London House – a universal franchise opportunity

You do not need previous experience in financial and commercial investigations to join London House. Fraser McKay speaks to two franchise owners who came from backgrounds in retail and human resources.

London House International’s franchise owner for the Chelmsford and Southend-on-Sea area, Sikander Sleemy is a perfect example of how the brand’s business opportunity can be a success no matter what your previous career.

“I started working for a supermarket my family ran in Edinburgh when I left school at 18 and spent most of my career in the retail industry,” says Sikander. “However, after my parents moved to Essex, I decided I needed a new challenge away from retailing, while staying close to them.” Sikander spent a year looking for the right franchise, visiting a number of exhibitions, but there was only one franchise that made an impression on him.

“It was an easy decision choosing London House, as it stood out because it wasn’t a run-of-the-mill business – is fairly unique and is one of the biggest private investigations companies in the country,” enthuses Sikander.

With no previous experience in the investigations field, Sikander was naturally a little nervous prior to his initial training in 2006.

“Like any journey into the unknown, you don’t know what it will be like until you take that first step,” he says. “However, the training was excellent, but it was the support I received during my first few months as a franchise owner that assured me I had made the right decision. The staff at London House’s head office were phenomenal and were only too pleased to help me no matter what my questions or concerns were.”

As a London House franchise owner, no two days are the same for Sikander but he points out that how a business grows depends on the individual.

“You do have to have your wits about you, although you do learn quickly as you go along with plenty of support from the franchise owner network, who are like family. You just pick up the phone and any of them will be delighted to offer you advice,” he adds.

Almost five years later, Sikander’s London House business is growing to such a degree he plans to move his business out of his home and employ staff to lighten his workload.

“It has been non-stop since I started but I am loving every minute of it and, once I have extended my franchise term in November, I intend to book a holiday for my family next year, and start reaping the rewards of being my own boss,” he concludes.

Another highly successful London House franchise owner who had no background in private investigations is Jo-Anne Scott, who has been operating the company’s Luton, Stevenage and St Albans territories.

Deciding her career as head of a human resources department was not for her, Jo-Anne began looking into franchising.

“I didn’t know what else to do,” she recalls. “It was while reading The Franchise Magazine that I came across the London House opportunity. London House appealed to me because it would allow me to use the skills I had gained working in HR, the set-up was very professional and I was impressed with the company overall.”

Despite already possessing many of the skills she would need for running her London House franchise, Jo-Anne still found the training provided useful.

“I had very thorough training over two weeks, which was very intensive,” she explains. “I was also given the types of jobs that I would have to deal with when I started operating to make sure I was comfortable with the work.

Jo-Anne has continually worked hard to make her business a success since launching her Luton territory in September 2009, followed four months later by Stevenage and St Albans.

“Although I’m working very hard at the moment because I’m enjoying what I do, I feel relaxed,” she says.

“I enjoy the independence that running my own business brings and the fact that I know that the work I put in I will get out, which I have seen happen already.”