Dean Caldon is not your typical franchise owner having gained a BA(Hons) degree in Accountancy in 1995, he began his professional career training to be a Chartered Accountant with Coopers & Lybrand (now known as PwC).
Dean moved into the Investment Industry shortly afterwards and for the next 10 years, worked for a number of Asset Managers and Hedge Funds as an Equity Dealer.
Dean’s final move four years ago, before discovering the wonderful world of franchising, was to working within Investment Banking as a successful Emerging Market Equity Sales Trader. So why would someone like Dean see franchising as a better option to a lucrative career?
It was while Dean was on holiday last year, with his family, that he and his wife began reassessing the quality of life that they had, and wondering what else, if anything, they could do together to support their family. It may have been the red wine but this was the moment they remember as the time they looked seriously at the possibility of buying a franchise.
They did have the additional comfort of knowing that a very good friend of theirs had bought a Lettings Agency Franchise over 10 years ago, and had made it into a hugely successful business.
So why choose franchising over an employed career?
Dean says that “After 16 years as an employee I always hoped that one day we could run our own business, buying a franchise was the perfect way to fulfil the dream.”
As they already knew how successful their friend had been in his Lettings Agency Franchise they looked at this sector first and found that there were many other Letting Agency Franchises. Faced with such a large choice seemed daunting but when they began comparing what each offered none of them came close to being able to offer the complete package like Redstones.
Dean takes up the story, “For a relatively low initial investment, we were able to secure a much larger territory than we would have been able to with anyone else. We were also able to speak directly to Manjit Virdi, the owner of Redstones, which enabled us to gain a greater insight into the business as a whole, it’s background, the ethical way it conducts business, and the vision and future developments that Manjit and his Corporate Team have for the Franchise network.”
Dean and his wife Sharon financed their franchise purchase from savings and are both Directors, each holding an equal 50% stake in their business. Dean tells us that “Sharon will be helping in the day to day running of our office, and will definitely be keeping me on my toes!”
One of the major reasons that made Dean and his wife choose to buy into a Franchise, rather than going it alone and setting up their own Letting Agency was the training and support offered by franchisors.
When asked about the training and support he and his wife received from Redstones, Dean was keen to highlight “From the initial 2 week Training Course at Head Office, the 3 day Business Development Course, and the continual support offered up to Launch and thereafter, Redstones have been there every step of the way with endless enthusiasm.”
Like any new business Dean and Sharon have had challenges to face, the biggest so far was studying for the NFOPP Technical Award in Residential Lettings and Property Management, which he is pleased to say he passed adding that “It was by no means easy, especially as the last time I studied for anything was over 15 years ago! Gaining this qualification allows our business to register with ARLA (The Association of Residential Letting Agents) and proudly display the logo, giving Landlords and Tenants the reassurance that we operate under a strict code of conduct.”
Dean’s Redstones franchise operation is due to launch the opening of their presence in Brentwood, Chelmsford and Billericay in May 2012. Dean is fired up at the prospect saying “There is a great deal of excitement and planning going on behind the scenes as we prepare for that day.”
Dean’s enthusiasm knows no bounds and he fully intends to grow the family run business to such an extent that they will become one of the most trustworthy and well respected Letting Agents throughout the three regions. They also have plans for further expansion into other local areas and the opening of more offices.
What would Dean’s advice be to anyone else thinking of buying a franchise?
“If you are relatively new to a particular industry and are not entirely confident in setting up and running your own business without support, then a Franchise is the perfect solution for you. As with all things in life, there are always pros and cons, so be sure to research the market thoroughly and look at a number of different options, choose the most suitable and go for it!”