When it comes to franchising, where you start and where you end up really does depend on you and your motivation, your self-discipline, and your drive. For Nathan and Sam Merritt, owners of the Aspray (Sutton Coldfield) franchise, their passion and determination has pushed their business forward.
Now into their third year, they are expanding further, and we caught up with them to discuss their franchise and plans for the future.
Leaving the Living Room
As with many of our franchisees, as their business grew, Nathan and Sam knew they needed to expand into an office. Nathan begun operations working out of his living room during the 2020 global pandemic.
Next, he fit a desk into the corner of his kitchen with his laptop and he spent a lot of time working on his business between visiting policyholders. Within 18 months the franchise had grown considerably and his brother, Sam, came onboard as a 50% owner.
It was then Nathan knew it was time to get his house back. Luckily for Nathan and Sam they didn’t need to move far. Nathan’s back garden was the perfect space to build an office, fully fitted with a plush carpet, large windows to let the light in and a picnic bench out front to enjoy those rare sunny days the UK offers.
Nathan said: ” My first day, I remember having the two-week induction, sat on a chair in the living room, iPad sort of setup and working from there. I spent many a day working on my lap, in coffee shops or working in McDonalds restaurants.
Then I built a small little office at the back of the kitchen with a couple of units to work off and a printer above my head, eventually knowing that wasn’t big enough and coming to a point where we were building this office for myself and Sam. This is our main setup now. It’s exciting stuff.”
Building Brick by Brick
As Sam puts it, they have built their business ‘brick by brick’. Moving into the office was just the start for the Merritt brothers. Getting another van on the road and employing their first staff member were the next blocks in their Aspray build. And their plans going forward are just as exciting.
“Like with anything it’s brick by brick,” said Sam. “Before we know it, we’ll have two guys out on the road with two vans, maybe a third.”
Creating opportunities for the younger generation is also part of their growth plans, as Nathan explained, “In the future, we’d like to bring on college graduates in multi-trade skills who can work with us for a few years, decide whether they want to stay with us and help on the stripping out and learning new skills.”
A Rewarding Career
“Being your own boss is a great feeling,” Nathan revealed. “But don’t get me wrong, there’s no slacking off.”
Building their own business has given Nathan and Sam the freedom to make their own career paths. But as they point out, they are still answerable to other people, mainly policyholders, although they are now in a position that they know the claims process, they know buildings and they can provide an outstanding service.
Together they’ve built up a 5-star rating with over 74 reviews from delighted policyholders who ‘highly recommend’ their service to others.
Looking back on everything he has achieved, Nathan said, “I’m massively proud! We came across 1,000 days the other day. It’s just coming up to our three-year anniversary on the 15th June. What we’ve achieved in that three years is huge. From me starting out with no cashflow at all and then having Sam come onboard and taking on another person as a multi-trade, getting another vehicle on the road, building the office, having numerous claims coming in from very different avenues, building that network and building those contractors. When you look at what we’ve done in 1,000 days, it’s massive!”