The benefits of a premises based business

Moving into leased or even bought premises can take a chunk out of your capital investment at the launch of your business, but can also bring multiple benefits to your business, reflects TaxAssist Accountants Founder Karl Sandall

TaxAssist Accountants are a network of over 160 franchisees, with over 60 in shop front premises who provide accountancy, tax and other related services to small businesses. Franchisees have the option of starting up in either an office or a shop front, but all franchisees need to be in a shop front by the end of their third year of trading.

What do we mean by shop front? When we created the first 'shop front' in Norwich our main intentions were to create a modern, welcoming, branded office with the aim of departing from the look and characteristics of traditional accountancy practices.

We have found that having a shop front premises brings a number of key benefits to franchisees:
• Visibility
• Credibility
• Confidence
• Walk in business
• Brand reinforcement

We work closely with our franchisees, helping them to identify premises, often by driving around the franchisee's territory with them, as both location and premises have to be approved by the Support Centre. We also provide help and advice with regards to staff employment, IT and business planning and a dedicated member of staff is always on hand to assist with the move to a shop and to help with the shop front launch party, signage and PR.

Most of our franchisees lease their shop fronts, but of course if the right opportunity presents itself, as it has done in a few cases, franchisees have bought their shop. Often there will be a flat over the shop that can be rented out and in some cases this covers the mortgage payments on the shop itself. So, do the figures back up the move from office to shop front? Yes they do. Analysis of the Management Information of franchisees prior and post moving into a shop front has shown clear differences in the growth rates. The figures show a marked increase in the number of clients after opening a shop front.

In the first 12 months, client acquisition almost doubles per month and increases on average by 65 per cent in subsequent years. In the first 12 months, average fee bank per month increases to almost double and on average 75 per cent and 92 per cent in subsequent years. The overall results clearly show the positive impact of a shop front opening for franchisees in gaining new clients and for charging higher fees.