London House: Join the professional investigators

Providing risk control services such as internal theft and fraud checks, counter-money laundering and witness statements makes for an exciting business with London House. Stuart Anderson interviews its newest franchisee

'I knew as soon as I started looking into London House that it was right for me,' says Nikki Timson, the 35th London House franchisee who launched her financial and commercial investigation business at the start of June.

'I'd always wanted to run my own business and, after a career in sales management and marketing, I decided to look for an opportunity. My father had run his own business and I was attracted by the benefits that gives you - the responsibility to organise your own day of work, the rewarding nature and the whole way of life of business ownership. I was also sensible enough to know that many new businesses fail, and that franchises achieve a much higher success rate.'

After researching a number of franchise opportunities Nikki identified London House. 'The more I delved into the proposition the more interested I became,' she reflects. 'It was important for me that the business be something that interested me - you have to be completely dedicated to build a successful business. I looked at the company's pedigree, background, client base, organisation and customer service and found it to be a very comfortable organisation that I wanted to be a part of. All through this the company put no pressure on me - there was no heavy sell.'

Armed with data from London House's accountants and solicitors, plus information from her own research, Nikki spoke to a number of franchisees to gain their impressions prior to joining the network. 'You've got to make sure the price is right for the franchise you are buying,' she advises. 'I looked at other types of companies that could benefit from our services so I could create my own projections of what the business was worth in my area. The feedback from the franchisees was very honest and I felt that London House have pitched it about right.'

After signing her franchise agreement at the beginning of May, Nikki completed her initial two weeks' training and is currently launching her business. 'The training is a very intense mix of theoretical and practical, and there is a lot to take on board - I feel very prepared and the huge operations manual will be a godsend,' she reports. 'I've already had several phone calls from other franchisees offering support and wishing me luck. I will be able to draw from their experience in operating the business.'

Nikki's territory is defined as the CB postcode, which covers Cambridgeshire and parts of Suffolk. 'I have franchisees established in all my neighbouring territories, which is invaluable in identifying issues I will face in my region,' she comments. 'I'm also developing a close, two-way relationship with head office. From what I've seen of my fellow franchisees' businesses, I'm very confident in the future of this franchise.'