Self Service Box : Martin Burke

Area : West London

I had been working in the Cable TV and CCTV industry for more than 20 years when I was made redundant. I had been thinking about wanting to do something new for a while and decided it was the perfect opportunity for me to realise my dream of being self-employed.

From my research, franchising had always seemed the best way as you have the freedom of working for yourself but with the back up of a larger organisation. I had already been impressed by Snack-in-the-Box as I had been using a box at an office across the road and had talked to the franchise owner about the business and the earning potential. When I found out he was selling his West London business and after carrying out further research, I decided that Snack-in-the-Box was the franchise for me. When I took over West London in August 2009, I didn't go in thinking of being a millionaire - I wanted to make a comfortable living and liked the fact that the more effort you put into the business, the more you get back. At present my average weekly turnover is £1,800 as I am still finding my feet but by working smart I intend to increase that figure over the next few months.

The support from Head Office cannot be faulted and the training I received was very in depth. It not only included a week at head office covering the basics such as the principles and practices of Snack-in-the-Box, but also lots of 'hands-on' time with other franchise owners around the country to see how they operate.

It was during one of these visits that I discovered how supportive the other franchise owners in the Snack-in-the-Box network are. The Birmingham franchise owner told me he will have encountered most issues I may face and said he would be only too happy to offer solutions should they arise. West London is a large area geographically and the opportunities for expanding my business are almost limitless.

A typical day sees me carry out around 30 drop offs and I have already started building up my client base by word of mouth. Just the other week I met a man in a lift whose last employer had a self-service box and asked me to offer the same service for his new workplace.