Anatomy of a Makeover

Beautiful worktops and spectacular finishes are synonymous with the Granite Transformations franchise universally. The Franchise Magazine takes a closer look at the renowned home improvements franchise.

A recent consumer survey indicated that granite work surfaces and fitted kitchens are the top two ‘turn ons’, for attracting prospective house buyers. Other polls have confirmed that ‘kitchen projects’ are high on the list of desirable home improvements for most householders. That’s fine, but there are one or two drawbacks. One is that the price of a new fitted kitchen is likely to be upwards of five figures, stretching up to £50,000 for a high-end layout. Also, you are likely to be camping out in the dining room and putting up with debris, dust and an unsightly skip for a number of weeks.

Instead, look at the average ten or twenty year old kitchen. The granite or laminate worktops are a bit battered and the doors are showing signs of wear, with knocks, scuffs and stains. But strip away the doors and drawer fronts and you’re left with perfectly functional carcases, shelves and drawer inners, representing up to 70 per cent of the structural work. This also preserves the familiar underlying layout, with plumbing and wiring in situ. But you’ll need to rip out the worktops and tiled splashbacks too. Or do you?

Actually you don’t, because Granite Transformations’ unique worktops are only a quarter-inch thick, they fit discretely over the existing work surfaces and add only marginally to the working height, that’s why they’re known as ‘the top that fits on top’. Add seamless edge pieces and waterfall ends to the worktops, fit upstands or splashbacks over tiles or painted walls, and install sinks, taps, oven or hob, new if they’re within budget. Scrap worn-out doors and drawer fronts for made-to-measure replacements, refit them to the carcases and the transformation is complete.

That in a nutshell is Granite Transformations’ franchise proposal. Swift, stylish, high quality kitchen makeovers at a fraction of the price of new fitted units, with minimal dust, debris and household disruption. Adding to the consumer appeal, most kitchen jobs can be carried out in one day, which Granite Transformations proves by running a four-minute time lapse video on its franchise website, showing a day-long installation in high speed motion.

The other part of a winning equation is that GT franchise owners undertake all the measuring up, templating, fabricating and installation work themselves. The jobs are carried out by factory-trained fitters, to the agreed brand standard, and all the materials and sundries are scheduled to be delivered on site, at the appointed date and time. It ensures a high level of customer satisfaction and facilitates an unrivalled lifetime material warranty.

In turn, that warranty is underwritten by the fact that work surfaces and other materials are manufactured by Granite Transformations’ parent company, the Trend Group. It also designs and produces Italian heritage glass mosaics, which combined with the existing refinishing surfaces, opens the door to bathroom makeovers; in fact, decidedly upscale makeovers with 24 carat gold tesserae and ‘designer’ mosaic patterns, as well as more straightforward, yet stylish jobs.

Bathroom refits are admittedly more complex, but much the same Granite Transformations makeover elements still apply. Granite, quartz, recycled glass and porcelain slabs enable waterproof, seamless shower liners, bath panels and vanity countertops; made-to-measure replacement doors instantly update bathroom cabinets and storage units; ‘mosaics on a mattress’ fit neatly over ceramic tiles and painted surfaces; while flooring planks and tiles extend a fashionable floor-to-ceiling look.

Bathroom and kitchen makeovers, plus the occasional commercial contract, require Granite Transformations franchise owners to run their own retail premises, a nearby workshop unit and at least one liveried fitter’s van, to meet the brand’s marketing, fabrication and installation standards. Although a manned garden centre concession site is now considered a realistic ‘starter’ showroom, this is still quite an operational commitment, requiring hard work, energy, management know-how and good people skills to make it work successfully.

Nevertheless, this is a serious commercial proposition that has the potential for scaling up into quite a big business, with additional franchise territories, different Trend products being added into the retail mix and the prospect of large commercial contracts. Already a number of Granite Transformations franchise owners have broken through the million pound annual sales barrier, including a couple of high-flying newcomers, and the franchisor RSG Europe puts more resources than most into helping others to make the grade. It’s a challenge alright, but with the right commitment and business approach, the rewards are high.