Scott Wilding, Northwood
I decided to invest in a franchise after the failure of my small computer business. The computer market became stagnant and my profits dwindled. I enjoyed running a business and liked being my own boss so I turned to franchising as a means to continue as I had previously, but with the guaranteed job security and stability a branded image would provide. Property franchising interested me as my father's career was in the property market. He owns multiple properties and together we decided a lettings or estate agency franchise would be the best investment for me.
I first came across lettings agency franchise Northwood (now a lettings & estate agency franchise) at a franchise exhibition. Its professional corporate image coupled with the success story of its Portsmouth branch really excited me. I wanted to be part of its network, so after I had discussed my skills and intentions with Northwood I launched my own franchise in Romford.
The training programme Northwood provides is extensive and covers all aspects of the business. Half is taught in the classroom and the rest is learned on the job shadowing an established franchisee. The ongoing support and in-depth training I receive has proven invaluable, as has my choice in staff. The managers in both branches have had at least 10 years' experience within the property industry. I have appointed a man with a property background to run the business on a day-to-day basis, which leaves me free to focus on the bigger picture.
I have been with the franchise for five years now and during this time the Northwood brand has been revamped with the incorporation of an estate agency facility. The slowdown in the property market has affected house sales, but thankfully this has not eaten into my profits as the number of customers looking to rent has increased.
In March 2007 I opened my second Northwood branch in Southend-on-sea following my success with Romford. Southend has been open for less than a year and has already broken even, while Romford continues to make a good turnover. I see 2008 as a period of consolidation for my business. I am confident with the franchise and have renewed my agreement with Northwood and intend to focus my energies on ensuring the profitability of both branches so that in the near future my vision of a third branch can become a reality.