Five years of success for husband and wife team

Since launching their Northwood franchise in 2005 husband and wife team Martin and Fiona Bradbury have built it into a thriving family business

Husband and wife team Martin and Fiona Bradbury have been successfully running their Northwood franchise together for five years. "My wife and I had always wanted to work together," reveals Martin. "We had worked together briefly on a part-time basis in the past, which we enjoyed, so we thought that we would enjoy working together again.

"When I took voluntary redundancy from my job as an engineer, we felt it was the perfect opportunity to start looking into setting up a business together. My wife was already in the lettings industry so it was natural for us to look at franchises in that sector."

The couple created a shortlist of suitable franchises from which they chose to invest in the Northwood opportunity. "Northwood came across as being very professional," Martin explains. "We also liked their branding and thought that their website was very good, which was important to us as that is what initially attracts potential customers."

As part of the Northwood franchise package, Martin and Fiona were provided with five weeks of training. "The training covered lettings and sales, as well as training us in the day to day running of the business such as doing the accounts and using the computer software system," recalls Martin. "The support we have received since the training has been excellent, especially during our launch. There is always someone on the end of the telephone whenever we need help."

Martin and Fiona's Northwood franchise covers the West Wiltshire territory, which they launched in 2005. "What I enjoy about being my own boss is that you get rewarded for the effort you put in," comments Martin.

"We are financially better off than when we were working for someone else, although we also work longer hours than we did previously. Last year we achieved a 70 per cent growth and earned a turnover of £550,000. We mainly did well because of the lettings aspect of the business. However, the sales side has not been too bad."

Although Martin admits that working as a husband and wife team can be difficult at times, he still prefers it to working alone. "We are both directors of the business and this enabled us to recently open a second office, which I would not have been as happy to do if I was running the business alone," he says. "We are happy working as a family business and my brother-in-law has just joined the company to concentrate on expanding the lettings side. In the future we are looking to continue growing the business and there is a possibility of opening a third office."

Reported by Derin Ibrahim