City Spotlight: A Quick Guide to Franchising in Aberdeen

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Starting a business in Scotland? Venturing away from Edinburgh or Glasgow could have its benefits. In this guide, we’re exploring why setting up a franchise in Aberdeen offers a lucrative opportunity for business owners.


A city known for its connections to the oil and gas industry, Aberdeen has long since been a industrious city. Over the years, top talent in the natural resources sector have flocked to the city providing a pool of expert workers all operating in one place. So, what else makes Aberdeen a good place to base a business?

Here’s everything you need to know about setting up a franchise in this north-east Scotland city.

An overview of Aberdeen

Aberdeen has a total population over 225,000. The working age group - between 25 and 44 - is the largest. The city has the highest GVA per head ratio. 

Aberdeen is a highly productive city, but there are lots of other benefits to starting a business in the city. It has the highest average earnings in Scotland, meaning residents should have more disposable income to spend. It also has the best five-year survival rate, with 74 percent of new businesses surviving at least this long. 

Part of the reason why wages are high in Aberdeen is that the residents are highly educated. Lots of university graduates move to the city to make a living in the oil industry. Not only that, the city is home to two universities: The University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University. Both of these institutions are research focused, bringing innovation to the heart of the city’s industry. Businesses based in the city can benefit from talent from the universities, especially if they make ties with the institutions.

If you’re looking to bring talent to the city to work for you, then there are a number of attractive draws. It is located on the coast, meaning sandy beaches are within easy reach. You’ll also find a huge number of whisky distilleries, castles and golf courses to keep your employees and their families entertained. 

One downside of Aberdeen is that it is situated far away from other major UK cities. It takes over two and a half hours to drive to Edinburgh and Glasgow. However, if you can’t face the drive, then there are straight trains taking a similar journey time. With First Bus’s headquarters based in Aberdeen, you can expect the bus network to be reliable in the city. The airport is situated approximately five miles from the centre and it offers flights across the UK and to select European destinations including Amsterdam, Paris and Gdansk.

The oil industry has started to shrink in Aberdeen, but this has had a positive impact on other industries. The city now has a renewed business focus, and it is becoming a more inclusive place for companies to start up.

Another knock-on effect of the shrinking oil industry is that house prices in Aberdeen have declined. Last year, they fell by 5 percent and currently stand at just over £188,000. As a result, new business owners should find that buying or renting property in Aberdeen is relatively cheap compared to other major UK cities.



Running your own business in Aberdeen

Considering Aberdeen as your business’s base? Here are some of the sectors that are well established in the city:


  • Natural resources - We’ve already touched on the oil industry, but did you know that estimates suggest there are still 17 billion barrels of oil to be extracted in the North Sea. The sector may be shrinking, with oil prices dropping, but there is still work to be done here. But Aberdeen isn’t all about oil. A granite quarry is also nearby, making its resources industry unparalleled. With lots of businesses in the city now using their knowledge and experience to find new, renewable energy sources, the natural resources sector is far from over in Aberdeen. 

  • Research and development - With a dedicated energy and innovation business park situated near the airport, Aberdeen leads the charge in research and development. Aberdeen, as a whole, is in the top five cities for number of patents per 100,000 people. With innovation driving the city forward, new developments could continue to make it a popular place to live and work.

Franchising in Aberdeen

Aberdeen’s oil industry may be facing decline, but innovative companies based in the city are expected to help it grow once again. In the next few years, we could see more B2B businesses in demand as commerce picks up. As a new business owner, you could benefit from talent, low property prices and a great way of life among Scotland’s hills and wild coastline. 

That’s not all. A handful of organisations are dedicated to helping the city’s commerce grow by offering local and business advice. One of these is Business Gateway Aberdeen, which, as well as offering tailored advice, runs workshops for entrepreneurs to help them get their businesses off the ground. It might be worth attending these events to glean tips from those with experience in the area and to network with other business owners. 

The Point Franchise articles also offer helpful tips, specifically aimed at franchisees and franchisors. Browse the catalogue to discover current topics affecting the industry and other franchise owners, or use the search bar to find a specific topic.

If you’re already set on choosing Aberdeen for your business, why not get stuck in with searching for new opportunities. You can narrow businesses by location or sector, from food to home care to technology.

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