BusinessesForSale: What makes Pitman Training an attractive franchise?
David Shimwell: Any successful franchise usually has a strong brand attached to it, and with Pitman training you get the benefit of a strong brand.
Also, any franchise that has the number of locations that we do – 100 – has also had the experience to adjust the business model to be more successful. So in summary, it’s a strong brand and a proven business franchise model.
Any franchise that has the number of locations has also had the experience to adjust the business model to be more successful
BFS: How long has the brand been around for?
DS: If you take it to its literal beginnings you’re actually going all the way back to 1839 – 169 years.
We’re not exactly the same company but effectively, if you were doing a ‘Who do you think you are?’ Pitman training would go back to 1839.
BFS: And how did it start out?
DS: It started off with shorthand. As soon as you mention Pitman to anybody, the people that the brand means something to would think of shorthand.
BFS: When was it first franchised?
DS: 15 years ago.
BFS: What does the franchisee get for their money?
DS: Access to our brand, marketing, sales technique – effectively our business system. We will train them on that system and support them on it, so they can go off and run a flexible learning, IT business and commerce training centre.
BFS: What sets it apart from similar franchises?
DS: There are a number of what I would call good franchises out there, and it’s a bit like saying what sets you apart from various restaurants – it depends what food you like and what you want.
But I think it’s down to that proven business system, which has been adapted over the years, and its support.
BFS: How much can they expect to make in a normal working week?
DS: I would say that is all dependent on their determination.
BFS: How many hours will a franchisee typically need to work?
DS: Anybody setting up what I would call a ‘business’, rather than a ‘job’ franchise, you’re going to be looking at 50 hours plus a week for the first year to 18 months.
BFS: Do franchisees tend to work evenings or weekends?
DS: Most of our locations are open a couple of nights a week and Saturday mornings.
Once they’ve got the business up to a certain level and they’re employing staff, then they might not have to work all those hours.
BFS: What would you look for in a franchisee?
DS: In approach and attitude you want someone who is fairly driven to be successful and competitive.
In ability we are looking for someone, because we have a premium product that comes with a relevant price tag, with sales ability.
Because the staff are an integral part of the business you also need to be able to manage and motivate staff.
BFS: Is any industry-specific experience required?
DS: They don’t need it.
I would almost say that to some extent you’d be better off not having that experience, because people that come from a training background are usually not very sales-orientated. It’s about selling.
BFS: How strictly do franchisees have to adhere to the Pitman Training franchise model?
DS: We have brand guidelines including how the product is delivered. We give them the freedom to be as entrepreneurial as they wish in their marketing and management. I always say you can have as much freedom as you want as long as you’re successful, but we have a business system that works so we try and keep people focused on that.