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The Marla Custom Blinds' (MCB) franchise start-up costs have been reduced to less than £10,000 as part of the company's national expansion drive. The start-up costs have been reduced because MCB is currently not charging a franchise fee and the only things the franchise owner has to pay for are those that constitute a direct cost to the company's head office. These include a two-week training course, launch marketing, all promotional materials, and essential tools and equipment.

Martin Froud, MCB founder and Managing Director, said: "We're looking for franchise owners to help us expand outside of the Portsmouth and Southampton areas. You don't need any experience in this business, so almost anyone could do it. There is an element of DIY skill required to fit the blinds, but if you know one end of a tape measure from the other, and can put up a bracket, you'll have no problem. The significantly reduced entry cost gives an added incentive to potential franchise owners that have real business drive, but might be held back by a lack of investment capital."

MCB has been manufacturing and supplying blinds in Hampshire and throughout the South West for 15 years, and has a portfolio of repeat customers such as Portsmouth City Council, BBC South and the Beaulieu Estate. As well as adhering to the British Blind & Shutter Association's (BBSA) and the British Franchise Association's (bfa) codes of ethics, MCB is also a full member of the Checkatrade scheme, an independent monitoring service allowing customers to publicly judge the company's performance.

Froud added: "Ethical trading should be a priority for all businesses, particularly in the home improvement sector and is something we take very seriously. I insist that all MCB franchise owners are monitored by Checkatrade to ensure consistency across our brand, and satisfaction for all of our customers. We're really looking for dedicated and hard working people who uphold the same ethics we do, and who believe in a high level of customer service. That's why we place so much emphasis on training and support - to ensure our franchise owners treat their customers with the same care and respect that we've always done."


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