Northwood grows through acquisition

With a recent takeover of a competitor boosting Northwood's national presence, Franchise Director Nick Cooper answers questions about the future for the Northwood network

Gordon Patterson: How have recent market changes in property sales affected your business?
Nick Cooper: The recent changes in the property sales market have had a positive impact on the lettings business, in particular our unique guaranteed rental income product, which provides certainty in an uncertain world.

GP:We understand that you have negotiated a recent acquisition in your market sector?
NC:Yes, we've recently acquired Jordans Franchising Ltd, the franchising arm of the Jordans Lettings business, and are in the process of converting seven of these branches to Northwood. We've offered them new franchise agreements with new and improved terms. It's fair to say that they are all excited about the future.

Gary Rigby: With an expanding franchise organisation, have you increased yourhead office support services?
NC:As a consequence of the recent acquisition we've increased the support team and within the last year recruited a Senior Training Manager.

GP:Has your franchise package changed in any way over time?
NC:We are always improving our franchise package but we remain one of the only property sector franchises to offer all of the three services - lettings, sales and mortgages - in one package.

GR:What do you see to be the key distinctive features of the Northwood business concept?
NC:Quite simply our unique guaranteed rental income scheme is the difference and we now have over 5,000 landlords enjoying its benefits. This scheme is hugely profitable for the franchisees creating income double that which can be expected from a traditional lettings business

GP:You are becoming a rather powerful brand in your sector of the UK marketplace - what is your ultimate goal in terms of number of offices opened?
NC:We now have over 57 offices open and trading in most of the major conurbations in the UK, and will have 65 by the end of 2008. Our goal has always been to reach 100 offices in the UK.

GR:Has your business system changed and evolved much over time?
NC:We are constantly improving our systems, marketing and training support we give franchisees. The core principals and strength of our business model remain the same.

GP:What kind of person are you looking to appoint as a franchisee?
NC:We are not necessarily looking for individuals that just want to be in lettings or estate agency - more we are looking for individuals that want to grow a business. As one of our most successful franchisees says about our business model: 'I feel I have bought a Ferrari so I don't want to take it shopping!'

GP:Do you have any key target areas in mind for the opening of new franchised offices?
NC:Primarily we are led by franchisees and see the growth of our business in terms of territories driven by franchisees.

Text: Gordon Patterson and Gary Rigby

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