Franchise resales: a failure or a measure of success?

Rik Hellewell

Rik Hellewell

For far too long, there has been an untruth in franchising when the time comes for a franchisee to sell his business and go on to pastures new. By Rik Hellewell, founder of Ovenu.

It is insulting, quite frankly, to suggest that a resale should be deemed a failure. This is simply not the case and could not be further from the truth.

Taking the plunge and going out on your own, even with a strong support network from your franchise, not to mention the backing of family and friends, can be a daunting prospect, but an equally exciting challenge.

So to say that after taking a risk, investing hard-earned cash to manage and own a business to then sell it on is a sign of failure, is just plain wrong.

Besides, there are plenty of reasons as to why people choose to sell their franchise, including retirement, relocation (either in the UK or abroad) or simply to pursue other interests, none of which come even close to being classed as failures.

A well-planned and prepared exit strategy, together with a healthy set of financial results and customer base, is always going to be an attractive proposition for any prospective buyer. So, in actual fact, a franchise resale is actually a measure of the success of the previous owner.

Resale opportunities provide a potential buyer with the chance to take over an existing and established brand, in an area with a solid customer base and guaranteed income from day one, as well as ongoing support from the franchisor. So, unlike starting out in business from scratch, you are actually already one step ahead of the game.

In most cases at Ovenu, a network of over 100 oven cleaning businesses across the UK, retirement is the reason for a franchise resale. Some even relocate to other areas of the UK to take up another Ovenu franchise or one of its opportunities abroad.

The standard package at Ovenu contains approximately 60,000 applicable homes. Franchisees receive full training prior to any business launch, professional uniformed workwear, a liveried vehicle and ongoing support throughout the life of the franchise, along with its trade name and trademark rights.

So, with tens of thousands of potential customers, many of whom are already accustomed to the service they received from the previous franchisee, can provide an exciting business prospect.

Growth and expansion
There is always the opportunity to  target a new marketplace and increase the order book, so growth and expansion plans are readily available once the franchisee has settled into his new surroundings and is familiarised with the market.

Of course, such a success does not happen overnight. It takes months and years to achieve with plenty of hard work and a real hunger to grow a business and see it prosper. A thorough and well-planned marketing strategy, customer relations and providing a first class service, which people will remember, are critical to the success of a franchisee.

However, not everyone has the business acumen to take on and manage a franchise and make it successful. As the old saying goes: ‘You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink’. Even with support from the outside, some people can struggle to adapt and make it work.

It is certainly not a true representation of the industry and to tar all franchise sales with the same brush, as failures, is unacceptable. This myth needs dispelling. The hard work of a franchisee that has built his business up, so that a buyer is in a position of strength from the outset, needs to be recognised.

About the author
Rik Hellewell is the founder of Ovenu, the UK’s largest oven cleaning franchise network. The Ovenu system also operates in North America and Australasia, with almost 300 outlets worldwide.