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Expansion Plans for Letting Agency Franchise
Property franchise draws up plans to extend business throughout the UK.
By: Peppercorn PR
The 31-year-old from Aberdeen is a shining example of the opportunities promoted as part of Scottish Franchise Week, sponsored by Lloyds TSB Commercial and whichfranchise.com, to raise the profile of franchising as a tried and tested way to start a business, create jobs and build sustainable wealth for the national economy.
As Managing Director of Contempo Lettings she is one of a number of home grown entrepreneurs who have seen their business benefit from franchising. Contempo now boasts four offices in Glasgow and one in Aberdeen with plans to expand seven fold across the country within the next three years.
“I graduated as a music teacher but it was far too much like hard work so I left to become a fund raiser,” said the 31-year-old Aberdonian who now overseas her growing empire from Glasgow.
“I became head of fund raising for Aberdeen Children’s Hospital which was great fun and it gave me the inside track on how to get projects off the ground without big budgets and dozens of staff.
“However, I had an itch to start my own business which just wouldn’t go away but I’d never been brave enough to take the plunge.”
The final push came after she started making money out of property deals and having to deal with letting agents.
“I fell into property development by default and was making good money but I got fed up with the letting agents I was using because I knew I could do a much better job,” said Ms Donaldson, who is to be married in September.
“I moved from Aberdeen to Glasgow to set up Contempo five years ago and it grew from there. At the start I had no idea it was going to be so successful.”
Contempo Lettings, now employ four people in their Head Office, have five franchisees and three support staff employed by the franchisees.
The Lettings franchise turns over rental income of £1.2million on behalf of clients, leaving Contempo with a profit of around £350,000.
Never happy to rest on her laurels Ms Donaldson has drawn up an ambitious plan for Contempo to establish a further 20 or 30 franchisees throughout Scotland before expanding into the English market.
“There are at least 20 territories in Scotland which are available,” said Ms Donaldson. “We have a strong presence in Glasgow and Aberdeen, but places like Edinburgh, Dundee, Stirling, Perth and Inverness are now on our target list.”
The Contempo business model is designed to keep overheads to a minimum allowing new franchisees to maximise profits much more quickly as they seek to meet the rising need for rented property.
“There is no doubt that demand for rented property is continuing to rise because so many cannot get a foot on the property ladder as first-time buyers,” said Ms Donaldson.
The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) recently reported that demand for rental property would continue to outstrip supply for much of 2011 and into next year with almost 40 per cent of ARLA offices believing more private landlords will enter the market over the next 12 months.
Contempo franchisees can enter the market for less than £20,000 and don't need to spend money on expensive shop fronts or extra staff as Contempo offers a central office to handle all client accounts and legal issues.
“Having done it myself I can say with confidence that this is the best way to do it. We have a centralised finance and legal department. It’s all about managing client funds and such like,” said Ms Donaldson.
“There only needs to be one person in each franchise and they can focus on building their business while we carry out their admin when they need it,” said Ms Donaldson.
Franchising already contributes around £800million a year to the national economy and supports an estimated 30,000 jobs across Scotland as it is increasingly seen as highly adaptable model for growth.
“Franchising is a real growth industry and the number of brands and franchises has continued to grow steadily over the years.” said Tom Endean, a spokesman for the British Franchising Association.
“Part of this is a result of the robust nature of the franchising model. The ability to operate as a local business with understanding and commitment to the area and people, combined with the national support systems and brand, has allowed many franchises to remain viable, secure and successful businesses even in tough times.”
Notes to Editors:
For more information on franchising please visit www.thebfa.org or contact Peppercorn PR on 0845 217 8757.
About The British Franchise Association (bfa):
The bfa is the voluntary self regulating governing body for franchising formed in 1977 by the major franchising organisations looking to accredit and promote those franchise systems that meet the strict ethical and business criteria of a good franchise.
The term 'franchising' has been used to describe many different forms of business relationships, including licensing, distributor and agency arrangements. The more popular use of the term has arisen from the development of what is called 'business format franchising.'
Business format franchising is the granting of a license by one person (the franchisor) to another (the franchisee), which entitles the franchisee to trade under the trade mark/trade name of the franchisor and to make use of an entire package, comprising all the elements necessary to establish a previously untrained person in the business and to run it with continual assistance on a predetermined basis.
The bfa hold a full list of all of its members and the code of ethics to which these members subscribe to on its website: www.thebfa.org