London House welcomes two new faces

People from a variety of different backgrounds seeking a new challenge have been attracted to London House International

London House International has built an enviable reputation for its financial and commercial investigations and its franchise model provides training so that you don’t need prior experience in the industry. The latest additions to its team – Mike King and Allan Fern – were both looking for a change and found that London House held the key to their future.

Allan Fern was seeking a fresh challenge after 28 years in the construction industry and knew he wanted to remain being his own boss but with the support provided by franchises.

“I had become disillusioned with the construction industry and I did not want to set up my own business again,” explains Allan.

After researching business opportunities in The Franchise Magazine, one franchise caught his eye: “My wife Deborah and myself both decided that London House was perfect for me, so I arranged a meeting with Managing Director, Godfrey Lancashire. He explained that while it was different, I could easily adapt my background dealing with blue chip companies. London House projects include property management and repossessions, so the work has a construction industry element. I also had years of experience of dealing with people from all walks of life, whether it was fitters or architects, and how to adapt accordingly.”

Allan was given two weeks of training, which he described as “intensive, yet enjoyable” and was pleasantly surprised that by the lunchtime on the second day he was out doing a job for London House. “I found that throwing me in at the deep end was an excellent way to teach me about the business,” laughs Allan.

Since launching his Dudley-based franchise in June, Allan has been busy building his business up and has also been helping the Birmingham franchise owner.

“The more work I do, the more I learn,” he enthuses. “I just love waking up in the morning and being able to say to myself: ’Great work today!’”

Becoming a London House franchise owner has been one of a number of recent big changes in Mike King’s life, which has also seen he and his wife, Liz, move from Tring, in Hertfordshire, to Cheltenham. “Prior to becoming London House’s Cheltenham and Gloucester franchise owner, I had always worked for big corporates such as Kodak and Digital Print,” explains Mike. “However, after being made redundant twice in succession, I started looking at franchises and wanted to move to the South West. I knew I wanted a franchise, which didn’t involve huge commitments to premises and stock and London House was the one that really stood out, as it was entirely different.”

After talking to Liz, they agreed that Mike’s corporate experience would provide him with firm foundations to be a successful London House franchise owner, so he arranged to go to the brand’s head office.

“It was as much them choosing me as me choosing them, which was refreshing compared to other franchises,” explains Mike, who like Allan, underwent two weeks of initial training.

“I found the combination of classroom work and doing jobs in the field very useful, as it allowed me to apply what I had learned. When I finished the training, I felt confident and eager to get started.”

All London House franchise owners receive some work from head office to help them during their launch, which Mike said was invaluable during these initial stages – particularly as he and Liz were moving at the same time.

“Godfrey made it quite clear that projects passed from head office would only account for 10-20 per cent of my turnover, but it provided me with a good, steady introduction,” he adds.

Now that he has moved to Cheltenham, Mike is eager to forge ahead with his business in a territory which has previously been untapped by the London House network.

“I plan to eventually earn £60,000 a year,” he says. “However, I am not out to make a fortune during my first year – if I am matching the earnings from my previous job within 18 months, I will be happy.”

Written by Fraser McKay