them to promote their services within their region. This is supported by our marketing team and national web presence.

Q.Are there certain areas of the UK where All Trades are seeking new franchise owners?
A.We still have a number of territories available, and are especially interested in applicants from the South West/East of England and the Home Counties; however, there are still prime territories available throughout the mainland UK.