Gordon Patterson talks to Nick Cooper

Franchise Consultant Gordon Patterson talks to Northwood Managing Director Nick Cooper.

Gordon Patterson: When did Northwood launch its first franchise and how many outlets do you now have in the network?

Nick Cooper (pictured): Northwood opened its first office in Portsmouth on August 1, 1995. After the success of this office, the franchise company was launched and the first franchised office opened in September 2000. The Northwood network now extends to 74 offices stretching from Aberdeen to Truro.

Gordon Patterson: Portsmouth was your original pilot operation; does that remain company-owned and, if so, how has it continued to perform?

Nick Cooper: The Portsmouth office is run as a franchise office, however it is still company owned in terms of majority shareholding. It continues to be hugely successful, generating in excess of £450,000 gross profit in the first nine months of its current financial year.

Gordon Patterson: How has the current economic climate affected the Northwood business?

Nick Cooper: The Northwood model has proved very resilient in the current economic climate due to our Unique Guaranteed Rental Income Scheme. Northwood, which offers estate agency in addition to lettings, will be well placed when the estate agency market once again begins to flourish.

Gordon Patterson: In a constantly evolving market place, have you had to significantly revise the Northwood business model in any way?

Nick Cooper: We are always refreshing our marketing to ensure that it meets current trends and demand, however the fundamental offering of the unique Platinum Guaranteed Rental Income Scheme hasn’t changed.

Gordon Patterson: In what way is the Northwood business concept and the franchise distinctive within your specific sector?

Nick Cooper: Northwood is a turn-key operation and the only company within its sector that is accredited to offer a BTECH diploma in Property and Lettings Management, testimony to the quality and depth of training that Northwood provide.

Gordon Patterson: I understand that Northwood has been granted a ‘Seat of Honour’ – is that so?

Nick Cooper: I assume you are referring to myself becoming chairman of the Safe Agent Committee of which Northwood, along with NALS, is a founding company. The Safe Agent will become a kitemark within the industry, providing consumers with a easy and clear guide to those agents that have client money protection.

Gordon Patterson: What are the essential deliverables within the Northwood franchise package?

Nick Cooper: Our unique Guaranteed Rental Income Scheme. It’s our unique selling point and gives our franchise owners an edge over the competition. It also enables them to earn double the income compared with their competitors!

Gordon Patterson: How would you summarise the franchisor back-up and support services provided by Northwood to its franchise owners?

Nick Cooper: The support and backup offered by Northwood is second to none. It is provided by a qualified and experienced team. Regional meetings are held at least twice a year and the network has the benefit of an online intranet, including an open discussion forum, marketing material, all the support documents and Operations Manual. Training courses are modular and held every month, allowing franchise owners to tailor the training for each staff member. All courses are free and can be attended as many times as they would like. Our suppport team offer support in three different forms – telephone support; remote support, where they can dial into your computer and face to face support.

Gordon Patterson: What percentage of the franchise network is complete in the UK market place and are there particular prime locations/areas that you are targeting?

Nick Cooper: There is a list of currently available territories on our website www.northwooduk.com.

Gordon Patterson: How would you summarise your key objectives moving forward into the next five years?

Nick Cooper: To continue to be market leading in our sector, and to maintain a happy profitable network of driven franchise owners.