Franchise owners Clive Coldwell and Angela Lowe have gained the record for the quickest Dream Doors showroom opening in the company’s 12-year history. Completing their initial training in the week before Christmas, the business partners opened the doors to their showroom in March.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better, or a faster, launch to the business,” said Coldwell. “Everything has worked out exactly how we wanted. We’re so busy dealing with customers at the moment. It has been back-to-back appointments for the last three months! Last week alone we sold three full kitchens, and our sales in June hit £65,000.”
It was after taking voluntary redundancy from the IT sector at the end of 2009 that Coldwell and Lowe first decided to pursue their passion for home improvement. They began by fitting kitchens and bathrooms locally – building up a solid reputation that led to more and more work through recommendations – but soon realised that the hands-on aspects of their business didn’t suit their long term aspirations.
Coldwell said: “We’d both spent so many years working in a corporate environment, and in a variety of management positions, that the time was ripe for a change. When redundancy packages were offered, we both jumped at the chance, and moving away from the desk and into property maintenance and kitchen fitting was really enjoyable to begin with. But in reality, I didn’t want to spend every day for the next 10 or 20 years with my head in a cupboard or under some floorboards. As soon as we started looking for management franchises in the home improvement sector, both Angela and I could see that the Dream Doors model is far better suited to our experience and abilities.”
Despite having extensive management experience, an area of particular concern for the couple was finding and converting customers. Lowe said: “Selling doesn’t come naturally to us, although we do get on well with people, and while Troy and the team assured us that this isn’t a hard sell – and he’s right – Clive and I felt our skills better complement the organisational side of the business. So, when we went on a sales course at head office, we bought along an ex-colleague of ours, Colin. After two days of training, the course instructor said that if it was his business he would be using Colin as a salesman, so we’ve followed his advice and not looked back since.
“Everything about this business is great. We are in a fantastic location just outside of Poole, in an area that is almost like a town centre but without the ridiculous rents. There are cars and people going by all day, every day.”
Coldwell and Lowe have had such a busy start to their business that they are already considering taking on employees, Coldwell said: “We’ve got 10 jobs to fit at the moment, and the challenge we have is whether to accelerate our business plan and take on full-time fitters instead of relying on sub-contractors. That usually happens in years two and beyond, but we’ve only just opened. It’s a good problem to have, as I’d rather that than sitting here twiddling my thumbs waiting for customers to come in through the door.”
Published: 5 August 2011
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