Gary Rigby: What was the inspiration and origins of the Dream Doors franchise?
Troy Tappenden: I was discontented with my then current situation and wanted something new. I had been thinking about franchising for some time, as I wanted to be my own boss, but needed to find a sector that excited me. I went to a franchise exhibition and this inspired me to look at franchising my business in the future. One day while reading a national newspaper, I saw an advert for a kitchen refurbishment company. Although I had no previous experience in this sector, from the research I carried out I could see the potential within the market and that’s when I had the idea for a business specialising in quality replacement doors, as opposed to replacing entire kitchen units.
Gary Rigby: How long has Dream Doors been franchising?
Troy Tappenden: Dream Doors has been franchising for 10 years. We spent the first three years running it as a private company to fine-tune all aspects of operational, sales and marketing initiatives in readiness for franchising.
Gary Rigby: Is there a particular profile of franchise owner that you are looking for?
Troy Tappenden: Ideally we are looking for people with experience in white-collar management with a good sales background, who need to be determined, focused and possess the desire to succeed. They should also have good organisational and people skills, be computer literate and able to manage a team as the business develops.
Gary Rigby: What sort of capital do you need to invest in a Dream Doors franchise?
Troy Tappenden: About £70,000, which includes the franchise package. We have two options – one that operates from an independent showroom and the second from garden centres.
Gary Rigby: Supporting the franchise owners is an essential part of the support services – how does Dream Doors achieve this?
Troy Tappenden: There are three National Managers to provide in-territory support and we have an Online Marketing Manager to generate additional leads. We are also on the main social network websites and run best practice training, external sales training, and supplier training days. Other marketing activities include mailshots, an intranet system etc., in addition to the customary good support services you would expect.
Gary Rigby: I presume that marketing plays a major part in your success, how is this relationship managed between the franchisor and the franchise owner?
Troy Tappenden: The franchise owner is responsible for their local marketing and they are required to spend a specified amount each month. As franchisor, we spend a defined amount each year on national marketing, which comes from a contribution from the franchise network. The marketing spend is agreed with our franchise owners to maximise the returns to the network as a whole.
Gary Rigby: I understand that you’ve gained considerable experience with regards to the operational model and commercial premises, can you explain more?
Troy Tappenden: We initially started the business working from home but we could clearly demonstrate that working from a dedicated showroom quadrupled the turnover and, more importantly, gave credibility in relation to the customer’s perception. Again, the franchise owner is buying into our experience of many years and, as a result, avoids the pitfalls of starting their own business.
Gary Rigby: Recognition and motivation of your franchise network seems to play a major part in your success, how is this achieved?
Troy Tappenden: As a company that continuously develops its business and researches its market, we have a variable Management Service Fee that truly embraces a win-win philosophy. This has worked well for Dream Doors and has rewarded those franchise owners who have been highly successful and encouraged others to achieve their ambitions.
Gary Rigby: What are your objectives for the next five years?
Troy Tappenden: Our franchise network in the UK stretches from the Scottish Borders to Exeter, as well as the Channel Islands. We currently have 45 showrooms and are looking to expand the Dream Doors network over the next few years, especially in the Midlands. Ultimately we are looking at achieving a network of 100 franchise owners.