Au Revoir to France and Hello to Franchising
Husband and wife team, Helen and David Thomas, had been working together in France for 10 years so when they decided to make the move back to the UK, they knew that their double act would continue in their new business. Helen explains how choosing the right franchise gave them the kick start they needed when hopping back over the channel.
“Our children had started to fly the nest and our business in France had become frustrating with the bureaucracy and high taxation, so we decided to move back to the UK. We wanted a business that would harness our existing skills and, having looked at franchises in France, we knew that the support of agood franchise would give us an extra helping hand.
“I have a background in administration and David used to work in telecoms before we moved to France. We had always renovated our own properties in the UK and David already had qualifications in bricklaying and plastering so we moved out to France to start our building and renovation business. We wanted to continue doing what we were good at and, although we had looked at franchises in retail and a coffee shop franchise, we decided to focus on franchises that would renovate kitchens and bathrooms. We had the luxury of spending 2 years researching the franchises available but, once we got to this point, Granite Transformations was the only real contender.”
Granite Transformations provides a unique franchise business opportunity in the fast-expanding home improvements market. We offer quality-minded homeowners an extensive choice of makeover solutions, without the demolition, debris and disruption associated with conventional kitchen and bathroom installations. Our exclusive ‘top that fits on top’ concept allows our beautiful, high grade work surfaces to be fitted directly over existing worktops, tiled walls and other finishes, eliminating the need for demolition, shortening the project timescale and reducing costs.
“We enquired through the Granite Transformations website, spoke to some of the team and then were invited to spend a day at head office with Danny Hanlon, the Chief Operating Officer for Europe & North America. Granite Transformations, under the parent manufacturer Trend, is a global franchise with major operations in Australia and North America.
“We began to like the business more and more and were impressed that Danny was still so passionate about it years after he joined the business. The head office staff were another element that made us feel the franchise was well set up and solid.”
A Granite Transformations franchise gives you the chance to run a business enterprise from sales and design consultation, through measuring up and manufacturing, to installation and customer service. Few other franchises give you quite the same opportunity to handle complete projects from beginning to end, meet with customers in their own homes, and take such pride in the quality of each job and the genuine pleasure it brings. And none involve the distinctive makeover products you’ll find with Granite Transformations.
“We’re originally from the Wirral and when we were shown the free territories that we could establish our business in we had just a couple of prerequisites – we didn’t want to be in London and we wanted to be near to the coast. Whilst we hadn’t necessarily wanted to settle back in the Wirral, we decided to take the Wirral and Chester territory as it gave us a great scope for expansion and our knowledge of the area could only be a bonus.
“We completed our initial training 3 months before we could fit out our factory location so it was great to then receive a lot more support when our doors finally opened for business in August 2014. We chose to have our showroom in a separate location with plenty of regular footfall and so opened our first 7 ½ sq metre site in a garden centre.
“Our initial projections were guided by the Granite Transformations team and we took orders on our opening day! After 8 months of trading, we found time to review our position. GT’s head office arranged special rates with a business consultant at Winning Pitch and this really gave us focus and structure to move forward.
“We had a great first year and this has been the catalyst for us to expand. Our first 12 months trading turnover was over £400k, we’ve smashed our projected business plan by 18% and we employ 2 fitters, 2 fabricators and 1 full-time equivalent in our garden centre showroom. This year we will be creating a showroom within our factory site plus we have recently opened a second garden centre showroom in our new Liverpool territory.
“Our ultimate goal is to make a million of course! We’re a long way off retirement and what we really want is a business to enjoy and run long term without the headaches we found with our business in France. We’re certainly enjoying it and the continued head office support limits the headaches. We’ve been able to take a break at Christmas and we can bring our two friendly dogs into the office who sleep under the desk most of the time.”