A day in the life of Ruth and Phil

Ruth and Phil have been working together running their Snack-in-the-Box vending franchise for 12 years. Ruth and Phil’s franchise territory covers parts of Surrey and they service just under 150 customers.

Phil previously worked outdoors and Ruth was a nurse. They decided upon a franchise where they could be out and about. Phil’s love of being in the field and Ruth’s customer skills from her nursing career have proved a great bonus for them in running their vending franchise.

I tend to get up early to beat the traffic and service our customers who are furthest afield. I know which of my customers are open early and I have tweaked my route to be able to service as many customers as possible in a day. While I set off early, my wife Ruth is able to see the children off to school.

By now, virtually all of my customers are open as they are workplaces. At a site with a vending box, I will take a fully stocked box into the customer site. It takes me about 10 minutes at each site as I swap the used vending box with a fully stocked replacement one, check the staff are happy then move onto the next customer site.

Each day I take a different route so that by the end of the week I have serviced all of my customers in my territory. Usually customers need a weekly visit. However, if it’s a busy site, I will visit them twice a week otherwise their machine or box will run empty and I could lose sales. I tend to visit around 30 customers per day.

It’s important to ensure that you have a good relationship with customers. They will tell me if something isn’t working properly, and let me know their favourite products, any requests and any products that are proving not so popular.

While I am out servicing customers, Ruth spends time at home running the more home-based areas of the business. We don’t tend to go out servicing customers together as this leaves the other one free to catch up with other aspects of the business, such as stock ordering, banking and looking after the family. We can run our franchise business as a couple and it works well with family life as we have two young boys.

An early start means that I have finished my route for the day. I unload the used vending boxes, any unused stock and the cash from customer sites.

Once the children are in bed, Ruth and I spend an hour packing vending boxes for the next day. We prefer to have everything packed up and the van loaded so we can get away first thing in the morning. We also might spend some time counting cash, analysing each site’s sales performance and entering our sales figures on our customer performance tracking database.

We always like to spend time assessing our business’s performance and monitoring our customer’s sales. As with any business, customer’s needs vary and staff and circumstances change so you need to be on top of changes and react accordingly to ensure you get the best from each of your sites.