Recession-Proof Business Ready For Bounce Back

A recession-proof business is presumably what every potential franchisee dreams about. Although the combination of a proven business model, a well-known brand name and enterprising, hardworking individuals means that franchises usually perform above the market, the latest figures indicate that the £11.4 billion UK franchise market actually shrank by 9% in 2009. Bucking that trend, however, is home improvements franchisor, Granite Transformations, whose unique ‘kitchen worktop that fits on top’ has proved a hit in recent recessionary times. What’s more, as the economy recovers, an upturn in commercial and domestic construction and housing sales will surely stimulate further sales growth.

Part of a global franchise operation, Granite Transformations has seen annual sales increase by 15% across its UK showroom network, as ‘nesting homeowners’ opted for affordable kitchen makeovers while riding out the recession. More than typical is relative newcomer, Darrell Smith, who has grown monthly revenue at his Granite Transformations franchise business from £15k to £102k, in a single year. Yet, despite this recession-beating performance and an earlier successful track record as an independent financial advisor, he wouldn’t have contemplated setting up in business on his own, without the umbrella of a successful franchise package.

“With a franchise operation, half the work is already done for you,” says Darrell. “In addition to an established business model, the systems have been created, there’s a comprehensive training programme, streamlined product development and distribution, plus the obvious benefits of national and regional marketing support.”

“It’s tough setting up a business from scratch, especially on your own,” he adds. “But in an established group of franchisees, as there is with Granite Transformations, there are other like-minded people with the same commercial objectives, whose ideas and experience you can tap into. Franchise meetings also provide an opportunity for social networking, intelligence sharing and comparing your sales performance with others. It’s a very stimulating environment.”

This year, Granite Transformations has also reduced the price of entry, by providing centralised worktop manufacturing and eliminating the need to invest in a local production facility. With franchise fees from just under £30k and additional setting-up costs of around £34k, this brings the initial outlay to slightly below the national average of £68k, making it viable for someone with savings of £20,000, say, and additional bank financing. In return, Granite Transformations provides in-depth product training, extensive sales and merchandising material, showroom and vehicle signage, bespoke management software and national TV advertising and PR support.

“A franchise package like this, which combines a retail showroom and home selling, would suit anyone with direct sales experience,” says Darrell. “Besides, as has been proved over a difficult twelve month period, Granite Transformations’ product virtually sells itself.”

Exclusive franchise territories are still available in selected UK postcode areas.