Tech service franchises exploit digital technologies that are reshaping society and the post-industrial economy.
Serving consumers, businesses or both, they operate in sectors like telecoms, broadband services, computer repair and mobile gaming and apps.
- The UK tech sector is growing more than 2.5 times faster than the overall economy with London ranked the world’s second most connected place for tech
- Worth nearly £184bn, the sector grew by more than 8% in value and 4.5% in turnover between 2016-2017
- The UK ranks third globally for capital invested in digital tech, behind the US and China
- Technical expertise is rarely essential, while franchisees can often be home based and carry little or no stock
As of 2018, the world’s six biggest companies by market value all operate in the digital – or ‘tech’ – space. And from BT Local Business to a specialist in repairing Apple devices, tech service franchisees trade under, or sell products from, some of the world’s most recognised brands.
The burgeoning internet of things (IoT), where everyday objects connect to the internet, is one likely source of new revenue opportunities in the coming years.
This goes beyond Fitbits and smart TVs; IoT devices could have transformative impacts in healthcare, education and other fields. Self-driving cars could also be among the most game-changing ‘connected’ things of all.
Is a tech service franchise for me?
Franchisees don’t usually need technical expertise because they can employ skilled programmers or technicians to deliver cutting-edge services.
That said, franchisees of Eazi-apps can actually build smartphone apps themselves without possessing coding skills.
More likely, however, your role will focus on finding and retaining customers. Therefore more general business skills are required: in sales and marketing, customer service, recruitment, people management and so on.
The structure of tech service franchises
The nature of modern computing – being software or cloud-based – is such that franchisees tend to require little or no stock, hardware, or sometimes, premises. Add this to the boom in digital services and you have a low overhead, high growth sector.
Short of raising millions through venture capital, finding a way into these markets is fiendishly difficult for the entrepreneur of modest means. Providing you convince a franchisor you have what it takes, a franchise offers a sure-fire pathway – and a proven formula.
And the exponential growth in processing power and emerging paradigms like artificial intelligence are accelerating innovation – to which many franchises have the pedigree and financial muscle to contribute.
What tech franchises are out there?
Eazi-Apps franchisees use an intuitive ‘drag and drop’ platform to build apps without coding skills.
One franchisee calls it “very easy to use and I can build an app in less than two hours.”
BT Local Business franchisees, which help businesses optimise their use of BT services, trade under one of the UK’s most recognised brands. They have exclusive access to a customer base within their territory, spanning small high street businesses and mid-sized organisations.
Candidates must show an aptitude for setting up a limited company, developing and executing business plans, recruitment and developing a team, sales and customer service.
Project M Studio, the London-based franchisor, wants to emulate the phenomenal global success of games like Angry Birds and Candy Crush. Reaching third place in UK App Store downloads, 2016’s fastest selling franchise made a promising start.
Telcoinabox claims to have revolutionised the UK and Australian telecoms industries.
Franchisees, who needn’t need telecoms experience, can choose their own hours and work from home.
Techclean provides specialist cleaning solutions for PCs, laptops, printers, ATMs and other system peripherals. Other revenue streams include computer/data room cleaning and a confidential asset register service.
All franchisees need is ‘office space’, a small area for stock and supplies, a PC and business landline – potentially all within their home. Candidates must have an aptitude for sales and marketing.
You could choose to work from home and handle technical work yourself, oversee a service centre and its technical staff or run a full managed services business.