Mike Woods on his reasons for buying a franchise...
"The reason I went with a franchise, rather than doing an independent was for the back up and the help that I would receive from a franchise. The franchise itself do give you a lot of help initially and the you've got the ongoing help on top of that."
"Whereas if I was doing this myself, not only is it going to cost me more because every mistake I make I'm going to have to pay for, and there are a lot of legal requirements that are covered by the franchise.
"Finding different supplies, that sort of thing, again, covered by the franchise, plus there was the franchise set-up, a four-week set up which helped me prospect new customers - everything like that, and that was invaluable really."
On due diligence and financing...
I did a hell of a lot of research before I took this out, I read through the franchise agreement, made sure there was nothing in there that would hinder me, I just covered my own back more than anything. The buying process was pretty straightforward, the initial deposit to say that I was interested, that I was going to do it.
There was finance available if I needed it, but I paid for everything myself through redundancy from the armed forces.
The finance: it wasn't cheap, but I took voluntary redundancy from the army, so that pretty much paved the way for me to set this up, which was good, but there was finance available if I needed it, but I paid for everything myself through redundancy from the armed forces.
On how to choose the right franchise...
"Research. There are a lot of companies out there, a lot that promise the world, but when you look into it properly and take the blinkers off, it isn't as good as it first sounds. If they’re willing to let you come along and experience it then take it.
"I did it for a week at the head office in Coventry, they showed me everything, they didn't hold back or lie to me, they've not said you're going to be a millionaire in two years, they were realistic. I also got to speak with other franchisees.
"At the time, there was only one franchisee. When I saw that, I was quite concerned, because there were other franchises out there that had 40 or 50 franchisees, but it's quite a new set up.
"It is similar to some of the others, but basically what they've done is iron out some of the flaws of the other ones."