Target: £1 million for pace setting franchise owner

With a host of plans for the expansion of his Granite Transformations franchise, which is already leading the network in growth, Darrell Smith is confident of reaching his goal of a seven-figure turnover

A triple award winner at Granite Transformations' 2009 annual franchise owner conference, Darrell Smith has set the pace with an incredible sales conversion rate of over 70 per cent at his Wakefield high street showroom. Among his awards was Highest Percentage Growth, which rewarded his achievement of building his monthly sales revenue from £15,000 to £102,000 in the space of one year...the highest percentage growth across the whole UK network.

Certainly the recession has not adversely affected his kitchen worktop replacement franchise, which he bought as a going concern in January 2009 and has transformed, bringing with him the growth expertise earned by building a fast-growing independent financial advice business. "Although I had some market experience, producing and marketing kitchen worktops is not something I would have contemplated on my own," he reveals. "With a franchise operation like Granite Transformations, half the work is already done for you. The systems are set up, there's a comprehensive training programme, streamlined product development and distribution, and the obvious benefits of national branding and marketing support. Besides which, the product virtually sells itself."

Granite Transformations was founded in Australia during the mid 1990s and has since grown into a global operation, with more than 160 franchise owners across the USA, Canada, South Africa, Australasia and Europe. Its franchised showrooms specialise in providing a neat and classy solution to kitchen renovation through the company's advanced kitchen worktop and interior surfaces material made from natural granite, quartzite or glass blended with high performance polymers. Its kitchen surfaces are lighter, thinner, yet stronger than natural or engineered stone, which means that Granite Transformations surfaces can be neatly installed over existing worktops and other surfaces, eliminating the mess and debris of demolition and all the associated cost.

"Although we do sell other types of worktops through our kitchen business, customers can tell the difference whenever they look at product samples in their homes or in the showroom," says Darrell. "They love the contemporary look, the huge palette of colours and styles, the fact that you can cut directly onto it or even rest hot pans on the surface, and especially the manufacturer-backed guarantee. That's certainly something we couldn't offer as a stand-alone business."

With his next target set at driving his annual sales over the £1 million mark, Darrell has sited 'silent salesman' display units in various garden centres around Yorkshire and has plans in place to open a second showroom in Harrogate this year before potentially investing in an expansion of his franchise territory. He will also benefit from Granite Transformations' national promotion to the commercial sector, which targets architectural, interior décor and other large-scale applications, as well as its approaching introduction of a brand new product offering: replacement kitchen doors, which will increase franchise revenue and offer a complete solution.

"The Granite Transformations franchise package would suit anyone with direct sales experience on an individual or corporate level, whether it's double glazing or, like me, financial services," reflects Darrell. "There is a tangible product with unique sales benefits, which any good salesman should be able to market effectively. But, you also need to run the franchise like a proper business, so management experience would be equally applicable.

"One of the benefits of a national network is that there are people who share the same business objectives, whose ideas and experience you can tap into. More new franchise owners means more networking, more intelligence sharing and more motivation to succeed. Certainly, it would be much more difficult to build a viable business if you were doing it all on your own."

Reported by Stuart Anderson

Initial Investment Requirement

Franchise fee from £29,975 excluding VAT. Additional capital approx £34,250.

2-Tier Franchise Package

Tier 1 Package: Enables a Franchise Owner to come on board and focus solely on the marketing, sales and installation sides of the business. The fabrication and production of the work surfaces will be outsourced. This means that a Franchise Owner will not need to bear the costs of setting up the fabrication side of the business in year one, it is expected that within three years all Tier One Franchise Owners will establish a fabrication unit.

Tier 2 Package: The franchise owner is totally in control of all aspects and processes of the business and will set-up the fabrication unit from day one.

Granite Transformations will discuss the best option with all potential franchise owners and advise of the set-up costs of both tiers.