Q and A with Troy Tappenden

Dream Doors’ Managing Director Troy Tappenden talks to FDS Southern consultants Gordon Patterson and Gary Rigby about how franchising has been the most effective way to expand his business.

Question: When did you begin franchising and how many showrooms do you now have trading?

Answer: Dream Doors began franchising in 2002, although the evolution into a multi-showroom outfit really only began five years ago. Since then, all of our franchise owners have opened showrooms and we now have 30 stores throughout the UK, with another five set to open in the next six months.

Question: What do you see as the key benefits of franchising to yourselves as a franchisor?

Answer: I’m not a multi-millionaire. Nor do I have venture capitalists investing millions into Dream Doors. What I do have though, are hard working, ambitious and driven franchise owners who are investing their future in Dream Doors. With our help, our franchise owners become successful in their own right.

Question: What do you understand to be the key benefits of Dream Doors to franchise owners?

Answer: This is a hard business to learn. I should know because I’ve probably made every mistake there is to make. So, I believe the greatest benefit in joining us is franchise owners don’t have to make the same mistakes I did. At Dream Doors we can fast-track franchise owners from a standing start to running a successful and profitable kitchen facelift business – with a showroom – in less than a year.

Question: What essentially do you deliver within the Dream Doors franchise package?

Answer: We deliver a complete turnkey package. Our new franchise owners are given a 15-day induction programme that covers every aspect of running a Dream Doors’ franchise, from marketing through sales to finding and recruiting an installation team. I would recommend visiting the Dream Doors website at www.dreamdoorsfranchise.co.uk for a full list of what is included in the franchise package.

Question: What kind of back-up and support services do you provide to franchise owners?

Answer: This is an area where Dream Doors is class-leading. From the moment they join Dream Doors, franchise owners benefit from an award-winning training programme that is totally focused on their success. As well as head office-based support staff, we have two Franchise Managers out on the road every day of the week supporting franchise owners.

Question: What kind of earnings opportunity is available for franchise owners to enjoy?

Answer: That is heavily dependent on the efforts of each franchise owner; some are greedy and want to push for the highest earnings, others are satisfied with £30,000 or £40,000 a year. Our top franchise owners were left with £85,000 net profit last year – and that’s after paying themselves and their staff.

Question: Are you currently developing or changing the business system in any significant way?

Answer: Last year, we opened a company-owned showroom on a pedestrianised high street. That was the first Dream Doors showroom on the high street as, until then, all were in secondary, destination retail locations. What this means is that franchise owners now have a choice when opening their showroom.

They can opt for the traditional destination retail premises and spend more on advertising to drive people to the showroom. Or, they can take on a high-street showroom, as a few franchise owners have done, and invest more money at the outset for a faster return.

Question: What is it that makes the top franchise owner performers be the best in terms of business growth and profitability?

Answer: Hard work and the right attitude. If I think of the top three Dream Doors franchise owners and what they did before, one was a cabinet maker, one was an IT Director and the other was in the military. What they all do very well is follow the model; they invest in advertising, they control their margins and they all make sure their customers are happy.

Question: What is your own five-year goal plan for Dream Doors in the UK?

Answer: We have 30 showrooms open, and about 30 per cent of the UK covered. I’d like to see that figure double in the next five years. The challenge we have is in finding good franchise owners. We only want the best, as the best bring in the most revenue, and Dream Doors relies on the revenue its franchise owners bring in. I don’t want 60 average showrooms, as economically we’re better off having 20 good ones.