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The best of both worlds

Like many others before him, Tim Leighton, franchise owner of Northwood’s St Albans Office, has reaped the rewards of not only his own hard work and determination, but also the benefits that are only available through franchising.

Prior to 2007, Tim Leighton had always worked for other people, forging a successful career in marketing and advertising. Despite all of his achievements up until that point, Tim dreamed of starting something from scratch. Nevertheless, this remained a daunting prospect.

Fortunately for Tim, and many others just like him, the answer came in the form of franchising. “Franchising offers the best of both worlds,” Tim says. “Not only do you have the rewards of owning your own business, but you also have the in-built support mechanism and security of working within a proven business model. A further bonus of working within a franchise is that you are part of a support network that is always on hand to help and understand what you are going through.”

In 2007, Tim opened his St Albans office as a Jordans letting agent and, one year later, became a Northwood franchise owner and hasn’t looked back since, growing his business to hold over 225 landlords on the books.

Reflecting on starting a new business, Tim continues: “When you have made the decision to start a new business, you are itching to get started and Northwood’s full turnkey set up helps achieve just that, allowing you to access all of Northwood’s resources to get your business going with minimal fuss. When I compared the option of franchising to starting my own business from scratch, it really was a no brainer.”

It was Tim’s keen interest in property that drew him to the lettings industry and he was attracted to Northwood’s Guaranteed Rent Scheme, which he believes sets them apart from other lettings agents in a fiercely competitive marketplace. The scheme means that landlords receive fixed monthly payments each and every month, regardless of whether the property is 'let' or 'vacant' and even if the tenant stops paying. The scheme gives peace of mind to landlords who work abroad, have a mortgage to pay for or who are new to the lettings market, as they can rest easy knowing that their rent will be paid. Northwood have over 15,000 landlords, nationally, signed up to the scheme. A Northwood franchise also includes the opportunity to create a revenue stream by offering the more traditional lettings services and also residential sales.

One of the best things about Northwood, Tim comments, is the access to a network of franchise owners. “Being able to pick up the phone and talk with someone who is in exactly the same position as you is a massive benefit. You can bounce ideas around, understand what local initiatives work and what don’t while enjoying all the benefits of being a business owner.”

Tim had no previous experience in the property world and his hugely successful franchise is a clear demonstration of the effectiveness of Northwood’s training and support.

Another factor which attracted Tim to Northwood, are its impressive national marketing campaigns, which allow individual franchises to reach out to a wider audience and position themselves as a national brand, which is something that an independent start-up business could only dream of. Tim is just one of a number of franchise owners to have found that the campaigns, which span national television and radio, give the Northwood brand credibility and customer confidence in an over-crowded market place.

Coming from a client-facing background, Tim’s skills mean that he has the ability to deal with clients, understand what they need and build strong, trustful relationships with his team. It’s these strong communication skills, along with pure determination, that all franchise owners need to be successful.

One final piece of advice, one which has served Tim particularly well, to offer to anyone wanting to become a franchise owner, is to do your research and to understand the level of commitment involved in running your own franchise. Once all the pieces of this puzzle come together the sky is the limit for what you can achieve through hard work and commitment.