Years of success lead to agreement renewals
SITB Self Service Box and Compact Vending franchisees renew agreements
John Boyles, Birmingham
Like many people I'd always wanted to be my own boss. From my early days of being a chef I had dreams of owning my own restaurant. But I never quite got there after being made redundant and I ended up in sales in the seafood industry.
10 years ago I'd got to the stage where I just couldn't face the motorway driving any more. I bought The Franchise Magazine to find out what was on offer and the advertisement for Snack-in-the-Box (SITB) caught my attention. I've been in catering since I left school and this seemed like the natural move for me. I thought it would be a winner as almost everyone likes chocolate and crisps. I also thought it would last the course and I could keep going in difficult times as people tend to cut out the bigger things in life but they like their little treats.
Customers range from factories to football grounds and solicitors to school canteens for teachers. I love it. I really feel part of all the work places I serve. I get to meet and chat to lots of different people and have a laugh. But God help me if I'm late with my delivery! I get a hard time if I get stuck in traffic or am delayed for any other reason. I suppose workers need their treats to get through the day - especially those afternoon munchies.
I've just signed up for my next five year licence to do this. I really wish I'd done it earlier. The flexibility is great. I get to see my kids off to school and be there for them when they come back. I still graft and put in a days work but my quality of life has improved drastically. I'm not tired all the time and I've got a social life now, which is brilliant.
Frankie Christian, Liverpool
I love meeting new people and with SITB every week you're introduced to new people. I always tell a joke to get them onside - once you've developed a relationship you know they'll look after your boxes.
I previously owned a greengrocers which was always getting broken into, so I began looking for a business which didn't require premises. I picked up The Franchise Magazine, spotted SITB and visited the head office where I knew instantly I wanted to join the network. The head office staff can always offer a solution, and are always there when I need them.
Being a SITB franchisee is not a hard job - you're not stuck on a factory floor or coping with office politics - but I work harder because the rewards are for myself. I started out servicing 45 boxes a day, but as time has gone on I've changed my strategy - I now have about 175 boxes placed and refill 35 a day, but spend more time collecting customer feedback so that I can tailor the contents and improve sales per box.
After 10 years I'm making good money and have just signed a new five year term with SITB. I have a box with Liverpool FC so I get to meet the stars, and I'm constantly getting recognised myself - I got myself and eight friends into a club recently because someone spotted 'the chocolate man'!
Derek & Cath Broomsgrove, Newport
My wife Cath and I work together in our SITB franchise and we love the flexibility of working hours it allows us. Over five years we've built a business that has provided us with a comfortable income and is now an asset. We've signed a new franchise agreement for an additional five years because we simply don't want to stop!
In 2003 we took voluntary redundancy and began looking for something to do with the money. We researched a number of franchise opportunities and were immediately attracted to the SITB franchise by the link up with Cadbury - operating in association with such a well established name is a big selling point for our customers. We then discovered that the SITB franchise is a straightforward cash business supported by a very professional and friendly head office team and with the finances fitting we decided to go for it.
We invested in 100 battery-operated vending machines and SITB sent a canvassing representative to help us site an initial 50 machines over the first three weeks, as well as an installation team to help place them with customers. Before the end of our first month we were stocking and servicing them and money was coming in.
Part of our initial investment included a guarantee from SITB to find 70 sites, so over the next three months they placed a further 28 machines, while Cath and I also sited the remaining 22. This phased approach is a good idea because it allows you a settling in period - we weren't thrown in at the deep end.
SITB is introducing new, bigger vending machines which stock drinks and crisps and typically turnover between three and six times as much as the original machines, so we will be looking to site some with our bigger customers. We're both in our 50s now and are planning on another five years with SITB before looking forward to taking retirement.
Paul Dwyer, Dublin
My Snack-in-the-Box franchise not only provides me with a very good standard of living, but also I get to spend a lot more time with my family than I ever did in my old job. I'm back home by 4pm every day and I get every weekend and bank holiday off, guaranteed!
I did enjoy my previous job in the financial side of the horse racing industry, but I'd wanted my own business since I was 18 so when the chance to take a lump sum and strike out on my own came along I thought: 'I don't want to be an employee until I'm 65.' With a wife and four children to support I was looking for a franchise that would provide me with an immediate income and SITB appealed as a simple idea that is a cash business.
With the assistance of the SITB canvassing team, in my first two weeks I had 50 machines sited and earning money. After six weeks I had an additional 25 in place averaging 40 euros per week. This has produced an annual turnover in the area of 150,000 euros which I wouldn't be achieving without the support of a dedicated franchisor - in fact if I hadn't taken on a franchise the chances are I'd be back in a job now. Instead I'm in a business where I work my own hours, can take a day off if I wish and the harder I work the more money I earn.
I've just signed up to a new five year term with the SITB franchise and I'm looking forward to maintaining my business and perhaps introducing the new machines coming on stream which offer better earnings capability. This would allow me to spend more time providing a good service to my customers.