The home improvement industry is a profitable and sustainable sector in which to operate. In recent years, there’s been a significant increase in the number of franchises attempting to make it in the industry. However, the greater competition has resulted in higher standards of service and some franchises have risen above the rest, becoming industry leaders.
This means that if you’re willing to put in the hard work, you have the chance to make it in a highly lucrative sector. But what exactly do you need to do to start your own home repair business?
- First of all, you’ll need to decide what role you’ll play. Either you can be a repair specialist, carrying out the tasks yourself, or the business manager, hiring contractors or a team of employees to do the dirty work for you. If you choose the first option, you should start by identifying your abilities. What services can you offer, and will you enrol onto any additional vocational courses before you set up shop in order to refine your skills?
- Next, choose your location. Although you’ll probably manage the business from the comfort of your own home, you’ll want to make sure there are plenty of potential customers in the surrounding area, especially if you’re hiring local repair specialists. You’ll only be wasting your own time and money if you often have to travel miles out of your way to get to customers. Not only will this take its toll on the success of your business, but on the environment too.
- Now for the specifics of your business model. If you’re not planning to join a franchise, you’ll need to create the framework for your own company. Create a brand identity, make sure you can identify your USP and develop an efficient pricing structure. At this point, you should also open a business bank account, write your operations manual, create important documentation and purchase business cards. There is a lot of admin to do when you set up a business, and it’s vital you get it right if you’re to create a profitable business with employees who understand its values and working standards.
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- If you can’t afford to finance the venture by yourself, you should apply for funding from a bank or other official lender. To do this, you’ll need to have an impressive business plan with no holes in, as the lender will want to see that your business is viable and that you’ll be able to pay back your loan. This means you should carry out a significant amount of market research to ensure the demand for your services is there and that your proposed plans will stack up.
- You won’t be able to start trading until you have secured the relevant licences and permits from your local authority. These will depend upon where you base your business, but you should ensure everything is in place before you start marketing your business or you could find yourself in hot water.
- Finally, you’ll need to market your business if you want anyone to find you. Your principal target market will probably be homeowners and landlords, so you may find it useful to use a variety of marketing methods. This might mean putting posters up in your local area, putting an advert on the local radio station, creating a mobile-optimised website and setting up social media business accounts.
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If starting a business from scratch isn’t right for you, why not join a franchise? Here, we look at three of the most exciting home improvement franchises and what makes them different.
The Magicman business model is centred around providing high-quality restoration services to customers who need repairs performed to hard surfaces, including wooden flooring, uPVC, metals, stones, ceramics and glass. Utilising a wide range of tools and techniques, it repairs scratches, dents and chips, amongst other types of damage, leaving the surface looking as good as new.
Founded in 1993, Magicman has gone from strength to strength and now boasts a franchise network of more than a dozen units. It is renowned for its excellent standard of work and benefits from being accredited by several industry watchdogs and regulatory bodies.
To invest in Magicman, an investment of £24,500 +VAT is required. This makes it one of the most affordable franchises around and an excellent opportunity for those looking for a low-cost investment. Magicman is accredited by the British Franchising Association (BFA) and has working relationships with several lenders. This means that up to 60 percent of the initial investment required can be borrowed from banks.
In return for your investment, you’ll be able to trade under the Magicman brand. You’ll also be granted a guaranteed territory of at least 75,000 households and supplied with all the necessary tools and equipment to begin trading. Every franchisee will be put through a comprehensive training course that covers the franchise basics and will receive ongoing support from the franchisor management team.
Mr Handyman does the jobs you don't want to. Whether it’s carpentry, plumbing or general repairs, this franchise has the technical know-how, determination and skill to ensure your home is always as good as new. Using the services of various home improvement specialists, they're perfectly positioned to tackle all jobs, no matter how small they may be. Established in the US in 1996, the business experienced rapid growth and was bought out by a dedicated franchise specialist in 2000. Since then, they’ve been expanding the network in the US and abroad. They now have over 500 franchisees in countries across the globe.
If you’re considering opening a franchise with Mr Handyman, you’ll need an initial investment of around £60,000. This covers both the franchise fee and working costs for the set-up period. Mr Handyman is willing to offer different financing packages to franchisees depending on their background, financial situation and territory. This means that up to 60 percent of this total initial investment could be financed by an official lender if a suitable arrangement is agreed.
Your investment in Mr Handyman is rewarded with the rights to trade under the franchise name, utilise its branding and be granted an exclusive territory that’s designed to be able to support a successful franchise unit. All equipment, including a van, is included in the price, as well as access to a comprehensive training programme. This generally lasts 10 days and covers a wide range of topics, including business management, practical skill development and franchise processes and procedures. By the end of it, you should be ready to get out there and make business success.
However, the assistance doesn’t end there, as the franchisor continues to offer support and training opportunities as your business grows. Conferences, webinars and regional meetings all occur on a regular basis and allow you to develop your own skillset, network with your peers and raise any issues you may have with the franchisor.
Furniture Clinic specialises in leather renovation and repair, and sells a wide range of leather restoration products. One of the most reputable home improvement franchises around, it works hard to ensure that it’s operating at the forefront of the industry and utilising the latest tools and techniques. Its dedicated research team is always looking for new ways to gain a competitive advantage and regularly reports any findings to franchisees, allowing individual franchise units to adopt new, innovative practices when they can.
Founded in 2004, the family-run business has now grown over the years to encompass several sites across the UK, as well as the Furniture Clinic Inc in the US. To join the franchise, an initial investment of £20,000 is required. Much of this can be acquired through lending agreements with major banks, although the franchisee must contribute some of the investment themselves. A royalty fee of five percent is payable on an annual basis, but the first year’s royalty fee is waived to allow every new franchisee the opportunity to get their business off the ground quickly.
In return for your investment, you’ll receive all the tools and equipment required to operate in the leather repair industry, as well as marketing materials and operations manuals. You’ll also be enrolled on a comprehensive training programme. The three-week training programme will teach you all the techniques you need to get started with leather renovation and include in-depth lessons on how to run the franchise unit.
Once the initial training period is over, you will continue to receive support and guidance from Furniture Clinic’s experienced management team. The franchise is keen to provide its franchisees with opportunities to expand and is willing to offer additional assistance to those who want to assume control of more than one franchise unit.
All three of the home improvement franchises we’ve mentioned above have the potential to be excellent investments. Each occupies a niche in the market, and has demonstrated that its business model is adaptable, sustainable and, above all, profitable.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©