Franchising the future
13 October 2020
Wiltshire-based independent Hire Standards has introduced a franchising model to enable entrepreneurs to own and run their own operations and to help the future expansion of the organisation.
The business was founded by Matt Rowe in 2007 and has grown steadily. Its first depot in Westbury was later augmented by locations in Frome and Whitebridge, near Shaftesbury, although the last mentioned outlet was closed last year.
Matt tells me he had been considering plans for the overall growth of the operation for some time.
“In June we established Hire Standards (Frome) Ltd as a separate entity, enabling depot manager Kai Harrington to buy it. Kai started working at Westbury three years ago, transferring to Frome last year. He has built up a good customer base and quickly achieved record turnover for the depot.
“We discussed the franchise idea and it was due to have been finalised in May, but the coronavirus lockdown delayed it by a month.
“It works like any other franchise opportunity,” says Matt. “Kai pays management fees as a percentage of turnover for ongoing advice and training, use of the Hire Standards trading name, website and marketing support, and the various systems and procedures that have been developed over the years.”
Hire Standards (Frome), pictured above, has a basic fleet of popular items and can re-hire other equipment from the main Hire Standards portfolio to facilitate growth in the early stages.
Knowledge and enthusiasm
This is an interesting concept. Generally speaking, someone with industry knowledge and enthusiasm who is prepared to work hard can take on a franchise with minimal resources and then grow the business.
In Hire Standard’s case it also means that Matt does not have to be involved in the day-to-day minutiae of running the Frome depot and can concentrate on wider business development.
The obvious question is whether there might be other Hire Standards franchisees in the future and the answer is: yes. “We’d need to open another depot and establish a customer base there,” says Matt. “Or, of course, we could acquire an existing hire business.
“We have also created Hire Standard (Westbury) as a separate identity, and I am currently both its franchisor and franchisee. In theory I could sell the Westbury franchise and perhaps focus on building the next location.”
Working flat out
• Hire Standards has remained busy throughout the pandemic. “When the lockdown began on 23 March no-one knew what the future held, so all the staff were sent home for a few weeks,” said Matt. “I had enquiries from all the depots transferred to my mobile - and I had 98 calls the following morning from customers working on sites that simply had to continue working.
“I was picking up plant and equipment from the depots and delivering it using my own car and a trailer for several weeks. Then we started bringing more people back to work and we’ve been flat out since.”