London House: Own a priority territory

Offering a white collar opportunity proven over 10 years, London House is still seeking professional business builders in key areas. Stuart Anderson reports

When your client base includes national pedigree brands such as Abbey, Dixons Stores Group, Barclaycard and HSBC Group, you're going to benefit from being part of a national organisation of white collar professionals, who can back you up on larger jobs and pass on referrals from their clients who have offices in your area. This was the reasoning behind the decision by financial investigations and risk control services brand London House to offer franchise opportunities across the UK 10 years ago, which has seen the group establish 37 franchised operations in all but a selection of priority territories.

Serving a portfolio of solicitors, banks, retail groups and other creditors, franchisees are trained and supported in conducting routine surveillance, lifestyle reports, repossessions, process serving, expert witness statements, CV checking, company searches, counter-money laundering, internal theft and fraud checks, and pre-employment screening for drugs and alcohol.

The company's standing in its industry is such that co-founder and Managing Director Godfrey Lancashire recently became President of the Credit Services Association (CSA), the voice of the UK Debt Collection industry. Previously building his experience with Barclays Bank for 25 years, including spells as a Senior Instructor at its Management Training Centre, Branch Manager and latterly as Project Manager Risk Management at Head Office level, Godfrey teamed up with qualified investigator Brian Hughes, who has extensive knowledge of the legal profession and court practice, to launch London House in 1995.

'At London House we are concentrating on further network development and plan to complete our UK coverage in the next two years, seeking individuals with a commercial brain and professional manner,' says Godfrey. 'Among the territories still available are a number of opportunities suitable for a business builder interested in launching with an option of expanding into a neighbouring territory.

'In addition, we have held back a number of prime areas across London, which are now being made available for the right individuals to exploit. No previous relevant experience is necessary, rather we are seeking professionals with the drive and motivation to develop a substantial white collar business.'

With personal bankruptcies growing by as much as 70 per cent in the third quarter of 2005, according to the latest figures from the CSA, the demand for the services of London House is increasing. 'The strength of our support team shows we have a lot to offer,' adds Brian. 'London House franchisees provide services to commerce, banking, industry... even domestic clients. The franchise is set up to allow the franchisee to manage his or her own time, while operating with low overheads and no stock. We're increasing our training and support for franchisees, and with the completion of our network we will have a national offering that will serve to increase the professionalism and referral ability of our franchisees.'