fbpx

Membership History

Full Member
Joined 2000

Membership History

Full Member
Joined 2000

Company Overview

Northwood are specialists in the property industry, offering a full service residential Lettings & Estate Agency offering with the additional benefit of insurance sales. The company started in 1995 offering the unique Guaranteed Rental Income service to landlords and has grown into a well-respected national franchise brand over the past 20 years.

You can view our YouTube channel here.

Franchise Overview

Northwood is an established Letting & Estate Agency Franchise brand with a high performing, retail based, business model.

Proven in widespread demographic regions the business has provided the basis for numerous successful entrepreneurs to secure a high standard of living.

With attractive signage and professionally designed interior décor, Northwood is a high profile Letting & Estate Agency business format with a growing network of over 85 offices nationwide.

Training

Training forms an integral part of the Northwood culture. All new franchisees receive a full five weeks of training including a combination of face-to-face, online and work experience in an established Northwood office. Ongoing development is provided by Northwood for all franchisees and their staff, delivered via webinars, online, management and job-specific courses.

Daily Life of a franchisee

Like any small business a Northwood franchisee can expect to have a busy but varied day. Dealing with landlords, tenants and suppliers means spending time both in the (high street) office and out conducting appointments. However, the advantage of the Northwood business model means that a Northwood franchisee avoids being a “busy fool” but instead can focus on a smaller, more profitable property portfolio. The weekday office hours are 9am to 5pm and then two hours on a Saturday, thereby ensuring that a sensible work-life balance is possible.

Stuart Williams

Name: Stuart Williams
Location: Bromley & Dulwich

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to setting up your Northwood franchise business?
I had been an IT professional for 15 years, and then became a professional landlord.

Why did you go down the franchise route? And why did you choose Northwood?
I felt that existing letting agents were not going a good enough job. As a landlord I was frustrated by their failed promises and felt I could do a better job. I wanted to be able to guarantee landlords their income and take away their hassle. I had an idea about how to do this, but was worried about starting out on my own with a new kind of business model in an industry that I was not that familiar with from the inside. I read some statistics about the general failure rate of start-up businesses, which scared me. It was interesting to see that franchise start-ups have a very high survival rate.

I shopped around some franchises, but everyone was offering the same standard high street lettings agency. No one did anything innovative. Some seemed honest, most wanted a lot of money from me each month, regardless of office performance. One even demanded that all my clients would actually be their clients!

I chose Northwood because they were already running a product that I wanted to offer, Guaranteed Rent and found them very honest and helpful.

How did you raise the finance?
I had savings, plus Northwood helped me get a loan from the banks. With the Northwood name and support behind me, the banks were receptive.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
Initial training was very good with courses run in the head office followed by regular visits to me to see how things were going, and encouraging me to visit other offices to see how they worked.

What is a typical day for you as a franchisee?
There is no typical day. Most days there is a lot of work. I have staff meetings to see what is happening and plan their day. I am not a sales oriented person, so I just make sure the sales team have what they need and try to keep them motivated and happy.

What challenges have you faced?
I have had to learn a lot about marketing and sales skills. It all looks very easy from the outside, but is a very specific skill set and one which Northwood helped me to recruit for.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
Massively. I am the boss now. There is no one to report to, which is great. But there is great responsibility towards my clients and staff.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to set up their first franchise?
If you are not an expert in the industry, hire one. If you are an expert, hire another one, just to be sure.

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?
Someone who is willing to work hard, but also learn and learn quickly. Being a part of a franchise gives you support and help, but ultimately you are the boss and it’s up to you to make it work.

What are your plans for the future?
Expand.

Would you do it again?
Yes.

Steve & Deb Swann

Name: Steve & Deb Swann
Location: Stoke On Trent
Date launched: October 2006

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to setting up your Northwood franchise business?
I had been part of the middle and senior management team at a local ceramics manufacturing company here in Stoke on Trent and, having been with the company for over 20 years, I became frustrated at decisions being made and my lack of control in certain situations.

Deb had set up a new government-funded multi-agency team working with schools, health and social service and the programme was coming to an end, so we started to look at opportunities where we could be in control.

Why did you go down the franchise route? And why did you choose Northwood?
We looked at a variety of business opportunities but felt that the franchise route would knock 5 years off the business plan and would help us get established in the marketplace with a recognisable brand.

We initially looked at the business, some franchises offer an opportunity to be self-employed, and some franchise opportunities are so reliant on the franchisor that if anything happened to them your business would fold overnight.

We wanted a business that we were in control of, which we could develop into a business that had a value, being able to build the business at our pace with the support of the brand, the training and the expertise of the franchisor.

We discounted many business’ on the route to our final decision, the decision was not made in a particular sector of the market but more from a point of could we make this business work, could it become profitable and then is it a business that we felt comfortable working in.

Northwood make you feel included and offer the qualities we were looking for, we are invited on a variety of steering groups to ensure that franchisees have an input in to the development of the overall franchise system.

How did you raise the finance?
We had some savings but not a huge amount, cashed in ISAs and we had equity in our property. We were given assistance putting the business plan together which we presented to the bank who were happy to loan the rest against the business plan.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
The training was vitally important, at Northwood they train you to a point that you are able to open then offer limitless support ongoing. Ten years in and we still have occasion to call up for a bit of advice or some legal support.

All of our team have attended basic training and are following this up with ongoing personal development courses from webinars to the much higher level of BTEC level 4 professional diploma in residential letting & management.

What is a typical day for you as a franchisee?
There is no typical day in this business which is what we love. We are dealing with people and their homes however we are now getting to a stage in our business where our position is more one of directing our business as opposed to being involved in the day to day tasks of the business.

What challenges have you faced?
It’s a business, it is not a till filling exercise, anyone getting involved in a business may it be a franchise or not needs to be aware there are going to be good days and bad, the difference when it is your business the buck stops with you but on the flip side it is your business, no one else’s.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
Yes most definitely. As a business owner you have a pride in what you are developing, the team you employ and the clients you serve. A brand can be developed over many years but can be destroyed very easily.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to set up their first franchise?
Look at the business, is it a business? The team behind it, can you work with them? Then follow the plan, don’t try to change the shape of the wheel.

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?
Someone with a passion, the basics of business acumen and a strength to succeed, in our case the support of each other with a common goal.

What are your plans for the future?
We have a structured business plan that we work towards, this is flexible and moves with the growth of the company and the market place.

Would you do it again?
Yes – but would probably have done it five or 10 years earlier!

Paul Ryder

Name: Paul Ryder
Location: Eastbourne & Hastings
When offices opened: Sept 2008 & Nov 2012
Annual turnover: £2m combined (almost!)
Number of staff: 11

What did you do before becoming a Northwood franchisee?
I worked in sales for 20 years at various levels before opening Eastbourne, starting as a door-to-door salesperson and progressing to company director

Why did you go down the franchise route, and why Northwood?
A proven track record of success is often more attractive than having to reinvent the wheel. Given that we had no previous knowledge of the industry and Northwood offered an attractive USP, we decided to invest.

What differentiates Northwood from the competition?
Not just the USP but also the way they positioned themselves. Northwood treated us as a valued individual rather than “just another investor”, they had good quality marketing material which gave me confidence in the company. They also actively encouraged me to speak with any of the current franchisees before investing, which also gave me a lot of confidence.

How did you raise the finance?
HSBC business loan.

What training and support did you receive initially when setting up?
All our staff were fully trained to a very high standard by experienced staff at the franchise at no cost to us as a business other than travelling and accommodation costs.

What ongoing support do you receive ongoing?
A lot! Even after many years of trading there are still situations that I prefer to discuss with experienced professionals before making a decision. We certainly wouldn’t be where we are today without their continued support.

What is a typical day for you as a franchisee?
Golf after a late breakfast! But on the days I go to the offices I spend time listening to my staff and looking for ways to develop the businesses as well as taking care of any urgent matters. I also deal with the finances.

What marketing tools do you use to grow your franchise?
Radio, leaflets, newspaper, property portals.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in owning & running a franchise?
The early days required a lot of energy making sure we continued to grow at an acceptable rate in order to stop losing money, but that was part of the business plan.

How has becoming a franchisee changed your life?
I no longer have to get up at the crack of dawn to travel into London to work a 15-hour day and come home after my family have gone to bed! I see a lot more of my family and now even get to work with them. I also have the ability to make sure the work environment we have is happy, professional one where each member of staff is recognised as an individual.

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?
Someone who recognised their own strengths and weaknesses and recruits others to do the work they can’t do themselves, for me I need a really good admin team while others need sales people to support them.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying their first franchise?
Make sure you’re buying something that is of interest to you, the more interest you have in the work, the less it feels like work. Also make sure the business can deliver the returns you need and above all make sure the franchise support is as good as Northwood offer.

What are your plans for the future of your franchise?
To continue to grow and develop the offices we have while also growing our own property portfolio.

Would you do it all again?
Given that I have opened a second office in Hastings, I think I can safely say “Yes”.

Martin Bradbury

Name: Martin Bradbury
Location: Warminster
Date launched: May 2005

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to setting up your Northwood franchise business?
Before Northwood I completed an apprenticeship and worked for 15 years before emigrating to Australia where I set up a company which I went on to franchise. After selling the franchise company in 1992 I returned to England and took up a position with the MOD where I remained until 2005 when I was offered a voluntary redundancy package. I used the redundancy monies to fund my Northwood business.

Why did you go down the franchise route? And why did you choose Northwood?
I believed there was more chance of success with a good franchise company and after researching the franchise opportunities that were available Northwood stood out because they had the unique selling point of ‘Guaranteed Rent’.

How did you raise the finance?
50% of the finance was raised through NatWest bank & 50% from my redundancy package.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
We did a six week training course of which 4 weeks was in carried out at the franchise office and two weeks with established franchisees.

What is a typical day for you as a franchisee?
Most days start looking at emails and then diary planning for the day before chairing a morning meeting with my team, after which I attend landlord & vendor appointments trying to win new business.

What challenges have you faced?
The biggest challenge has been managing business growth throughout the recession, which impacted the property sales market in 2008. My business had a good income from residential sales and a secondary income from our lettings portfolio and, with a great deal of support, we were able to grow this income and have gone from strength to strength.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
Yes I believe owning a Northwood franchise has changed my life. I am much more confident than when I started my adventure, I am more respected in my community and I believe that I am financially in a stronger position than I would have been if I had not accepted voluntary redundancy.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to set up their first franchise?
Make sure that the franchise that you are purchasing has a unique selling point with a good support strategy; and that you have enough finance in place.

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?
Someone who is hard working, good communicator and is prepared to embrace the franchise model that they have bought into. You buy into a franchise because its model is successful therefore do not try to reinvent the wheel.

What are your plans for the future?
I plan to give my branch manager a share in my business with a view that he will in the future either want to buy part or all of the business. I also plan to play lots of golf and enjoy my grandchildren.

Would you do it again?
Yes.

Lingam Raghulan

Name: Lingam Raghulan
Location: Maidenhead
Date launched: August 2015

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to setting up your Northwood franchise business?
I was working for McDonald’s as an operations manager. I did this for best part of 20 years and was ultimately in charge of a patch of restaurants located in London, Hertfordshire and Berkshire.

Why did you go down the franchise route? And why did you choose Northwood?
I always had a passion for property and wanted to set up my business in the property industry. The question was whether I go it alone or do it with the support of a franchise system. I chose the franchise route as I knew I could rely upon the tried and tested systems that an established network like Northwood would have in place and the support that I would get would be invaluable in a competitive property market.

As to why I chose Northwood, from my initial research it did not take too long to establish that Northwood stood out for the training structure and the support network that it had in place. The impressive training suite at Fareham impressed me from the very first visit and this stood as testament to the training and support structure that Northwood had in place.

How did you raise the finance?
Through a mixture of bank loan and personal finance, the bank loan was assisted by Northwood proving support through a company called Franchise Finance.

What training and support did you receive, initially and ongoing?
My initial training was carried out at Fareham at the head office and out on the field working with the franchisees and their teams.

What is a typical day for you as a franchisee?
This would be hard to say as no two days are the same…however in general a typical day would include dealing with tenants, landlords, vendors and purchasers. This would largely involve going out meeting clients in their properties and on rare occasions in the office itself.

What challenges have you faced?
First challenge was to identify the right office location. Once this was done then when it came to opening the office it was all about acquiring the right calibre of staff to take the business forward.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to set up their first franchise?
Do your due diligence on the franchisor and be sure that you are opening the office in the right location…and whatever the sector or industry you choose, ensure you are 200% committed to it!

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?
The hunger and desire for success, commitment and dedication to the business and perseverance.

What are your plans for the future?
To grow my current business and be in a position to open a second office at the beginning of year 4.

Would you do it again?
100% yes!

Denise Watson

Name: Denise Watson
Location: Wokingham
When office opened: June 2004
Annual Turnover: £1.4 million
Number of staff: 6

What did you do before becoming a Northwood franchisee?
I worked in electronics as a layout designer.

Why did you go down the franchise route?
Completely changing industry is a daunting prospect so having the support and training was an essential for me.

Why did you choose Northwood?
Northwood Wokingham was up for sale and an established business with the backing of the franchise office was very appealing.

What differentiates Northwood from the competition?
Having a unique product, Northwood’s Guaranteed Rent, was a big attraction as differentiation is an important part of any business.

How did you raise the finance?
We were able to borrow the money from family.

What training and support did you receive initially when setting up?
The initial training was comprehensive and got us up to speed on the bespoke software, legislation and using Sage for the accounts. The training was great and it was also very useful to get to know several of the staff at the franchise office, who conducted the training. There is only so much you can learn sat in a training room so it’s the telephone support you receive afterwards that is priceless.

What ongoing support do you receive ongoing?
One of the best pieces of advice I received was to use the franchise office support as much as you need, because that’s what you’ve paid for! I spent many hours the first few weeks on the phone and even two years later we’re regular callers checking our interpretation of contract issues or looking for advice. Everyone we’ve spoken to has been well informed and they’ve been unfailingly friendly in their support.

The ongoing training courses are invaluable and ensure you’re kept up to date with everything from changing legislation to the best way to utilise social media. All of this training is included.

What is a typical day for you as a franchisee?
There isn’t one and that’s one of the things I love! I might be speaking to a prospective landlord followed by a vendor just before I’m talking to a local school about a competition we’re running with them.

What marketing tools do you use to grow your franchise?
Anything and everything! We’ve run competitions, deliver a lot of canvassing cards and are active on social media. We try to reach people by being part of the local community.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in owning & running a franchise?
Trying to decide between the 50 things I could be doing next! Managing my time is a constant challenge because there’s always something new to learn or a new marketing idea to try.

How has becoming a franchisee changed your life?
The freedom to make your own decisions is a wonderful change from corporate life. I love trying out new ideas and knowing the only limit is my imagination.

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?
Someone who communicates well and can adapt to the varied challenges. Every day is different and you need to be happy with that kind of business.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying their first franchise?
Does it look exciting to you? Can you see yourself in every role in the business, because you’ll need to know how to do it all! Find out as much as you can and speak to as many people as you can. There’s nothing like chatting to someone in that job to see if it’s for you.

What are your plans for the future of your franchise?
We’re building up the Wokingham office and plan to open further local offices in the future.

Would you do it all again?
Absolutely!

Resales

Request more info for latest resale options.
Expert Advice
Latest News
New Northwood franchisee makes history by completing on acquisition of Belvoir Group’s 100th independent agency
9 October 2020
Northwood celebrates franchisee achievements at Annual Awards
7 January 2020

Request More Info

bfa Monthly Franchise Insights

Free franchising webinar

We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our website. By continuing to browse this site, you give consent for cookies to be used. For more details, please read our Cookie Policy.