Business services Feb, 15 2010

Sowing less reaping more

Owing to the great demand of the customers, the service industry offers promising returns for aspirants keen to jump into the franchise bandwagon. This article deals with a few service industries that are easy on the pocket in terms of investment. Read on

By Abha Garyali
Sub Editor
Sowing less reaping more

Consumer services effectively deal with businesses that cater directly to customer needs. Dry cleaning, travel agencies and matrimony web portals are a few examples of the sector which gratify customer needs efficiently.
Till a few years back these sectors were dominated primarily by unorganised players. However, in the last couple of years there have been a plethora of players in the organised sector as well. However, due to a large demand there is still a large vacuum left open for the prospective franchisees. An added attraction for franchisees in this industry is its low-cost purchasing and maintenance.

Travel business

With a booming Indian economy, increasing disposable income, today’s Indian tourism industry outnumbers the tourism industry of any other country. There has been a revolutionary change in the travel industry in India. A number of organised players have entered this sector. Some of the major players offering franchise opportunities are Raj Travels, Cox & Kings, Prime Travels, SOTC, TravelPort, Travel Tours, Easemytrip.com, Makemytrip.com, GoWorldHolidays etc. Owning a travel franchise can be a fruitful business proposition to venture into this arena. Travel franchise, being a low-cost business offers great opportunity to the aspirants with or without prior travel industry experience and also offers prospects to come in contact with lot of clients.

Dry cleaning industry

Dry cleaning industry with time offers lucrative franchise opportunities. This consumer business offers a lot of benefits to its franchisees. With more and more people preferring to spend on dry cleaning their clothes and goods, a bright future awaits this sector. Although the number of unorganised players in this sector is quite large, but organised players too are gaining grounds. According to Rajeev Sekhri, CEO, White Tiger, “The dry cleaning and laundry business in Delhi and NCR alone is huge and fragmented. It leaves a lot of scope for organised players such as White Tiger.” White Tiger Laundry Services, Four Seasons Dry Cleaning Company Pvt. Ltd, Wardrobe are few of the organised players offering franchise opportunities. A big advantage of this sector attracting lot of franchisees is that it does not require high educational background. Aspiring franchisees with big dreams and few of educational accomplishments can also prosper in this sector. Moreover, dry cleaning outlets need not to be too grand or spacious. The minimum area required is 150 sq. ft. However, one source of expenditure can be buying and maintaining the needed machinery for running a dry cleaning outlet.

Matrimonial web portals

This service sector has become popular in the recent times with large number of people preferring arranged marriages. People now prefer various matrimonial agencies and sites to make their work easier. Taking this into account many unorganised as well as organised players have entered this field. Matrimonial web portals have come in a major way forming a large part of the organised sector. Shaadi.com, a matrimonial site started its shaadi point centres across India as a novel concept. As shared by Gourav Rakshit, Business Head, Shaadi.com, “Matchmaking is a sensitive subject and trustworthiness is very critical for the success of this business. Keeping the needs of the business in mind we chose to have local entrepreneurs with credibility as our business partners in every city.” He further informed, “Shaadi.com centre has pioneered the concept of using proprietary technology to revolutionise the traditional method of matchmaking.” Prospective franchisees need a minimum investment of Rs five lakh for starting up matrimonial agencies and web portals.  Some other players in this field are Bharat Matrimony, Jeevansathi.com, Shadilagn.com,Saajansajani Matrimony.com Pvt. Ltd, sukhbandhan.com etc.

Guidance and training

To prosper in the consumer service segment, one needs a lot of expertise and experience. This can be provided to its franchisees by the various franchisors and the assigned managers. The various players provide sufficient technical know-how of operations, fabric and cleaning knowledge, logistic support etc to its franchisees. As informed by Sekhri, “Complete infrastructure support, training and technical know-how is provided by the company .The company provides the entire stationery and the complete branding is done and maintained by the company. In order to support the business the company organises several promotional activities from time-to-time.” As informed by Rakshit, “Shaadi.com centres provide franchisees the know-how, planning and training to ensure they have the right understanding of our members’ requirements and provide them with the best options accordingly.”

Word of caution

As already mentioned these industries come in the low-cost segment and can attract a lot of franchisees. This industry specialises in satisfying the consumers directly. Therefore, franchisees that have an understanding temperament and can convince the clients soothingly should opt for a service industry business.  Moreover, being a low-cost sector the franchisees still need to be very careful in choosing a company before partnering with it.

Keeping in mind the above given cautions, a franchisee can earn a lot of profits from these low-cost but high-income industries.

Related: On the road to success

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