Phil and Ruth Sutcliffe
Phil and Ruth have been working together running their Snack in the Box franchise for 12 years.
Apart from wanting to be out and about and working for himself, Phil looked at a wide variety of franchise businesses. He originally found out about Snack in the Box from franchise magazines, and chose the business as he was able to be his own boss and travel around, rather than being office-based. Ruth was a nurse before she joined Phil in running the franchise.
Phil explains that the ability to work as a couple was also important – Phil and Ruth always knew they didn’t want to employ staff in any franchise they took on, so the Snack in the Box opportunity suited them well.
Ruth said that once Phil had chosen Snack in the Box, she was immediately convinced it was the right one for them. “After all,” she said, “how hard can it be to sell a chocolate bar?! Everyone loves chocolate!”
Ruth added that having repeat business each week from regular customers was also very important for them as it was regular income. She also felt that the association of Snack in the Box with the major confectionery brands meant that it must be a franchise company with a good reputation.
Ruth and Phil have just under 150 customers. At each customer site they put in a new snack box to replace the used one, ensure that their customers are happy with everything, collect payment, and then move on to the next site. They spend 4 days each week in this way and then use Friday to catch up, do paperwork, find more customers and take deliveries.
The pair don’t service their customers together as this leaves the other one free to catch up with other aspects of the business and look after their family. This timetabling flexibility is just one way in which they have been able to achieve the right work/life balance; for example, Phil explains that on Mondays: “I get up early and beat the traffic. I know which of my customers are open early and I have tweaked my route to be able to service as many customers as possible in a day.”
Ruth says: “Our Snack in the Box business works well for us. We can run our franchise business as a couple and it works well with family life as we have 2 young boys. We are able to see a lot more of our family than if we were both working salaried jobs.” Every evening, they count the day’s takings, log it for their customer records and pack boxes for the following day. This takes them about an hour and a half in total.
Phil and Ruth’s customers cover a wide variety of business types. This includes offices, workshops, nurseries and care homes. The couple added: “When we want to build up our territory with some new customers, we now know what types of workplaces and customers will work for us and which won’t. We also use the support from Snack in the Box, such as the sales training days, and we use the sales flyers produced by them which have worked really well and look very professional.”