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A franchise to match its owners’ ambitions

At the onset of the recession, Northwood’s franchise opportunity gave Roger Eaves the perfect platform in which to use his skills with the added security of an established and respected brand.

Northwood is an established and well-respected estate agency franchise within the residential lettings business. Nearly 20 years since the first office opened in Portsmouth in 1995, the business has now grown to a network of 85 offices and continues to expand.

Former Financial Advisor Roger Eaves is the Northwood franchise owner for Cornwall He opened for business in June 2011, just about at the peak of the economic downturn – probably the worst time for a new business to launch.

He says: “I had previously worked as an Area Director for both Barclays and HSBC. It was at this time that I realised that the market for providing financial advice was evolving and I wanted to open my own business, drawing on some of the skills that I already had but within a different sector.”

Roger was looking for a premium franchise that could meet his criteria. After extensive research, the Northwood offering stood out strongly from other franchise offerings.

He explains: “I looked for opportunities in lettings and sales as well as for recruitment. Northwood stood out for its strong branding and the unique Guaranteed Rent proposition. Having met the former Managing Director, Nick Cooper, and the support team at the franchise office, I was really taken by the family feel of the operation. The Northwood back up from the franchise office really is second to none; providing a full suite of accounting, marketing, IT, training and legal support, provided by qualified experts. It appealed to me that it wasn’t a top-down structure and genuinely valued the input of the network.”

The Northwood Franchise Fee of £39,500 + VAT is higher than its competitors but this is because it offers a full turn-key operation. Every new franchise is supported and provided with all of the necessary training; equipment and expertise to get the premises set-up rapidly and start trading.

Roger comments: “It was a relatively large initial investment upfront, but because I could take advantage of the team’s extensive experience we were able to get set up quickly and efficiently, so much so that we started taking on properties almost immediately. We have quickly outgrew our high street premises and earlier this year have moved premises.”

While Roger admits that his role requires dedication and hard work, he believes this is true of any job in order to be successful. Northwood however, gave him the tools to turn his own skill and effort into a business success in an environment he relishes.

“Like any business you get out what you put in,” he comments. “As a franchise owner and as your own boss you are only answerable to yourself.”

With the sales market picking up and no signs of the rental market slowing, there has never been a better time to get into the estate agency business. To this end, Roger would have no hesitation in recommending a Northwood franchise to others.

“I actually have recommended Northwood to a close friend who has taken on his own franchise. It’s hard work but ultimately very rewarding,” he concludes.