Snack-In-The-Box: 100% fantastic - Everyone loves chocolate

Franchisee Diary - Rob Coleman, Huddersfield...I first decided I wanted to work for myself nine years ago...

"I first decided I wanted to work for myself nine years ago. My wife Susan and I got involved with a business opportunity which went bust and left us high and dry. We recognised that we'd had a bad experience, but the more we spoke to people the more we realised that franchising is a good business concept, so we went to the British Franchise Exhibition and that's how we met Snack-In-The-Box (SITB).

"When you walk past the SITB stand the concept makes an immediate impression. The Cadbury branding helps too, people know who Cadbury are and trust the brand. I had a talk with the SITB management team on their stand and realised they were nice people who were straightforward to deal with. There was no obligation to buy while we evaluated the business concept, and we decided to take the opportunity and signed up for the area covering Huddersfield, Halifax and Bradford in May 2005.

"The training was 100 per cent fantastic, and after being delayed by having an operation on my wrist we were up and ready to launch that July. We've turned our garage into a packing station and SITB sent a canvassing team out for two weeks to help us site our 150 boxes. We weren't sure how much we would take but in our first month we banked £2,800.

"We've grown the business by re-siting the lower performing boxes. Sometimes you can get a result just by moving the box to a new position in the workplace. I've sited boxes with some companies and have up to three or four boxes in their offices, which is brilliant. Our most recent monthly takings were over £8,000, and we are now talking about progressing by buying another area.

"Our lifestyle has changed a lot as a result of becoming franchisees: in terms of going on holiday we only take one week off at a time but we are about to go on our fourth holiday of the year! The business will also provide an opportunity for our son, who leaves school in a couple of years and is considering coming to work with us."

Everyone loves chocolate

Franchisee Diary - David Morgan, South Wales

Franchises are less likely to fail than brand new start-ups because you have the added security of the franchisor behind you. The SITB head office team are absolutely superb, a breath of fresh air. When you are meeting them to discuss becoming a franchisee they are extremely friendly and open, and they supply all the information you need including contact with existing franchisees. I'd owned a franchised business before so I knew what I was looking for and what questions to ask, and SITB offered something really different - the product is excellent and the Cadbury branding is a big sell.

I became a franchisee in early 2006, and after the excellent five day initial training I was ready to launch. The training covers everything from finding sites and operating the machines to ordering stock and doing the accounts. There is ongoing backup and the launch support guarantees to get your machines sited for you - despite my territory being quite widespread they got all 70 machines in place for me within a month. The joy of this business is that you're earning money as soon as the machine is put in.

SITB has invested in developing machines that are very reliable and easy to maintain - it's very easy to pick up and that's coming from someone who's not very good at DIY! To improve the business you need to look at putting the machines in the best possible sites, so you want to re-site the lower performing ones. Out of the 100 machines I now have in operation I'm probably looking to re-site about 10 to reach a weekly turnover of £2,000.

Being a single parent this business is ideal, because I can start after my son has gone to school and am finished by the time he gets back home. I certainly see myself continuing with the business and will probably look to extend my agreement because it is a good business. It's very ethical and it's also nice to be involved in - after all, everyone loves chocolate.