Name: Martin Bradbury
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?