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Sep, 16 2010

5 FABULOUS FRANCHISE CONCEPTS TO KNOCK INDIA

THE business services industry in the West has positioned itself as the backbone of respective economies, thanks to the distinctive business services franchise concepts that have made a significant difference.

THE business services industry in the West has positioned itself as the backbone of respective economies, thanks to the distinctive business services franchise concepts that have made a significant difference. While many business services, ranging from commercial car spa to complete back office solution services, have gained attention worldwide, several other distinctive and innovative concepts are awaiting their turn to turn on the nascent, but immensely potent, business services sector in India. These recession-proof franchise business concepts have been accepted in the West due to their profit-generating potentiality.

Fortune in furniture franchise

From offices to houses to hotels, furniture is an integral part of the decor. However, replacing and dumping away damaged furniture and purchasing new one often turns out to be an expensive proposition. Hence, repair and restoration remains the key to maintenance and herein lies the success of the concept of commercial furniture repair and restoration services.

This business service franchise concept gained attention worldwide for the plethora of opportunities the furniture repair industry provided commercially. As per industry experts, both corporate as well as industrial buyers could save up to 70 per cent on the cost of new furniture by having their office furniture and equipment revitalised, or they could buy used furniture.

Considered to be the world's largest commercial furniture repair and restoration franchise business with over 600 franchises, Furniture Medic provides wood, furniture repair and restoration services for commercial properties as well. The specialised, on-site scheduled services, backed by trained technicians; are suitable for corporate offices, especially for the hotel industry.

Franchising under this concept has given a branded edge to the services with expansion across Europe and North America. Furniture Medic offers new products and services, which are developed and test marketed before being integrated into the system. This allows Furniture Medic franchisees to be continually efficient while simultaneously offering expanded services to their existing customer base.

The success of the concept lies in the fact that it offers a high RoI and 40 per cent of the franchisees own more than one unit and can be operated with a single employee. This business concept is one of the few that is required variably in all commercial buildings, hotel, retail furniture, transportation and even in the insurance industry.

Furniture repair and restoration services in India are still in a dormant stage, where much dependence is laid on neighbourhood carpenter. The furniture repair and restoration concept, if adopted and developed through the franchise route, is predicted to produce profits. Besides, this kind of concept, providing branded, state-of-the art commercial repair and restoration services, could be a viable option for budding entrepreneurs to invest in.

Building up an image and a franchise

Corporate gifting and promotional products services is another sector that has been enormously popular in and across United Kingdom and the US. According to industry experts, the market for corporate recognition products is worth in excess of £1.5 billion, offering never-ending franchise opportunities. From badges, signs, corporate clothing to promotional products, business gifts and staff award mementos, the growing corporate image building and gifting options industry is gaining growth worldwide.

Recognition Express has been in the business since 1979, providing unique solutions for corporate image building, which comes through name badges, signage, awards and plaques, corporate clothing, promotional merchandise, security badges, etc. The products offered by Recognition Express are multi-industry and cross client segment from small local charities to large international corporations, making the concept an ideal for entrepreneurs.

According to the company, its franchisees have had sales of over 1 million pounds with an accessible market in excess of £1.5 billion per annum. This concept requires low start-up costs with minimal overheads. Secondly, once a franchise is established, majority of the sales come from repeat business. Recognition Express is now the most successful franchise network with 48 franchised operations in the UK and four other European countries.

With the market in India being virtually nascent, this franchise concept has the capacity to be a huge profit churning business. According to industry sources, the corporate gift market in India should be in excess of 200 million US$. Corporate houses and industries depend primarily on local gift shop, variably with less branded options. They generally prefer single window providers with branded products and services and do not wish to go for different products to multiple vendors. In such a scenario, this unique franchise concept is likely to shine in the times ahead.

Cutting cost, adding money franchise

Going through recession has made business houses wiser with the money. Industries and corporate houses have perpetually embarked on a journey of cost cutting and therein arises the demand for professional expense reduction services, a concept yet to knock India.

Working on ensuring profits by reducing the flab is Expense Reduction Analysts, which has been working since 1984 and has successfully completed more than 10,000 projects worldwide, delivering 19.7 per cent average savings. The company believes in excelling at reducing non-core (overhead) costs. Frederick Marfleet, Founder, Expense Reduction Analysts, explains, “Expense Reduction Analysts have achieved spectacular results by focusing on non-core costs. The approach yielded immediate gains and has been proving itself consistently for over 14 years.”

The concept has been showing double digit savings in corporations, government and educational institutions, non-profit organisations and even small-scale industries via the franchise route.

“While most financial or accounting consultants merely run over the spreadsheets and make recommendations on where costs can be chipped away, Expense Reduction Analysts approach is to support clients through implementation and monitoring,” quips Marfleet.

The Expense Reduction Analysts have been franchising in 36 nations across the world. According to the company, 6 per cent of the franchisees own more than one unit. Saving expenses in non-core operating businesses is one of the essential approaches towards growth and profit generation. Following global trends, hundreds of SMEs and corporate houses are opting for cost-cutting measures in India. But the absence of branded expense reduction services provider has made companies fall back largely on accountants. This has resulted in a huge gap, with unorganised procedures used by firms for reducing expenses. The introduction of such a professional and branded concept is anticipated to make this low-lying segment gear towards an organised growth through the franchise format.

Bookkeeping benefits

This business service franchise concept fills the gap between the services of a solo bookkeeper and a costly CPA. Founded in 1984, Bookkeeping Express has been delivering quality bookkeeping services to clients from all industries. In an interview to a news channel, Greg Jones, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bookkeeping Express had stated, “The day-to-day grind of crunching numbers can wear out a bookkeeper and it often takes him or her completely away from being able to consult clients, market the business and meet with new business leads. One of the major benefits of Bookkeeping Express Service Centre is that it gives bookkeepers, including BookKeeping Express franchise owners, more time than they currently have to grow their businesses.” Additionally, the Bookkeeping Express Service Centre is an ideal revenue generator for CPA firms offering bookkeeping or seeking to offer it. By outsourcing the bookkeeping function, CPA firms can more easily focus their attention on tax accounting and client consultation.

According to the company, the franchisees are positioned for decades of reliable growth with Bookkeeping Express offering the only national franchise model for outsourced bookkeeping, with a proven, turn-key business opportunity, perfectly suited for business professionals and entrepreneurs.

This franchise concept promises immense benefits. Firstly, “BKE offices, CPA firms, independent bookkeepers and each of their clients get a full team of professionals to handle their bookkeeping so they can focus on business growth,” states Jones. Secondly, the company's electronic filing system provides round-the-clock security and online storage of financial documents. Thirdly, the company's online integrated infrastructure, BKE EDocs, includes data back-up and recovery, helping business owners insure the safety of their documents.

This concept promises extensive franchise opportunities. It is a comparatively low-cost start-up with minimum competition and assures high RoI in less time. Bookkeeping Express utilises up-to-date software in the market, which includes online access to their accounts by franchisees and clients. The bookkeeping services market in India is virtually dormant with a dearth of specialised professionals and trained workforce. Besides, full time bookkeeping professionals singularly can cost more to companies.

Wealth in vehicle wash

Commercial vehicle wash, though a new concept, has attracted entrepreneurs worldwide due to its uniqueness, acceptability and profit-generation options. Heavy vehicles are the lifeline of any business and maintaining such fleets has always been an expensive proposition.

Offering branded truck washing services since 1990, Superior Wash has a record of washing over 47,000 vehicles per week besides providing professional fleet maintenance contracts. Ranked among the 'Top-20' by a franchise magazine, this functional business services concept provides companies with a maintenance service programme. Superior Wash offers several programmes for its clients that includes hassle-free wash services, on-site water recovery, affordable wash programmes, unrivaled wash capabilities, speedy service and fleet maintenance contracts.

Franchising promises low investment but a high RoI. With just four employees needed to run this business, franchisees with a general business experience can enter this segment. According to the company, “This is a sales-driven opportunity, so the more accounts you land, the more business you get.” Superior Wash also provides its franchisees with unique 'Cash Flow Guarantee Programme' to ensure that the franchisees never face a cash flow problem.

This distinctive franchise business services concept has the potential to make it big in India with thousands of trucks commuting on the Indian highways everyday. However, truck repairs and washes are being done primarily by road side garages and truck drivers. Going by this unorganised scenario, professional truck wash and maintenance services are not only considered a high-profit opportunity but also a feasible option for truck owners.

Word of caution

Even though these innovative and profit-generating business services franchises are predicted to grow in India, challenges cannot be ruled out. Hindrances in the form of lack of awareness about branded services, underdeveloped infrastructure and tough competition can obstruct the expansion of these concepts.

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