W omen in Franchising: Redundancy need not be the end...

Having founded 0845 Glassman following redundancy, Director Carole Melia speaks to Rachel Spaul

Reflecting on her success with 0845 Glassman, which is currently embarking on a nationwide expansion programme via franchising, Carole Melia believes that being made redundant while on maternity leave was the best thing that could have happened to her. At the time however, it left her with barely a year's salary; no company car, medical insurance or pension; and a new son born with a medical condition.

'Being made redundant was absolutely devastating,' Carole recalls. 'I had very little money and a poorly son so I had to make what little money I did have work for me.'

Faced with having to find a new job in financial accounts and IT, which at the time was traditionally a specialist male dominated industry, and a son who needed constant monitoring, Carole opened a children's day nursery. Three more followed before she sold the business to buy a prep school that had gone into receivership.

New Beginnings
Broken windows proved to be an expensive inconvenience for Carole at the nursery with variable prices and unreliable fitters. 'My partner Wayne, who worked in construction, suggested that we set up an emergency glazing business,' adds Carole.

0845 Glassman started trading in 2001 as 24/7 Glazing Services and Carole and Wayne manage the business from purpose-built offices near to the family home. Carole says this enables her to strike a balance between building a solid business and caring for their children - Craig (21), Bradley (12) and Sarah (9).

Carole furthers: 'We used our own resources to set up the business, as all we needed was a van, glass rack, small storage area, small office and workshop consumables. We now have very nice offices and employ five glazers plus office staff. We pride ourselves on providing an excellent service and have a number of good local contracts including Barclays Bank, the Post Office, Whitbread, Costa Coffee and the police force, in addition to domestic call outs.'

Carole believes the business is ideally suited to franchising. 'We've tried sub-contracting but have had to turn work down as they are too unreliable,' she clarifies. 'The answer isn't more employees - we need more people like ourselves.'

Working closely with Franchise Consultant Tony Urwin from Franchise Development Services Northern, Carole and Wayne have put everything in place ready for the first franchisees. 'Of all the Consultants we spoke with we felt that Tony had the knowledge and experience to help us franchise the business,' furthers Carole.

Redundancy is a common catalyst for people entering franchising. According to a 2005 franchise survey* six per cent of all franchisees were made redundant before investing in a franchise. 'It's amazing how resourceful you can be when you have the will to turn a situation around,' Carole states. 'I'm really proud of what I've achieved.'

Carole advises other women considering setting up their own business or buying a franchise: 'You've got to be dedicated to your business and you need to strike a balance between work and family. Stay focused, be realistic, and don't try to grow the business too fast.'