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Jun, 10 2011

SERVING GREAT RETURNS

Multiple comforts attached to home–based consumer services make it the most sought-after opportunity for entrepreneurs. The only criterion in this business is satiating consumers' needs because the service is paramount here.

Multiple comforts attached to home–based consumer services make it the most sought-after opportunity for entrepreneurs. The only criterion in this business is satiating consumers' needs because the service is paramount here.

THREE years ago, Navita had quit her job to take up the franchise of a home-based cleaning services brand. Now, she is renewing her franchise agreement, as she is earning 20 times more than what she used to earn before. There are countless number of successful entrepreneurs like her who have successfully traversed the journey from being an employee to a home-based entrepreneur. Home-based service franchise businesses offer lucrative opportunities to entrepreneurs, especially women. There are many sectors in franchising that are well suited for operating from home but consumer services sector leads the pack. With changing lifestyle and rising inflation, working couples and nuclear families are opting for alternative source of income. Consumer services sector offers them highly sought-after part-time/full time opportunities. Owning a service-based franchise, that too while working from home, gives franchisee an advantage of not maintaining an uber-luxe commercialised office, as clients don't visit them, instead they visit clients.

Home full of opportunities

Consumer-based services encompass a wide range of franchises that includes cleaning, purifying, fitness , beauty, pet and many more to choose from. According to Vikas Kapoor, National Business Head, Eureka Forbes, “In India, there are fantastic opportunities for people who want to run business from home. Presently, we have around 1,200 home-based service franchisees in tier II and III towns They are doing extremely well.”

Women tend to seek franchises that offer lower initial investments, as it saves them from draining out their bank accounts. They invest only as much money as they can afford to lose. Scores of franchisors in consumer services industry find their female franchisees successful.

Facet of franchising

Franchising is steering participation from many national and international brands. Realising the potential, many brands are now waking up to explore the booming home-based consumer services industry. “We take utmost care before we give home-based franchises. Prior to finalising a franchisee, the franchisee has to confirm the parent company and take permission from the municipal corporation to run it from home,” avers Kapoor. Women entrepreneurs top the priority list of franchise brands in consumer services too, as they are sincere workers and love exploring new vistas with a new vigour.

As per Rajeev Sekhri, CEO, White Tiger, “Presently, we have a few women entrepreneurs as franchisees who are running the business very well from home. Low investment, fixed hours of working, self-employed entrepreneur, no compromises on family front, no training and specialised qualification required, no financial involvement in purchasing stocks, hassle-free business process (as processing takes place at our the centralised location) and attached to an established brand name are the advantages offered to a home-based franchisee of White Tiger.”

Home-based franchise has several benefits and convenience attached to it. According to Mahesh Gupta, Chairman, Kent Ro Systems Ltd.,  “A home-based franchisee is saved from the pain of high rentals and other office expenses like bills, etc. For running a home-based business, we need people who have experience, leadership quality, know how to manage work, how to handle critical situations and crisis and how to deal with public. For our home-based franchise centre, we need at least two to three people to run it.”

Kapoor emphasises that by owning a consumer services franchise, you not only gain the freedom of working for yourself but you also have the support of the parent company, owned by an experienced team of franchise industry veterans.

Expansion

As the need, demand and income potential rises, the brands are looking at strengthening their presence. According to Sunil Uplap, Managing Director, Tan Clean, “We have 40 franchisees, of which 10 are run by women. This industry has a huge potential. We are on an aggressive expansion spree and plan to strengthen our presence pan-India. ” Eureka Forbes also plans to strengthen its presence by adding more home-based centres pan India by the end of this fiscal.

Speed breakers

Running a home-based business is not everyone's cup of tea. However, with determination, focus and patience, one can succeed. To become a home-based entrepreneur, you don't need any prior qualification or experience, as the franchisor provides appropriate training and support to the franchisee and his staff. But, in the services business, the franchisor anticipates from franchisee a great relationship with the customer, as in this sector, service is paramount.

Upalap says, “To maintain services at par at all our centres, we provide franchisees with training in marketing and execution. We also offer a complete database of customers of that region and a few references too.”

For Eureka Forbes, the success rate of franchisees who operate from home is 70-75 per cent. Others fail to run because of varied reasons like immediate returns, early break even, impatience, etc. As we all know that owning a franchise is built around brand recognition, system of operations and training and support, so the franchisee must take care of all the above for a smooth journey ahead.

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