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Aug, 10 2013

Serving best avenues of profit

As women have a knack of managing two roles simultaneously, here we bring the best of categories for working mothers and homemakers in the services sector to invest in.

Whether  it\'s about serving to fulfill needs of b2b businesses or being entirely consumer-oriented, India\'s services industry is gaining a firm ground as brands are coming up in every corner of the country that are further offering niche yet lucrative business opportunities to the interested investors. The key drivers are mainly the ever-increasing brand promotional activities by brands that further shift people\'s buying behaviour and lead to double household incomes and the availability of services at ones\' doorstep. This, indeed, is changing people\'s mindset in terms of spending extra bucks for quality services in the comfort of home or offices.

The services industry is segregated into sub-sectors such as cleaning industry that further involves laundry or dry cleaning, residential or commercial cleaning, shoe cleaning, tank cleaning, cartridge refilling, courier and logistics, laptop repair and travel services. Whether it\'s about dry cleaning or shoe cleaning, cartridge refilling or travel industry, the consumer services business is raking in the money as franchising acts as a catalyst for driving brand expansion at a new high. Though services industry is still in a nascent stage, it still has a lot to offer to women franchisees.

Check out the below mentioned sub sectors that offer franchisable opportunity to women franchisees, be it college pass-outs, working professionals, homemakers or mothers-to-be.

Shoe care: Put your best foot forward

Are you a shoe maniac and worried about maintaining your classy yet highly-priced shoes? From cleaning to repairing the shoe, The Shoe Laundry is one of the niche concepts that was launched in 2003 by Sanjeev Gajakas. In the footwear care segment, The Shoe Laundry is the only player in India that offers a unique service.  Talking about the business opportunity, Sandeep Gajakas, Founder, The Shoe Laundry\'s, says: “The Shoe Laundry franchise model in the standard format is suitable for both men and women franchises and given today\'s enterprising women, urban or rural, there is nothing they cannot do. We provide complete and in-depth theoretical and practical training for cleaning, washing and repairing all types of footwear using our systems. We provide continual support with respect to operations, inventory requirements, marketing and also update new innovations and techniques.” With 12 outlets in their brand\'s kitty, The Show Laundry is now aiming to have 20 outlets by the end of this fiscal year.

Dry Cleaning: Get your hands \'dirty\' for profits

Rayshita Sinha, a teacher, who returned from Mumbai to Chandigarh to start a business of dry cleaning, has no doubts today as the industry of laundry and dry cleaning is growing largely. Whether it\'s affluent or middle class, when it\'s about maintaining the quality and sheen of expensive clothes, no one wants to compromise on spending a few bucks. As global premium and high-end brands are making inroads into India, there will be a huge demand for dry cleaners. As of now, the industry is dominated by local and organised players such as Laundromat, French brand 5asec, Village Laundry Service (VLS), Spain\'s Pressto, White Tiger and Four Seasons Dry Cleaning Company. For women franchisees it is a unique business opportunity to invest in.  Talking about the training they offer, Suresh Bhatia, MD, SB Fabcare Pvt Ltd-Master Franchisee for 5asec India, says: “To our franchisees, we provide all the necessary training required for smooth running of franchise operations and also support them continually.” Presently, 5asec operates over 1,900-plus stores across 30 countries around the globe. Related to their expansion plans, 5asec is planning to add at least three more corporate stores and five franchisee-owned and operated stores.

Carpet Cleaning: Cleaning for quick returns

Whether it\'s about residential or commercial cleaning services, the cleaning services industry in India is slowly waking up to adapt to new systems with the ingress of internationally acclaimed players like Australia\'s Keen to Clean, New Zealand\'s Crest Commercial Cleaning Ltd and BG Cleaning Systems, which are now expanding in India via franchising.

Travel: Always on the move

No one wants to miss holidays at exotic destinations. With travelling frequently on the rise, the industry is expected to stay in demand as people are not hesitant about spending money on travel packages. The drivers that induced the industry\'s demand are altering consumer behaviour and rising middle class income. Currently, India\'s travel and tours industry is booming at a rapid rate owing to the people\'s growing income capacities and aggregate disposable incomes and people\'s changing awareness via word of mouth. Social media and speedy online footfalls at various travel websites are further giving push to the industry. Major players that have grown or are planning to spread wings now are looking at the franchise route for expanding further. Presently, players like, Prime Travels, Thomas Cook,, Kuoni travel are leading the travel and tours industry.

Currently, a one-stop online travel bazaar that offers all travel-related services, is operating 12 franchise stores. As far their expansion plans are concerned, the brand\'s COO, Neelu Singh, says: “We plan to open 50 stores this year-end. We are looking at pan- India expansion by preferably targeting tier II and III cities.”

Word of caution!

Before investing in any service-oriented franchise, do extensive market study, talk to existing franchisees pertaining to revenues they are generating and how much support the franchisor is providing to franchisees.  Also, scrutinise franchisor\'s position in the market and then take your final call.

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