Anthony Williams, who invested in property signboard franchise Countrywide Signs (CWS) 14 years ago, says: “One of the reasons I chose the franchise was because of the nationwide network of franchisees. I consulted several before I decided to buy the Merseyside area franchise and I the network has been invaluable ever since.”
Before he purchased the area as a resale, he spoke to the existing franchisee. “I also spoke to the franchisees in neighbouring areas and even one I met by chance at the roadside,” says Anthony. “All were positive.”
“They explained that whether you operated the franchise alone or expanded into a multi-van operation, you got out what you put in. Speaking to existing franchisees helps you find out how easy it is to set up, and increases your understanding of the local market and competition, so it helps you make the investment decision.”
Once Anthony started his business, he found that speaking to other franchisees in the Countrywide Signs’ network helped it grow. It is now a multi-van operation covering Liverpool, Southport and Warrington and owned by Anthony and co-franchisee Robert Carter.
“Other franchisees can offer advice based on their experience with all kinds of issues, from different ways to attach For Sale and To Let boards to properties, to safe and efficient ways to mount bigger commercial boards. Tapping into their expertise can save you time and effort,” says Anthony.
The franchise network also means that franchisees may be able to offer each other cover for sickness, and business can be passed among franchisees where an estate agency client wants service across more than one franchise area.
“Other franchisees have passed on work to us and vice-versa, so your business benefits from the network,” says Anthony.
Anthony is also a member of the Countrywide Signs Franchisee Steering Group, made up of franchisees from around the UK who meet quarterly to discuss ideas and issues.
Countrywide Signs director Justin Pearce, who established the group, says: “It offers an efficient way to maintain communication between head office and the franchisees. It flags up areas of concern to both, but also highlights what we are doing well. It’s a win-win for head office and the franchisee network.”
Anthony Williams adds: “If you are looking for a franchise, prioritise those like Countrywide Signs with an active franchisee network, and make use of it. The network can be one of keys to your business success.”