Marching to a Different Beat

It has been a year since The Franchise Magazine last checked in on Gary Norman, the franchise owner of Northwood Southport, and we are pleased to report his progress has been outstanding. Gareth Samuel reviews how after just 12 months in business, Gary has established a great reputation with Northwood and is already looking to expand.

Before Northwood, Gary Norman was a Logistics Officer in the RAF. He decided that he needed to change his lifestyle in order to spend more time with his growing family and provide a stable base for his children. He therefore took voluntary redundancy.

“The obvious career choice for me was private logistics management, but there was just no way I would get the same excitement or diversity in my job that I had in the RAF so I wanted to do something completely different,” he explains. “My wife and I always had an interest in property and we are long term landlords. We also knew that there was a gap in the market for a lettings agency in our local town of Southport.”

Gary and his wife Liz were made aware of the Northwood franchise opportunity after one of Gary’s friends, who was already doing very well in his own Northwood branch, suggested he invest with them. He adds: “I guess I found Northwood before I considered franchising really. When we went down to see them we were just hooked by the people there. They weren’t obsessed with bank balances and experience but they wanted to get to know us and we were really impressed. We looked at a few other franchises but Northwood were just a much better fit for us.”

One year on, Gary is thriving with the help of the Northwood marketing and support team. “I find being a franchisee is different in some ways but there are similarities. In my previous role I was always spinning plates and now I am doing the same, they are just different plates,” he continues. “I am not a businessman by any means. I know nothing about marketing or balance sheets but Northwood help to get it right so I can concentrate on managing and building my business. The support really is very good.”

When this Southport business was in its infancy, Gary fully admits he took a risk with the location he chose – in the gateway to the town as opposed to the high street – but this has paid dividends as a loyal customer base continues to benefit from Northwood’s interesting USP. “The Guaranteed Rent scheme is a real advantage. Being a landlord is easy if you have the right tenant, if you don’t it can be a nightmare. I would say we go further than most of our competitors in matching up good landlords with ideal tenants,” he comments.

Gary believes that for those with a strong work ethic, this is the ideal franchise to make an impressive living within. He explains: “I would say to anyone looking to invest in a Northwood franchise, check out the competition. There is no hard sell with Northwood, the guys just sit you down and talk to you and show what they can do for you. I am delighted with everything Northwood has done for me, I don’t think it really could have worked out better. We are very happy with what we have achieved and with what we are doing, we will look to build on this business and there are a couple of other locations I have got my eye on with Northwood so we will see.”