Franchise exhibition helps lead ex-fireman on successful new career path

After 27 years of experience in the fire service, Kevin Keeler decided to become a franchise owner with one of the UK’s largest estate agency board specialists, Agency Express. As the Bristol Divisional Commander, Keeler was in charge of six fire stations and 330 people, but made the exciting decision to take a change of direction in his career three years ago.

Visiting The National Franchise Exhibition at the NEC, Birmingham, in 2011, Keeler received invaluable insight into the world of franchising, and was able to gain professional advice from industry experts. After speaking with the Agency Express team and discussing the possible prospects with them, Keeler seized the opportunity of owning his own business.

Commenting on his experience, Keeler said: “A big factor was the relatively low start-up cost of the Agency Express franchise. However, the clincher for me was the people when I visited head office in Norwich. I felt a connection, everyone was very friendly and helpful but also professional. I thought to myself ‘I could work with these people and the franchise model clearly works.”

After successfully completing a comprehensive training course at the company’s head office, Keeler was given all the support he needed to launch his new business. This included a three-day programme visiting local estate agents, enabling him to make contact with potential customers. Keeler excelled in this personal, one-on-one aspect and revelled in meeting new people and forging successful relationships.

Keeler explained: “I am very pleased with my experience to date. The support from Agency Express has been first class and was one of the things that appealed to me about franchising, i.e. you had someone to hold your hand, especially in the early weeks. I also bought into the idea that if you follow the system there is no reason why the franchise should not be a success. All of the advice and help I have received from everyone at Agency Express has been invaluable.”

Three years in with the continued support and backing of Agency Express, Keeler has built a thriving multiple van business in Cheltenham and Gloucester.

He concluded: “Visiting the exhibition was a real turning point in my career. Having the opportunity to meet an established brand like Agency Express and hear about the franchise options it had to offer gave me the confidence and final push I needed to take that final step. I now own a successful business which continues to grow.”