Sales of £175,000 in first five months for Dorset based Dream Doors franchisees.
Partners, Clive Coldwell and Angela Lowe, hold the record for the quickest showroom opening in Dream Doors' 12 year history. Completing their initial training course in the week before Christmas, they had opened the doors to their decor franchise showroom by the end of March.
“We couldn't have asked for a better, or a faster, launch to the business. Everything has worked out exactly how we wanted,” say Clive. “We're so busy dealing with customers at the moment. It has been back-to-back appointments for the last three months! Last week alone we sold three full kitchens, and our sales in June hit £65,000.”
It was after taking voluntary redundancy from the IT sector at the end of 2009 that Clive and Angela first decided to pursue their passion for home improvement. They began by fitting kitchens and bathrooms locally - building up a solid reputation that led to more and more work through recommendations - but soon realised that the hands-on aspects of their business didn't suit their long term aspirations.
“We'd both spent so many years working in a corporate environment, and in a variety of management positions, that the time was ripe for a change,” says Clive. “When redundancy packages were offered, we both jumped at the chance, and moving away from the desk and into property maintenance and kitchen fitting was really enjoyable to begin with. But in reality, I didn't want to spend every day for the next ten or twenty years with my head in a cupboard or under some floorboards. As soon as we started looking for management franchises in the home improvement sector, both Angela and I could see that the Dream Doors model is far better suited to our experience and abilities.”
Despite having extensive management experience, an area of particular concern for the couple was finding and converting customers. “Selling doesn't comes naturally to us, although we do get on well with people,” says Angela. “And while Troy and the team assured us that this isn't a hard sell – and he's right – Clive and I felt our skills better complement the organisational side of the business. So, when we went on a sales course at head office, we bought along an ex-colleague of ours, Colin. After two days of training, the course instructor said that if it was his business he would be using Colin as a salesman, so we've followed his advice and not looked back since!”
“Everything about this business is great,” she adds. “We are in a fantastic location just outside of Poole, in an area that is almost like a town centre but without the ridiculous rents. There are cars and people going by all day, every day.”
Enjoying such a busy start to their business hasn't been without its problems, though, as Clive explains: “We've got ten jobs to fit at the moment, and the challenge we have is whether to accelerate our business plan and take on full time fitters instead of relying on sub-contractors. That usually happens in years two and beyond, but we've only just opened! It's a good problem to have, as I'd rather that than sitting here twiddling my thumbs waiting for customers to come in through the door.”