If you’re interested in becoming an optician, why not invest with an optical franchise and start a lucrative new career? With minimal risk and regular demand to depend on, you’ll be a successful optician in no time. Here’s everything you need to know about franchising in the eyewear and care industry.
Fifty-nine of UK people wear glasses [Statista], and all of these people need to get their glasses from somewhere, and get their eyes checked regularly to ensure their prescription is correct. This means that the optical industry enjoys built-in and largely recession-proof demand, with glasses being a necessity for most wearers. If you made a career change with an optician franchise, you could enjoy being a business owner in a steady industry, at a lower level of risk.
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What does an optician do?
So, what does an optician do, exactly? An optician is responsible for fitting glasses and contact lenses, working from a prescription which has been written by an ophthalmologist (the person who conducts the eye test). Common day-to-day tasks that you’ll be required to undertake as an optician include:
- Meeting customers
- Responding to enquiries
- Calculating vision distances and angles
- Providing advice and information on products
- Measuring for spectacles or contact lenses
- Helping people to choose the right options for them
- Communicating and negotiating with suppliers
- Choosing and ordering products
- Checking stock quality
There are many advantages to a career as an optician, not least the steady demand you’ve already discovered. You’ll also enjoy being your own boss and having a far-reaching positive impact on the lives of your customers, while also being fully supported and trained by your franchisor.
How to start an optical franchise
With an understanding of what you’ll be doing as an optician within the franchise business model, it’s time to look into how to start that franchise. What steps do you need to take, and what bases do you need to cover in order to be successful in your new career? Here are the three most important things you need to do...
1. Assess your skills
As a franchisee, you’ll have access to comprehensive expert training and support. As a result, you won’t need a background in the optical industry for most of the investment opportunities that you come across. That being said, there are certain transferable skills that will help you to stand out from the competition and find success in the industry. Check in with yourself and make sure that you are:
- Able to provide great customer service
- Able to communicate effectively
- Able to work well with others
- Mathematically competent
- Attentive to detail
- Able to sell and negotiate
- Technologically competent
2. Complete industry research
Finding your fit in the industry should be your next step, and the best way to do that is via conducting extensive research. Understand the different roles available in the sector, and the different kinds of franchise opportunities out there, and figure out which opportunities are most appealing to you. Also consider the current market and the latest trends, as an awareness of these will serve you well once you’re in business. Here are a few of the latest trends to get you started:
- Cat-eye glasses
- Clear glasses/nude glasses
- Oversized glasses chains
- 70s oversized square glasses
- Round glasses
3. Head into your investment with your eyes wide open
The final crucial step you’ll need to take will come into play once you’ve narrowed things down and found an opportunity that really appeals to you. At this stage, before you sign a franchise agreement and get into business with a company, you’ll need to ensure that you’ve done your due diligence and know exactly what you’re investing in. Run through a checklist of bases to cover, and make sure you know:
- The franchise’s fully disclosed financial situation
- How long it will be until you’re able to recoup your initial investment
- Everything about the franchise, from brand strength to the franchisor’s track record
- Exactly what training and support you’ll be given as a franchisee
Franchise opportunities in the optical industry
With an understanding of exactly how to become an optician in a franchise network, and a better sense of whether this would be a good investment decision for you, it’s time to look into the available franchise opportunities out there. Here are a couple of examples of investments you could make in the optical industry...
Leightons is one of the leading optical franchises in London. The original business was founded in 1928, but it wasn't until 1997 that it adopted the franchise model and began to expand its network of opticians across the UK.
- Becoming a Leightons franchisee: You don’t need industry experience, but you will need to be committed to growing a successful business and positively representing the Leightons name.
- How much you need to invest: You'll need to make a minimum initial investment of £135,000, with franchise fees of £20,000.
- What you get for your investment: You’ll receive a comprehensive training programme (covering sales, marketing, employee techniques and much more) and ongoing franchisor support.
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Founded by John Boot in 1849, Boots is one of the most recognisable brands in the country, and Boots Opticians is the largest retail optical franchise in the UK. This well-known company continues to look for new franchisees across the country.
- Becoming a Boots franchisee: You’ll need clinical and entrepreneurial skills, along with plenty of passion and willingness to share your expertise with your local community.
- How much you need to invest: You'll need to make a minimum initial investment of £20,000, with a total investment cost of £160,000.
- What you get for your investment: You’ll be helped with drafting a business plan, acquiring a property, fitting it out and selecting products. You’ll receive intensive training and all the ongoing support you need.
Running a franchise as an eye doctor requires plenty of vision
Continue your journey into the world of franchising on Point Franchise. Stay up to date on all the latest news, and discover useful advice for franchisees that covers everything from essential marketing strategies to stress management techniques.
Lily Sweeney, Point Franchise ©