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Zockoll: 'The secrets of successful franchising' on Tue 26th July, 2011
Whilst working as a Pan Am pilot in the late 50s, Jim Zockoll visited the UK and stayed in a London hotel – with a blocked drain. At the time, he was also running a drain and sewer business in the US, and agreed with the hotel that he would fly home to return with his equipment, in order to unblock the drain.
Jim ended up establishing a drain business in the UK - Rotary Rod, which became Dyno Rod in the early 60s. At the same time, he re-located to London in order to establish the company, whilst continuing to work for the airline.
The business grew from strength to strength, and in 1963 Jim decided to set up a national franchise – something that had never been accomplished on the service side before. He started with 40 Dyno Rod franchises and ended up with 160. In 2004, the business was sold to British Gas for £57 million, plus cash in bank of 13.1 million. The rest is history...
Today, the Zockoll Group is a leading franchise consultancy – helping flourishing businesses to set out on a franchise route. The company has supported more than 10 successful UK franchises since its inception. Jim Zockoll, at the Zockoll Group, commented: “It isn’t about the quick gain, but rather the care and attention to detail with which the ideas are brought to life.”
In early 2010, The Zockoll Group approached leading London-based property maintenance and refurbishment company, aspect.co.uk (then Aspect Maintenance), to discuss franchising opportunities for the flourishing business. And, following the consultancy, today sees the launch of aspect.co.uk’s franchise operation – underpinning the company’s national expansion. Jim Zockoll added: “We see our job as helping the team at aspect.co.uk, and saving them from making unnecessary, but understandable, mistakes along the way.”
Here, Jim Zockoll at the Zockoll Group offers their top tips on establishing and running a successful franchise operation:
• Those keen to set up a franchise must have an existing and profitable business, and a proven and piloted concept that has the ability to produce sufficient margins for both the franchisee and franchisor. Jim Zockoll commented: “When we met with the founders of aspect.co.uk, William Davies and Nick Bizley, it was clear to see that they had ‘been there and done that’. After working in the business since 2005, they know all there is to know, and can pass this knowledge and experience on to their franchisees. You can’t buy experience, but you can clone it.
• Find the right person (franchisee) who shows a keen interest in the business, will be wholly committed to it, and who is hungry to strike out on their own. Ask them to bring their wife, partner or parents along to the initial meeting, so that you can explain (to all parties) the level of commitment that will be needed to make this a success. The hours are likely to be long and anti-social (particularly in the set up stages); franchisees will be eating, sleeping and breathing the business – seven days a week.
• If the franchisee feels like the right fit, but they don’t have the finances up front, then take a risk. Come to an agreement to make this work, for example an increase in monthly royalties, until the investment is covered.
• But – keeping the above in mind - ensure that you do not discriminate and offer one thing to one franchisee, without offering the same to others in the network.
• Treat your franchisee as an equal. They are also business owners; they’re simply paying you for your business experience and acumen. And, you too will learn from them as you progress the journey; listen to their feedback and adapt, if needed.
• Put your franchisees in second place – after your customers.
• Coordinate regular meetings with the franchisee, and get togethers for the entire network of franchisees. Setting up on your own can be a lonely business, and the network needs to see that they have your full support.
• Keep an eye on your franchisees development, don’t let them become complacent when they are doing well, and – as such – allow them to drop their standards. Keep on your toes, and cut down their area, if needed.
• Set guidelines on your pricing, and ensure this remains consistent across the network.
• Continue to innovate in your field, and develop new products and services to ensure the business keeps its competitive edge.
• Find a niche in the market, for example create a brand that is short, descriptive and suggestive of your business and can be a registered mark a name or a telephone that the public can easily resonate with and remember. For aspect.co.uk, the company went with 0800 ONE CALL – there is only one 0800 ONE CALL.
• Bring in the help of experts in their field – franchise consultants, solicitors, accountants – cutting corners will affect the entire set up.
Jim Zockoll added: “Nothing is more exciting than being behind the set up of a successful franchise, when it flows – it’s perfect.”
Notes to editors
www.aspect.co.uk is a leading property maintenance and refurbishment company operating across the domestic and commercial sectors, 24 hours per day. With the tagline – ‘one call property care’, www.aspect.co.uk manages all maintenance issues, from the drains to the roof and everything in between.
The company’s moto is ‘fix, support and refresh’:
o Fix – emergency repairs
o Support – through the company’s planned maintenance team
o Refresh – through the company’s installation and refurbishment team
aspect.co.uk has a fully-skilled workforce – from versatile handymen to qualified technicians, including gas engineers, plumbers, decorators and drainage specialists. The company has an impressive list of accreditations and sets new, modern, professional and award-winning standards for property maintenance.
The company uses cutting edge technology to enable its workforce and ensure best customer practice, and high levels of performance.
Founded in 2004, aspect.co.uk has grown at over 100% year-on-year. The company is based in South West London, and operates primarily across the city and all areas inside the M25. In July 2011, the company launched its nationwide franchise business - http://www.aspect.co.uk/franchise/.
For further information, interviews and photography, please contact:
Katrina Suppiah, Publicité
Tel: 020 8543 6582
John Price, Hillgrove PR.
T. +44 (0) 20 3603 0366