Dog care franchise celebrates

April 30, 2018

Barking Mad Dog Care named its 2018 Franchisee of the Year at its 15th National Conference.

The franchised service, which provides ‘bespoke holidays’ for dogs while their owners are away, celebrated  at the Low Wood Bay Resort in the Lake District, focusing on the people who make their brand a success. The event, led by managing director Lee Dancy, was a thank you for the hard work from more than 75 branches across the UK and marked 18 years in business.

Barking Mad was founded by Lee in 2000 and the two-day conference has been held each year in the Lakes since the business became a franchisor accredited by the British Franchise Association.

Related: Independent pet businesses nominated for national business award

“Our 15th conference is a proud celebration for Barking Mad and a lot of fun, too,” Lee said. “We love what we do and are privileged to work with such talented, hard-working people who have made us the UK’s brand leader.

“We were thrilled to present our Franchisee of the Year Award to John and Elaine Warburton, of Barking Mad Fife and Kinross. Our 2018 conference theme was ‘Together Towards Tomorrow’ and I believe that John and Elaine operate with this vision at the very core of all they do. Their relationship with customers and in particular their hosts, is exemplary and as a result they benefit from the financial rewards those relationships bring.”

The dog holiday specialist welcomed guest speaker Peter Gorbing, CEO of Dogs for Good, Barking Mad’s chosen charity for 2018. After huge fundraising efforts to support the charity’s life-changing and inspirational work, the franchise network was delighted to learn that more than £6,000 had been raised, enough for the sponsorship of Prince, a new puppy in training.

Source: Pet Business World

Xponential Fitness to begin international expansion in the UK

April 30, 2018

US-based Xponential Fitness has revealed plans to take its portfolio of brands global through a master franchise strategy.

The company currently owns a number of franchised boutique brands, including Club Pilates, indoor cycling concept CycleBar”>CycleBar, indoor rowing business Row House and StretchLab, which offers personalised stretching services.

Xponential will kick off its global expansion in the UK this year, following a master franchise agreement with entrepreneur Oliver Chipp.

Chipp expects to open at least 30 CycleBar studios in UK over the next five years, with the first studio set to open in London by June 2018.

Xponential Fitness is led by a team of industry veterans who have experience of building fitness brands internationally.

Related: Fitness Franchises – Should You Buy a UK Fitness Franchise?

CEO Anthony Geisler developed LA Boxing into a successful boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts fitness concept, before selling it on.

John Kersh – who helped grow Anytime Fitness into a global business – has also joined the team as chief international development officer.

“What we’re creating at Xponential Fitness hasn’t been done before and there’s enormous consumer interest in boutique fitness across the globe that we intend to capitalise on,” said Kersh.

“We are launching our international expansion by bringing the CycleBar brand to the United Kingdom through a master franchise agreement and expect the UK to be the first of many successful international markets for Xponential Fitness.”

Xponential is backed by financial partner TPG Growth, a growth equity platform of alternative asset firm TPG.

Geisler said his long-term plan is to house the “best brands” in every vertical of the boutique fitness industry and cement continued growth both domestically and internationally for each concept.

“With our experienced corporate team helping master franchisees replicate our proven U.S. systems abroad, we offer international entrepreneurs the chance to successfully develop some of America’s hottest boutique fitness concepts all over the globe,” he said.

Source; Leisure Opportunities

UK economy sees weakest quarterly growth since 2012

April 29, 2018

The British economy grew at its slowest pace for more than five years in the first quarter, as it was hit by a significant drop in construction work and sluggish manufacturing activity.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.1% in its initial estimate for January to March.

It was the weakest quarterly growth since the fourth quarter of 2012 and worse than experts had predicted.

Economists had expected a slowdown to 0.3%.

While many thought the so-called Beast from the East would have hit Britain’s economy hardest, official figures showed that recent snowfalls had a relatively small effect on growth.

ONS spokesman Rob Kent-Smith, however, said the “overall effect was limited, with the bad weather actually boosting energy supplies and online sales.”

Nonetheless, the Chancellor of the Exchequer highlighted the “exceptional” weather as a reason for the poor performance.

Philip Hammond says the weather was to blame – but the ONS disagrees. Credit: PA

In a statement, Philip Hammond said: “Today’s data reflects some impact from the exceptional weather that we experienced last month, but our economy is strong and we have made significant progress.

“Our economy has grown every year since 2010 and is set to keep growing, unemployment is at a 40 year low, and wages are increasing as we build a stronger, fairer economy that works for everyone. We are committed to locking in a bright future and better quality of life for everyone which is why we are investing in our people, building new infrastructure, and supporting our vital public services.”

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss denied that Brexit was a factor in the slowdown.

She said although the vote had caused “uncertainty” for business, evidence showed it was now reducing.

Challenged by ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener over the Government’s poor record, she insisted the UK was still recovering from the 2008 crash.

“I think there have been people holding back from investment who are now investing,” she said.

“We will see the result of that investment coming through.”

The pound tanked against the dollar following the news of the growth figures, falling 0.7% to 1.38 US dollars.

Against the euro, sterling was down 0.3% at 1.14 euros.

Construction was the biggest drag on GDP, having experienced its most dramatic fall since the second quarter of 2012 – dropping 3.3% over the first three months of the year.

Visa consumer spending report
Visa consumer spending report

Manufacturing growth slowed to 0.2%, though that was partially offset by a rise in energy production due to colder weather.

The UK’s powerhouse services sector – which accounts for around 79% of the economy – was the biggest supporter of GDP growth in the first quarter, having increased by 0.3%.

However, the longer term trends point to weakening of service sector growth.

It comes amid a squeeze on consumer finances from higher inflation, triggered by the Brexit-induced collapse in the pound, and slow wage growth.

The UK economy is still struggling to bounce back to levels seen in the final quarter of 2016 when GDP rose by 0.6%.

The economic slowdown is likely to play a part in determining the course for interest rates this year.

Rate-setters will also have to consider recent easing in inflation rates, with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of inflation having dropped back from 2.7% to 2.5% in March – marking a one-year low.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has already warned markets that a rate rise in May is not a certainty.

Source: iTV

Rail franchising is ‘broken’ say MPs

April 29, 2018

MPs have lambasted the Department for Transport (DfT) as “completely inadequate” in its handling of two key rail franchises.

The cross-party Public Accounts Committee has expressed “deep concern” about the way the UK’s busiest franchise, covering Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and the Gatwick Express, has been managed.

Passengers “have suffered an appalling level of delays and cancellations since the franchise started in 2014,” say the MPs. At one point, fewer than two-thirds of trains arrived on time.

“This totally unacceptable state of affairs which caused misery for passengers was due to a catalogue of failures by the Department, Network Rail and the operator, Govia Thameslink,” says the report, Rail franchising in the UK.

The DfT is slammed for being overambitious in its plans, for overlooking the poor state of rail network infrastructure, and for neglecting to engage with rail unions.

The role of guards on Southern has been the subject of a bitter industrial dispute for two years. During that time, commuters using the network serving south London, Surrey and Sussex have endured severe disruption.

Although the train drivers’ union, Aslef, has settled with Govia Thameslink, the RMT union has not.

“The Department failed to see, or chose not to see, the perfect storm of an ambitious upgrade programme coupled with plans to increase driver controlled operation of trains,” the MPs conclude.

“Whilst the Department seeks to heap blame on the unions, it must acknowledge that its own decisions and lack of constructive engagement have played a large part in the dismal service for passengers.”

The chair of the committee, Labour’s Meg Hillier, said: “The operation of the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise has been a multi-faceted shambles causing untold misery for passengers.”

The committee also investigated the third failure of a franchise on the East Coast main line, Britain’s flagship rail route, connecting London King’s Cross with Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

In 2015 it was taken over by Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC), 90 per cent owned by Stagecoach. The firm has lost £200m on the franchise, about one-fifth of the value of the entire group.

In February, the Transport Secretary announced the end of the VTEC franchise, saying it was likely to fail within “a very small number of months”. The franchise was intended to last until March 2023.

It follows the collapse in 2007 of GNER, part of the Sea Containers conglomerate. That franchise was taken over by National Express, which itself handed back the keys in 2009.

Ms Hillier said: “The East Coast franchise has failed for a third time because of wildly inaccurate passenger growth forecasts.

“The franchising model is broken and passengers are paying the price. If taxpayers are to have any faith in government’s ability to deliver an effective passenger rail network then it must conduct and act on a thorough review before any further franchises are awarded.

“At its heart should be new measures to embed the protection of passengers’ interests at a contractual level – and to ensure taxpayers’ interests are properly protected should franchisee performance break down.”

But the DfT described the report as ”imbalanced”, saying the committee had failed to challenge inaccurate claims from the RMT – and to grasp the complexity of the situation.

A DfT spokesperson said: “The Department expressly created the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise to deliver the Thameslink Programme – a once-in-a-generation infrastructure upgrade to revolutionise north-south journeys through London for millions of passengers. New Thameslink trains are already in service and are transforming performance for customers.

“The delay and disruption Southern passengers experienced due to strike action in 2016 was unacceptable, but services have improved dramatically and a brand-new programme will begin next month bringing further improvements to their journeys.

“Our franchising model already puts passengers and taxpayers first and has doubled the number of passengers using trains since privatisation. It has reversed decades of decline and underinvestment under British Rail.”

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said: “As part of our plan for a changing and improving railway, we’ve already begun sharing our initial thinking with government on how the contracting of services can evolve to deliver more.

“It would be wrong for the industry to sit in a room by itself and decide what these reforms should be, so we are engaging with groups representing those who rely on the railway every day.”

The Public Accounts Committee has seven Conservative and seven Labour members, and one representative from each of the Liberal Democrats and the SNP.

Source:  Independent

Newest Cash Generator franchise on Dalry Road

April 28, 2018

Ghulam Ahmed recently invested in two stores, one on Dalry Road and another in Kirkcaldy to introduce the business Cash Generator to those who may need its services.

You can buy and sell second hand items, including gold and jewellery at a Cash Generator store. There are also new items on sale.

Graeme McKinnon, Managing Director at Cash Generator said: ““This is an exciting time for Cash Generator as we re-enter the franchise market and we’re thrilled to welcome Ghulam as our latest franchisee in Scotland. 

“Ghulam is a hugely ambitious entrepreneur and has chosen the right franchise in Cash Generator as we offer a unique opportunity to lovers of a great deal and represent a potentially high profit, long term business opportunity. We really do have a very simple business model – our franchisees buy then sell pre-owned items offering sellers superfast cash.

“We take a flexible approach and are proud to support the entrepreneurial spirit of our franchisees. Ghulam has joined an established network of franchisees and we look forward to working with him as our latest franchisee.”

The business is now a wholly franchise-focused business and Ghulam recently trained in the franchisee recruitment programme to ensure that he knows everything he needs to know about running the stores. Cash Generator believe this is a recession proof model and are highlighting it during Scottish Franchise Week. They have taken a stand at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow at the British Franchise Association’s (BFA) Scottish Exhibition.

Graeme McKinnon, Managing Director at Cash Generator said: ““This is an exciting time for Cash Generator as we re-enter the franchise market and we’re thrilled to welcome Ghulam as our latest franchisee in Scotland. 

“Ghulam is a hugely ambitious entrepreneur and has chosen the right franchise in Cash Generator as we offer a unique opportunity to lovers of a great deal and represent a potentially high profit, long term business opportunity. We really do have a very simple business model – our franchisees buy then sell pre-owned items offering sellers superfast cash.

“We take a flexible approach and are proud to support the entrepreneurial spirit of our franchisees. Ghulam has joined an established network of franchisees and we look forward to working with him as our latest franchisee.”

Ghulam said: “This is a fantastic opportunity and a really exciting time to get involved at Cash Generator. I looked at other franchising opportunities but Cash Generator was the only one that stood out as a recession proof business model that will stand up to these challenging economic times.

“I have experience running my own businesses and started my first company aged twenty four so I have always seen myself as an entrepreneur and I am really encouraged by the flexible approach of Cash Generator.

“It will be a challenge to take on two stores but the franchise recruitment team at Cash Generator has a fantastic training programme in place which has helped me to understand how the business works. There is always someone to offer help, support and advice whenever you need it.”

Source: The Edinburgh Reporter

Karina Jadhav To Give Keynote Presentation At The Northern Franchise Exhibition

April 28, 2018

Successful local entrepreneur to inspire those aiming to be their own boss at The Northern Franchise Exhibition on Friday 22 June at EventCity, Manchester.

Ambitions of business ownership and growth can be pursued at this popular event offering the opportunity to explore a wide spectrum of franchise opportunities, as well as a bounty of expert advice.

Karina Jadhav’s presentation on Friday 22 June will be a stand-out feature of the Growing Your Own Business conference. Co-located with the exhibition, the conference has a focus on business development and success, bringing audiences a combination of practical advice and motivation.

Karina is an independent female restaurant operator and owner, and she was voted Entrepreneur of the Year at the Manchester Downtown Women in Business Awards 2015.

She founded her current concept, Menagerie Restaurant & Bar, Manchester in August 2016 and is the former co-founder and creator of Neighbourhood, Victors Hale and Southern Eleven.

Having done extensive research into the latest dining trends and successes across Europe and the USA, Karina’s latest venture, Menagerie, boldly brings together gastronomy, art and performance to create a truly immersive dining experience for its guests.

In her keynote, ‘Causing a stir: standing out in a crowded industry’, Karina will discuss how she carved her own path in a male-dominated industry and turned her differences into her strengths. She’ll share the influences she took from forward thinkers from different industries and her “female” approach to management.

Karina comments: “I firmly believe that if you combine ambition with a rigorously researched concept and a robust business model, then you are on the path to business success. Franchising offers entrepreneurs an already proven concept and established business model ‘out of the box’. I look forward to inspiring my audience to channel their ambition and to pursue the business that is right for them.”

Karina’s presentation forms part of a comprehensive programme of 40 seminars, workshops and one-to-one consultations hosted within The Northern Franchise Exhibition. The two-day event taking place on 22 & 23 June boasts franchise opportunities across all investment levels and sectors.

Every brand exhibiting has been assessed and accredited by the British Franchise Association (bfa) and names include: Fitness Space, Expense Reduction Analysts, Little Dessert Shop, Merry Maids and Tutor Doctor.

The Northern Franchise Exhibition provides entrepreneurs with the perfect opportunity to access expert industry advice, and to perform essential research into franchising, all under one roof.

Performance of new South Western Railway franchise to be reviewed

April 27, 2018

MP Bob Seely has welcomed an independent review into the performance of the new South Western Railway franchise which runs the Island Line.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has ordered the investigation following concerns about SWR’s capability since taking over and also that of Network Rail.

Addressing causes of poor performance
Although significant delays have been caused by Network Rail and not SWR, the minister said SWR is required to invest additional sums into initiatives to address the causes of the poor performance.

Bob said,

“This is a welcome review very much making it clear the Government continues to monitor operating companies’ performance and want to ensure passengers get the service they pay for.

“Islanders and tourists need to know they can get to us either to work or visit and the service needs to be reliable. There have been problems and the causes must be effectively addressed by SWR and Network Rail. I look forward to seeing the findings of the review.”

The review will be independently chaired by Sir Michael Holden, who has over 40 years’ experience in railway operations, and will be completed this summer.

Source: On the Wight

Meet the 19 UK franchisees competing for 2018 bfa Franchisee of the Year Awards

April 27, 2018

Take inspiration from the UK franchisees who have just been shortlisted by the British Franchise Association (bfa) in recognition of their outstanding business success.

Named as finalists for the 2018 bfa HSBC Franchisee of the Year Award, entrepreneurs feature from a cross-sector of industries and franchises up and down the country such as Right at Home, Little Kickers, ActionCOACH, Razzamataz, and Sandler Training.

Running for almost 30 years and established by industry body the bfa, the Awards seek to “highlight the outstanding business acumen, passion and achievement of individuals and businesses” operating in the £15bn+ UK franchise sector.

Three of the 17 finalists are in the running to win the Young Franchisee of the Year title; an accolade awarded to franchisees aged 30 and under who have established a profitable franchise and achieved success beyond their years.

One of these finalists is Almas Adam of Right at Home. Adam, 27, has run his Loughton homecare business for three years, employing 40 people who provide quality care for 60 clients.

Within his first year, Right at Home Loughton was awarded the Right at Home ‘Right Start’ Award for having the best start among Right at Home franchisees who began in the same year. And in 2017, Almas was a finalist in the innovation category at the national British Care Awards.

Right at Home has commented that Adam being shortlisted by the bfa shows he “has come a long way from the nervous teenager who was crippled by shyness; and his success to date has opened the door to far greater business ambition – a fantastic example of franchising empowering young people to reach their true potential.”

Meet the 19 UK franchisees shortlisted for the Awards:

Customer Focus Franchisee of the Year

  • Molly Maid – Julie Ward & Allison Bayes (Braintree)
  • Right at Home – Andrew Davis (Bournemouth & Poole)
  • Minster Cleaning Services – James Lofthouse (North & South Sheffield)
  • Dyno – RJ, NP, DJ Illingworth – Machmade Ltd (Greater Merseyside)

Young Franchisee of the Year

  • Right at Home – Almas Adam (Loughton)
  • Little Kickers – Emma Ogden (South East Leicester & Northants)
  • Razzamataz Theatre Schools – Helen Bell (Sheffield)

Lifestyle Franchisee of the Year

  • Razzamataz Theatre Schools – Hayley Limpkin (Medway)
  • ActionCOACH – Lucy Cameron (South East)
  • The Christmas Decorators – Louise Walsh (Birmingham)

Multi-unit Award

  • Costa – Diljit Brar (Goldex Investments Group Ltd)
  • Pirtek – Jason Woods (Worcester, Gloucester, Kidderminster, Swansea & Cardiff)
  • Autosmart – Lee Atkins (Coventry, Rugby & Solihull)

Network Contribution Award

  • InXpress – Neil Hatt (South Birmingham)
  • Sandler Training – Andy McCreadie (South West)
  • Electric – Jeff Longley (North Birmingham)

The franchisees will now go on to be judged by a panel which includes Pip Wilkins QFP, chief executive of the bfa, among others, with the winners announced at an awards ceremony at the ICC Birmingham on June 28.

Wikins said:

“Our annual awards are growing more popular than ever. I would like to thank everyone who entered as the commitment, passion and effort is apparent in every application.

“Congratulations to all our finalists, as we know that a lot of hard work goes in to the applications and presentations, and they have done an incredible job to achieve the shortlist. ”

Source: Start-Ups

Turnover milestone smashed at JCB franchise

April 26, 2018

Turnover at one of the largest JCB sole franchises in the world, which is headquartered in Leicestershire, has smashed through the £100m barrier, according to new results.

Hajco 199, which trades as Watling JCB, has reported a turnover of £119m for the year to 31 December 2017, up from £90.7m in the prior 12 months.

Pre-tax profit also more than doubled, rising from £2m to £4.2m over the same period.

The company, which is headquartered in Whetstone, also has sites in Kidlington near Oxford, Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire, Peterborough and Wymondham in Norfolk.

A statement signed off by the board said: “A positive year with significant increases in turnover and profitability resulting from long-term strategic planning and improvement.

“Brexit continued to positively influence our competitiveness and opportunities in overseas markets.

“The continued focus on recruitment, training and retention played a significant factor in the results of the company.”

Source: Insider Media

Franchise Brands hails “record” start to the year

April 26, 2018

Kidderminster-headquartered Franchise Brands has revealed that its trading over the first three months of the year has been ahead of expectations.

The listed company has added that the number of jobs completed by Metro Rod and Metro Plumb was up by 16 per cent year-on-year to record levels.

The trading update to 31 March comes after the business revealed last month that its revenues for the year to 31 December 2017 increased to £24.3m compared to £4.9m 12 months earlier while pre-tax profits also rose to £2.1m from £1.2m.

Executive chairman Stephen Hemsley said: “Group trading in the three months to 31 March 2018 has been marginally ahead of management’s expectations.

“In particular, the number of jobs completed by Metro Rod and Metro Plumb was up by 16 per cent year-on-year to record levels, although the average order size was slightly lower due to the heavy rain and snow resulting in more lower value emergency plumbing and drainage jobs.

“Costs were well-controlled with the headcount at Metro Rod falling by 16 per cent year-on-year, as the benefits of the IT investment in that business start to become apparent.

“The board looks forward to the remainder of the year with confidence.”

Source: Insider Media