Luton Franchisee Dell Birch talks about his success with Northwood

Having worked for many years as a restaurant manager for the world's largest international fast food company, I decided to take the plunge and run my own business...

As most people's personal wealth has been created by the inflation on their home, property seemed the logical business opportunity but with so many different property franchises to choose from and each one purporting to be the market leader, selecting the right one seemed a daunting task.

My first step was to ask them all for their franchise prospectus and I was dismayed by the quality of the marketing literature I received from some of the franchises. Northwood's literature stood head and shoulders above all the other franchise opportunities.

In my past career I realised the importance of having a strong brand image but more importantly I wanted a product that would differentiate itself from its competitors and give a compelling reason for prospective clients to pick up the phone and call.

In short a strong U.S.P. (Unique Selling Point), and Northwood certainly had that with their brilliant Platinum Guaranteed Rent Scheme.

When I visited Northwood's head office in Southampton M.D. Andy Goodson devoted the whole day to me explaining in great detail the Northwood business opportunity. We also visited other local Northwood offices, offering the chance to see the business in reality.

Finding the right location from which to run my new business in Luton and recruiting the right calibre staff was a challenge but once those challenges had been met I then embarked on Northwood's comprehensive six-week training programme along with my staff, who also had full training although it was a shorter training programme compared to mine. With Northwood's excellent turnkey franchise package my office was equipped with desks, computers, software and signage, in fact everything right down to pencils, pens and paperclips. I was at last ready to launch my new business.

Most letting agents charge a commission, normally between 10% and 15% making them on average an annual gross profit of around 12.5%. I achieve more than double that which means, having paid the monthly royalty fee, I'm left with a margin double what I would have achieved had I started a lettings business on my own.

Here are some facts that may interest you. After only 9 months of trading, my business plan predicted that I would have 38 rented properties on my books and would have sold 15 properties. I have 70 rented properties (84% ahead of target) and actually sold 33 properties, 120% ahead of my forecast.

I am delighted with my Northwood franchise but have one regret, I wish I had invested in the Northwood opportunity years ago!

The Northwood opportunity...

With an established national network of 37 offices, Northwood's comprehensive screening programme ensures that only the highest calibre people with the attributes and determination to be successful are considered to become franchisees. By adopting this philosophy, the long-term growth, stability and profitably of the company as a whole is ensured.

As a turnkey franchise, around 55 per cent of the initial investment (£39,950 plus VAT) is used to equip the office with desks, chairs, signs, computers, printers, software, etc., enabling the franchisee to focus on the comprehensive six week training programme and benefit from the professional Northwood image from day one. Additional money will be required for working capital and finance is available through major clearing banks subject to status.

By becoming a franchisee you will be able to offer Northwood's unique Platinum Service to customers, enabling you to have an edge over the competition and become the leading agent in your territory.