Name: Adam Green
Time with LAR: Trained in December 2015, run the business part-time in January/February 2016, full-time as of March 2016
If you could sum up your experience with LAR in one sentence, what would it be?
I believe that I’ve found the perfect business model now, and I am genuinely excited for the future.
Do you feel you get the support you need to do well? What support aspects do you find most useful?
I am quite a self-sufficient type of person and like to learn as I go, however, it’s great to know that help is only a phone call or email away. The process is generally an easy one to follow and there is a handy step-by-step guide to follow for the early contracts. Head office will regularly check that everything looks as it should and provide feedback on anything that needs correcting.
With it being an Australian company, I was a little concerned that any queries would take a long time to be answered. That couldn’t be further from the truth, we have an office in London with contacts and admin support offered Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, and anything that can’t be answered by London is handled in Australia. My own experience of queries being answered in Australia has been great, as any emails I have sent have been responded to overnight and are waiting for me when I wake up – that works perfectly for me as I like to send any queries at the end of my working day.
Did the training provided leave you feeling confident and ready to get started?
Yes! The initial training is only two days, during which time you learn everything you need to know about contacting customers, writing and administering the contracts. Head office will then check the precision of your early contracts to check everything is correct. After the first couple of contracts your confidence, and speed, goes up rapidly anyway and it becomes second nature.
What is your experience of expected demand versus the actual demand?
The actual demand is massive … massive! From the outside I genuinely thought that there was demand there, but I would have to work hard against existing competitors (Bright House, My Perfect Home etc) to win contracts. Now being in the market I can see that it is vastly undersubscribed and the demand is huge.
Many customers in my experience do not trust the existing brands, do not think that they will be accepted by them, have not been reached by their marketing, or are not enticed by the products that they offer. We offer a mobile ‘we come to you’ service, offering them a friendly local point of contact with access to pretty much any brand-new appliance or product they can think of.
I feel at the minute as though I’ve only scratched the surface of the demand, and I’m already well ahead of my business plan!
Are you finding the level of arrears manageable?
Arrears are a fact of this business - they will happen, but they can also be managed. The best way to do this, in my opinion, is to manage your customers. Understand your customer, be sympathetic to their needs and short-term situations that arise for them, but also remain in contact with them so that if they are struggling then we know about it straight away and can put a plan in place. Any customer who misses a payment will be contacted straight away, in the majority of cases there is a genuine reason for the missed payment, but this process trains customers in to pre-empting the call and they will often contact us first.
We are always going to attract people who are dishonest and will try to get an item with no intentions of paying it back, however, that should not deter us as they will be a very small minority. Instead we should spend our time and energy working to develop the relationships with those customers who do pay, will take second and third contracts out as they need them, and those who refer good paying customers to us.
What is it that you like most about owning and running a LAR franchise?
Residual income. Having run a successful customer-based franchise for nearly 5 years prior to LAR, I was already well-equipped for the self-employed life. However, the main thing that I struggled with in the previous franchise was that no matter how good a month I had in terms of sales I knew that I would have to do it all, or more, again the following month. With a family to maintain I was always worried ‘what if I couldn’t work for a month, or longer?’ or ‘what if the work dries up for a month, or longer?’ With LAR I know that once contracts are agreed then money will be coming in for the next 2 years e.g. 50 contracts at £15 a week = £750 a week for 2 years even if I don’t write a single new contract. That is the type of freedom that I was looking for whilst still maintaining the self-employed benefits of working.
How easy is it to generate and write contracts? Do the marketing strategies work for you, and keep the enquiries coming in?
Marketing has been easier than I thought, to be honest. In my previous franchise a lot of the marketing was done for me so all I had to do was build the customer relationships. I have concentrated on 3 types of marketing so far with LAR, all with great success..
Leaflets – I paid for 5000 leaflets and decided to deliver them myself, just because then a) I could be sure that they had been delivered, and b) it’s good to get to know your area. I’ve actually only had time to deliver around half of those leaflets as enquiries came in from the very first few streets and have kept on coming.
Referrals – We offer a cash payment for any customer who refers friends/family/neighbours to us and that results in a contract. Some of my customers have referred multiple times, these referrals are usually great and have resulted in a big uplift in contracts written. I can see this stream being the biggest this future in terms of consolidating and building the portfolio growth,
Facebook – I’m not great with technology (says the man who is selling hundreds of electrical appliances!) but after a chat with the Australian marketing manager it became clear that Facebook could be a great and relatively low-cost lead generator. So my LAR Birkenhead Facebook page is controlled by head office in Australia, who set the weekly budget of £50 and then send an advert out on a Monday that then runs for roughly a week. This has been so successful that I’ve actually had to turn it off for a week to catch up with all the leads generated after only 2 weeks!
Would you recommend an LAR franchise to others, and your reason why (or why not)?
I would absolutely recommend LAR to others. After running a previous franchise for 5 years, and ultimately selling it for a nice profit, I believe it gave me a head start in looking for the ideal business model this time around. My search looked at hundreds of existing business and franchises, believe me when I say that nothing even comes close to LAR in terms of the return on investment. I believe that now is the perfect time to invest in this market, and LAR is the perfect partner.