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I love the fact that I am my own boss

Andy Smith, Cheshire & Manchester

With the profits from my ice cream business dwindling, I decided the time had come to invest in a new business venture. Franchising appealed because I would be able to continue working for myself but with access to ongoing support. I decided to visit a franchise exhibition for inspiration and this is where I came across Snack-in-the-box (SITB).

Initially, I was keen to invest in a retail franchise, however the onset of the economic downturn led me to choose distribution franchise SITB. This is because I felt the concept of snack vending machines was relatively recession proof and would be easier to expand. The fact the company was associated with quality brand Cadbury was also very attractive.

I launched my franchise in April 2008 and my territory spans across Cheshire and part of Manchester. So far I have built up the business to 75 vending machines, which generate an average weekly turnover of £1,700. By the end of this year, my aim is to have 100 machines operating profitably, generating a combined turnover of £2,000 a week.

The transition from ice creams to vending machines has been relatively straightforward because SITB provided an initial intensive five-day training course to prepare me. I was taught everything I needed to know in order to run the business, from paperwork, to ordering stock and assembling and maintaining the vending machines. I also had the opportunity to shadow an existing franchisee for the day.

As a SITB franchisee I love the fact I am still my own boss and now have a regular income throughout the year. I can work flexible hours, do not have to work every weekend and bank holiday, and the fact that I can finally take a holiday during the summer months is another big benefit!