The thought of running your own business probably brings to mind images of toiling away at a desk, perhaps making phone calls and dashing out to the odd meeting. But becoming a franchisee doesn’t have to be like this. There are plenty of outdoor franchises offering the chance to start a ‘non-office business’ far away from a desk and computer.
If you love the great outdoors, it’s worth looking into the outdoor franchises allowing budding business owners to combine entrepreneurship and fresh air. Keep reading to find out more.
Why start an outdoor business?
Outdoor businesses offer the chance to do more exercise and build muscle, and, if you run a non-office business, you’re more likely to get more fresh air and vitamin D.
Spending time outside can also have a positive impact on your mental health. According to scientific studies, it can reduce stress and pain, and improve creativity, mood and memory.
What’s more, running an outdoor franchise is rarely boring; you can see new sights, meet new people and get stuck in to different tasks on a daily basis.
Study after study shows that not only does being outside in nature improve our mental and physical wellbeing, it improves memory and focus, reduces mental fatigue and increases creativity. It helps us do our jobs better.
—Leigh Stringer, Slate
Top sectors for outdoor franchises
We’ll highlight some of the best outdoor franchises further down, but here are the sectors you could explore if you’re keen to start running your own non-office business:
Gardening - Brits love a beautiful, well-kept garden, but many don’t have the time, energy or know-how to create one themselves. More than 300,000 people are employed in the garden sector, so it’s got plenty of potential for those who want to help people upgrade their outdoor spaces.
Mobile / van-based - Operating a mobile business provides the flexibility to work around your existing commitments - and it makes great sense if you already own a van. The sector is huge and includes everything from car repair franchises to mobile coffee shops.
Sports and exercise - As people increasingly prioritise their physical and mental health, more and more exercise-related franchises are popping up. Delivering walking sessions, fitness classes or children’s sports lessons gives you the chance to improve your own wellbeing and support others.
Dog walking - There are 8.5 million dogs in the UK and owners spend over £1.5 billion on walking services each year. Joining this niche sector will allow you to get fresh air while spending time with adorable companions.
Window cleaning - If you want to combine flexible working patterns with lots of fresh air and you've got a head for heights, you could start a window cleaning business. You’ll be able to choose whether to work in residential areas or take on a bigger challenge with large commercial premises.
Outdoor franchise options
If you’d like to help homeowners in your local area keep their lawns healthy and vibrant, Greensleeves can support you as you launch a business. It has over two decades of experience and expertise.
- Becoming a Greensleeves franchisee: As a franchisee, you’ll analyse your customers’ lawns and work out how to improve or maintain them. For each client, you’ll deliver advice and treatment, and visit at least five times a year to make sure the lawn stays in tip-top condition. You don’t need a background in lawn care or business management to get started.
- How much you need to invest: The Greensleeves franchise package starts at £26,950.
- What you get for your investment: Greensleeves offers a high-quality package with an exclusive territory, start-up equipment and marketing support. Plus, you can expand your operations and develop a multi-van business as your customer base grows.
>> Read more:
- Franchising 101: The Official Franchise Start Up Checklist (Part 1)
- Franchising 101: The Official Franchise Start Up Checklist (Part 2)
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WALX is a community-focused walking group for people who want to socialise and get a bit of fresh air. This franchise offers more than the average exercise club; it’s professionally designed around different routes and takes into account customers’ fitness levels and goals.
- Becoming a WALX franchisee: When you first set up your business, you can choose to have a more hands-on role, leading the walking sessions yourself. But as you gain more members and your business grows, you may want to take on a managerial position and delegate responsibilities.
- How much you need to invest: The minimum investment is £9,995.
- What you get for your investment: You can expect to benefit from extensive training, tried and tested marketing strategies, online management and booking systems and ongoing support.
>> Read more:
3. Coffee Blue
Coffee Blue is the UK’s leading mobile coffee van franchise, selling “barista-quality hot drinks” and delicious food, which it takes to workplaces, events and festivals across the country.
- Becoming a Coffee Blue franchisee: When you join the franchise, you’ll run your unit from a converted Ford Transit Custom. You’ll benefit from higher reliability and lower ongoing costs than any other mobile coffee business.
- How much you need to invest: Coffee Blue has two different franchise packages; the Bean-To-Cup with an investment of around £37,990, and the Barista, which costs roughly £49,990. You can find out more on its profile page.
- What you get for your investment: You’ll get master barista training and ongoing support, as well as equipment warranties, NCASS membership and marketing and social media support.
Dogknows is one of the first professional dog-walking businesses to incorporate pet training into all its outings. The franchise helps carers support their dogs by giving them practical skills, underpinned by scientific findings.
- Becoming a Dogknows franchisee: If you want to join the franchise, you should be organised and trustworthy. You’ll also need to be prepared to work in all weathers and be happy to take dogs out for their walks, rain or shine.
- How much you need to invest: You’ll need to make a total investment of £15,000 to set up a Dogknows franchise unit.
- What you get for your investment: New franchisees take part in an initial 10-day training course, including five days of coaching at the Dogknows Training Centre. You’ll also get your own webpage on the Dogknows franchise site and access to ongoing mentoring.
Find more outdoor franchise opportunities
We’ve highlighted just four high-quality franchise opportunities available for entrepreneurs who would like to spend more time in the great outdoors - but there are plenty more out there. By focussing on the sectors with a high proportion of ‘non-office businesses’, you can find other fantastic investment options. Just use the menu to get started.
Alternatively, read our other business guides to boost your franchising knowledge.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©