'It's a tremendous business'

With over 320 UK franchisees and a clutch of awards to its name, web-based franchise must be doing something right, Franchise Recruitment Manager Mary Stevens explains

The business is run by Nigel Botterill and his team of 40 staff, who provide dedicated training and support to the franchisee network. 'We are geared up to help every one of our franchisees achieve success,' Nigel assures. 'So far, most of our site owners are recouping their investment in just a few months. We now have over 320 franchisees.'

Huddersfield franchisee Fiona Crosland says: 'It's a tremendous business. Think of it as a 21st century cross between the parish magazine and Yellow Pages! Businesses love it because it is such good value and we are able to measurably drive more customers to them - and residents in the town realise that the quality and depth of information available to them is second-to-none.'

Sylvia Lillis, franchisee for Ealing in West London, adds: 'The support I get is fantastic. Whenever I have needed help the team at HQ have been there straight away.'

Kiren Powell, who has invested in three franchise areas in Buckinghamshire, agrees: 'I have been involved in franchises in the past when I have felt that I have not been in control of my business. Things are so different with thebestof. I am totally in control of my business and am also able to spend more time with my family.'

It is certainly true that local businesses are rapidly catching on to the benefits of and this makes getting new customers much easier. 'I genuinely look forward to the phone ringing as it is always good news,' says Carole Aldred, franchisee for Bolton. 'The support from the guys at the office has always been excellent and this really is a 'win-win' business for me and my customers.'

Guilford franchisee Ginetta George has big plans: 'The truth is, over 90 per cent of people who I approach become customers. It really is an extremely easy thing to sell and I have set my targets very high. Customers are getting real value, which I think is key, and the support from the team at HQ is really great too.'

Technical Director Dave Carruthers is keen to provide reassurance for non-technophiles: 'Just in case you are worried about all the technology, although this is a web-based business, you don't need any technical knowledge. Everything is designed so that as long as you can use email and type a letter in Microsoft Word then you can run and operate the site. 'In January more than 800,000 people visited the site making thebestof one of the top 50 most popular websites in the country. We have received the 'Best E-Company 2007' award, which has further raised the profile of the site.'