(Not so) risky business

By at home

You’d like your own company but don’t want to go it alone? There is another way, as these successful franchises prove.

Setting up a thriving business in this tough market can be difficult. Running a franchise can be just as rewarding as you get to be your own boss, but also the support and training from a head office. Plus you can benefit from buying into a brand with an established presence. We look at some opportunities…

Investment level: Estimated total investment of £70,900 to £174,400.
What you get: Comprehensive training, ongoing support and mentoring, plus television and press advertising. Subway was founded in 1965 in the USA and the first franchise opened in 1974. There are more than 33,000 outlets in over 91 countries, making it one of the world’s most successful franchises. The chain aims to increase the number of stores in the UK and Ireland to over 2,000 stores by the end of this year. Each potential franchisee is required to attend a two-week training course and pass an exam. Visit www.subway.co.uk for info.

Cash Converters
Investment level: From £80,000 plus financing.
What you get: Full training plus support and advice from a dedicated manager. Ongoing training and development through workshops. Cash Converters was founded in Australia in 1984 and its first store opened in the UK in 1993. Since then the brand has expanded to 170 stores across the country and it is planning to open a minimum of 20 new stores in the UK by the end of this year. As well as trading in second-hand goods, the company is expanding into the personal finance market. Visit www.cashconverters.co.uk for an online franchise brochure.

Papa John’s
Investment level: Typically between £170,000 and £225,000 (excluding freehold and VAT) of which one third £70,000 should be in liquid funds.
What you get: The package normally includes everything required to get a store built up and running. The company will handle all the building and project management and will be responsible for sourcing suitable, profitable locations. Papa John’s was established in the USA in 1984 and operates 3,000 restaurants in 29 markets, and has just opened it’s 100th outlet in the UK. There are plans to grow this number to more than 300 by 2016, including increasing the number of company owned premises. Visit  www.papajohns.co.uk/franchise for info.

Molly Maid
Investment level: £16,975 + VAT, plus £12,000 working capital
What you get: Comprehensive training programme, including three days’ on-site support during your start up, then a dedicated business adviser for ongoing support and advice. Molly maid was set up in 1984 and entered the franchise market two years later. It is a management franchise which operates within a secure business sector delivering high quality reliable domestic cleaning to thousands of homes across the UK. As a franchise owner you will employ staff to provide domestic maid service to customers within an exclusive area. Visit www.mollymaid.co.uk or call 0800 500950 for info.

Bairstow Eves
Investment level: The level of personal funding depends largely on the premises. But franchisees should have access to at least £30,000 of readily accessible funds.
What you get: Each franchise owner develops and operates his own full-service estate agency and lettings business using the company’s well established brand, knowledge, training and proven systems. All new Bairstow Eves franchise owners undertake a 30-day training programme that equips them and their staff with the knowledge they’ll require to run a successful property service business. After set up, franchisees will receive support and advice from the franchise head office. Visit www.bairstoweves.co.uk for information.

Investment level: Estimated total start-up costs are £140,000 + VAT, with £40,000 cash up front.
What you get: This household name in the telecommunications offers you the opportunity to buy into the well-known brand, and benefit from its multimillion pound advertising campaign. O2 (UK) Ltd is one of the UK’s largest mobile phone network operators with in excess of 450 stores. It went into the franchise market in 2005 and has 50 franchisee-owned stores, with opportunities available in London, the south, the North East and Scotland. O2’s franchise package includes training and advice, marketing support. Visit www.o2.co.uk/abouto2/franchising for details.

Granite Transformations

Investment level: Initial fee is £29,975 + VAT, plus £34,250 of additional capital.
What you get: Marketing support, showroom signing, branded work wear and below the line material (such as a local website), press and TV advertising and PR support. Granite Transformations offers kitchen and bathroom makeovers using surfaces that fit over existing worktops, made by an exclusive production process. It is expanding the offering to include replacement kitchen doors. Founded in Australia during the 1990s there has more than 160 franchise owners worldwide. The company will provide a four-week training course. Visit www.granitetransformations.co.uk for info.

Wiltshire Farm Foods
Investment level: Capital of £100,000 plus.
What you get: As one of Wilthire Farm Foods’ franchisees you’ll undergo a comprehensive six-week training plan, including marketing, logistics and IT. Wiltshire Farm Foods, part of the Apetito Group, is the country’s leading frozen ready meals delivery service. Established over 16 years ago, it operates a network of 70 franchises covering the UK and Ireland. You’ll receive national advertising, ongoing business and marketing support. Visit www.wiltshirefarmfoods.co.uk for info.

Investment level: From £30,000.
What you get: This well-known high-street printing company offers franchisees the option to open a new store, take over an existing store or rebrand an existing print and design business. In return for the franchise fee you’ll get comprehensive training and support and a proven business model to work to. The company was established in 1971 and began franchising in 1973. There are currently 175 franchisees in the UK. Visit www.prontaprint.co.uk for details.

Pictures: getty images

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