World Options, which offers franchisees the chance to run their own shipping business by using their business support and software, has moved into its new HQ in Petre Court, Clayton-le-Moors, from Haslingden.
The firm has more than 100 franchise holders worldwide, with offices in Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and USA, has a turnover of over £25million and employs more than 30 people at the moment. They also handle around a million shipments per year.
But with a new office in Atlanta and a tie-in with logistics giant UPS, managing director Stewart Butler and finance director James Edwards are hoping to maintain their phenomenal rate of growth.
And Mr Butler, who has a background in shipping before creating the new firm 14 years ago, said they were hoping to grow with East Lancashire at its core after seeing a gap in the market.
He said: “We are effectively a buying group, we buy off the carriers such as UPS, DHL, FedEx and TNT wholesale and try and help offer affordable shipping solutions for small and medium-sized carriers.
“The problem of the small business is that they can’t have an assigned account manager, because it costs too much money. They don’t get the service they deserve.
“What we provide is an old-fashioned ‘white glove’ approach when we go in and find out what their needs are and provide a low-cost solution.
“Some firms will use multiple carriers for different customers, which means multiple payments, multiple invoices etc.
“With us all carriers are under one umbrella, one log-in, one account manager and we automate the whole process.
“Our growth has been quite phenomenal in the UK. We have had that as we nurture the client through face-to-face relationships.
“We train franchisees here, centrally, and then they go out and solicit local businesses.
“They get access to the portal and online systems, access to the rates and our admin services. We basically offer franchisees a business in a box. “They find customers and retain customers and we do the admin centrally.
“We see East Lancashire as the mothership and we can probably double the amount of people we employ in this new building. It’s one of the reasons we chose to relocate here.”
Franchisees pay £30,000 for the right to the franchise and a monthly software and admin fee, leaving the franchisees to concentrate on their customers as World Options staff take care of everything else.
And franchisees have a non-geographical area so they are able to find customers wherever they please, an approach quite unique in franchising.
Mr Edwards added: “The investment is significant and the type of people who are attracted to franchising are usually entrepreneurial people, who want to run their own successful business and franchising is one of those markets which has a 95 per cent success rate. So if people are looking to invest in a nice, safe nest egg thus is a good place to put the money.
“The franchisee is responsible for getting into the local community, networking and understanding how the local business use shipping.
“We are delighted to get into the new building. It’s a prestigious business park and it’s in a great location.
“We have been franchising for five-and-a-half years now and we have had more than 50 per cent growth year on year. In these austere times it’s incredible.
“But small businesses are looking to save money and streamline the business and give them a better service.”
Source: Lancashire Telegraph