Whether it’s publishing, tutoring or personal training, there’s a proven work-from-home business for you
1. Alchemy Virtual Assistance
Alchemy Virtual Assistance is currently receiving an influx of enquiries for its services.
The business was set up in 2016 by former executive assistant Suzy Sanders and was launched as a franchise model in December 2019. It provides remote administration services, marketing and PA support to small business owners.
Chorley-based Eloise Robb is Alchemy VA’s newest franchisee. Since the soft launch of her franchise in August, she’s been approached by sole traders and independent business owners in the north west who are looking for extra support following the adoption of new remote and virtual ways of working.
An experienced in-house PA and VA, who also has a degree in business, Eloise says: “Lancashire entrepreneurs deserve the headspace to do the work they love during this challenging time, especially as they are working harder than ever to get back on track - but they cannot do it alone. These are the kind of people I’m supporting and I can help others too.
“I help plan and organise new and more efficient processes and procedures for clients, as well as taking charge of their inbox, invoicing, social media management and lots of other tasks remotely.
“During lockdown many people re-evaluated their lives and decided to follow their dream to start a new business. Being a VA in Lancashire puts me in a fantastic position to support others as they recover, reshape and innovate during these uncertain times.”
An Alchemy VA franchise starts from £8,000 (plus VAT). For their investment, franchisees receive initial and ongoing training and support, including regular mentoring sessions; access to the company’s proven business model and processes; systems and back-office set up, such as email address, office phone line and call handling; and continued investment in the Alchemy VA brand, including ongoing PR campaigns and marketing activities.
2. Tutor Doctor
Tutor Doctor claims to be the fastest-growing in-home tutoring franchise in the world.
Franchisees like Jessica Abram manage a team of tutors who help students with maths, English, languages, science and exam preparation, either at their homes or via an online platform.
Jessica, who prior to joining Tutor Doctor spent almost two decades in the education sector, faced a unique challenge when she launched her franchise in Birmingham - it was just as the coronavirus pandemic began to grip the UK.
“Initially, COVID-19 presented a huge problem,” she explains. “Just as I was going on my training and preparing for the launch of my business, the virus arrived in the UK. And then the entire country plunged into lockdown.
“But rather than think of it as an obstacle, I considered it an opportunity. Schools were closed and students needed support - support my business could provide.”
Despite people being forced to stay at home, Jessica contacted families in her territory and outlined the assistance she could offer students. Her hard work soon started to pay off: Jessica’s 13 tutors currently now provide 17 students with expert tuition.
“On top of that, Tutor Doctor advises us on the benefits of partnering with schools, so I started to reach out to those in my area,” Jessica says. “Having explained how Tutor Doctor supplements classroom learning, I’m already working with six schools and this will become a strong focus going forward.
“As for everything else in the future, it’s my goal to ensure all my students achieve what they’re aiming for - whether it’s improving their GCSE grades, passing the 11 plus, getting into their dream university or simply building confidence.
“When working with parents, I share my own experience as a parent and explain how I would only offer a tutor to them who I would be happy to tutor my own child. I’m going through the same journey as a parent and it’s fulfilling to be able to use this experience to provide a solution to others.”
This franchise has established a reputation for being ‘the go-to guide for you and your child’.
Its 40 franchisees produce four full-colour magazines a year and populate a website aimed specifically at local families. Content comprises features, competitions, a what’s on guide, reviews and paid for articles.
They also sell advertising space in print and online, as well as organise email marketing and social media campaigns for local businesses.
Raring2go! franchisor Freddie St George says: “With our low cost, all-inclusive start-up packages starting from £7,000 plus VAT and bank funding in place, it’s easy to invest in a Raring2go! franchise.
“And with our road map to success - our modus operandi - we show new franchisees how they can cover their initial investment within the first year of trading.”
No prior publishing experience is required to become a Raring2go! franchisee, as full training as provided, including in advertising sales. However, franchisees must be able to build long-term relationships with clients and have a good knowledge of their local area.
A small amount of working capital may be required on top of the start-up cost of this franchise and first year earnings potential is quoted at £20,000-£30,000.
Some Raring2go! franchisees design their own magazines, while others outsource this work. The magazine is mainly distributed through primary schools in the franchisee’s territory, which comprises a minimum of 15,000 primary school-aged children.
“We’re looking for people who are passionate about building an amazing business for themselves,” Freddie says.
“People who are looking to branch out on their own, but want the security of being part of an established, successful and highly collaborative franchise, who hate being a wage slave as much as the daily grind of the commute and who want to take control of their work-life balance and create a business that will be an appreciating asset.”
Eager to prevent people making excuses for not going to the gym, in 2008 New York-based Josh York started driving to his clients’ homes and places of work to ensure they never missed a session.
Two years later his mobile personal trainer and fitness business had over 1,000 clients and in 2014 GYMGUYZ was established as a franchise.
Franchisees provide people of all fitness levels with a personalised workout, as well as all the equipment and expertise needed to achieve their fitness goals.
Today there are around 250 GYMGUYZ franchises in operation worldwide. Recently launched in the UK, it currently has six franchisees in this country.
UK managing director Laike Mantori says: “GYMGUYZ is taking a firm foothold in the market and with the vast number of enquiries we are getting we’re looking forward to continuing our journey across the country.
“GYMGUYZ takes away the need to be in a gym environment, brings the equipment and provides the flexibility of training whenever and wherever clients want.
“This is a real USP and following the success we’ve experienced in the US we’re confident GYMGUYZ will provide a compelling alternative to traditional fitness franchises, backed by its unique model and low minimum investment.”
An initial investment of £25,000 is required to become a GYMGUYZ franchisee (total cost is £37,000). For this, you receive training in systems and operations, sales and marketing, staff recruitment and retention, business administration and customer service.
Ongoing support comes in the form of regular training videos and support visits, plus access to the company’s online portal.
Franchisees are also assigned a support team, which provides guidance throughout the start-up and launch phase of the franchise, including coordinating van ordering and delivery, buying equipment and scheduling meetings.
5. Expense Reduction Analysts
It’s never been more important for businesses to control costs, so it will come as no surprise that the services provided by Expense Reduction
Analysts’ 100-plus franchisees are in big demand.
As trusted independent consultants who operate on a ‘no savings, no fee’ basis, they’re able to advise clients in a range of sectors about strategy, cost reduction and process optimisation solutions that improve cash flow, working in collaboration with other franchisees to provide the best possible outcomes.
ERA’s 10-year franchise licence costs £44,900. For this you get access to the company’s proven methodology and systems, full training, plus a place on its coaching and mentoring programme.
Franchisees also receive marketing and business development support, are granted permission to use ERA’s Global app, which allows them to identify joint venture opportunities, and are offered ongoing refresher training and networking opportunities.
According to ERA, some franchisees solely focus on business development activities, others have built significant incomes by delivering cost optimisation services, while a few members of the network have built large consultancy practices. Whatever route you choose to follow, six-figure incomes are commonplace among established franchisees.
Tim Barber-Lomax, ERA’s franchise recruitment manager, says: “We’re looking for talented individuals who have an entrepreneurial spirit and an ambition to run their own successful business.
“A specific career background is not as important as having the right attitude, as we can train and support individuals to become successful ERA consultants.”
Tim adds: “We’re better positioned today than we have ever been. COVID-19 has massively impacted top-line performance for so many UK businesses. Our success fee model and structure means we can help businesses in their time of need.
“The already huge market for our services is growing, which means the opportunity for new franchisees to take advantage is massive.”
6. Hopes Happy Hounds
More people buying puppies and pets during lockdown is fuelling a surge in demand for a pet service franchise that has plans to double in size within the next 18 months.
Started in 2010 by Amy Wilson, Hopes Happy Hounds has 14 franchisees who offer dog walking, dog and pet sitting and cat and small animal care.
And with The Kennel Club reporting a 180 per cent rise in people enquiring about new dogs compared to last year, Amy says she’s identified a number of ‘ hot spots’ where she would like to see new franchises established, including Cambridge and parts of Scotland.
She explains: “My family and I have been involved with dogs for years. My parents were dog trainers and I have successfully run my own pet services business for over a decade.
“We aim to offer a professional, friendly and responsible service to our customers and our franchisees are trained to the highest standards in pet care.
“The current economic conditions make a low cost, proven franchise like ours even more attractive. People can work from home and set their own hours.”
Abi Neave launched her Hopes Happy Hounds franchise in Huntingdon, St Ives and St Neots in March 2019. Having previously worked at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home for four years, she was keen to combine her love for animals with starting a business.
“When I read an advert for a Hopes Happy Hounds franchise online, I was instantly interested,” Abi says. “It was an opportunity to launch my own business with a great support network and, most importantly, it allowed me to continue to work with animals.
“The fact it was a franchise helped me, as all the policies, systems and procedures were already in place and I also got lots of help with marketing and social media. In addition, I received full training in dog care, cat care, animal first aid and canine first aid.
“So far it has gone well. There is a real demand for help with pets from owners who are not at home all day.”
Key attributes of a successful home-based franchisee
Expert opinion: Frank Milner, President of Tutor Doctor
There are many reasons why prospects choose a home-based franchise, from the ability to take the children to school each morning to having time to spend with your family. There are plenty of benefits of starting a business from the comfort of your own home, but what does it take to be a successful home-based franchisee?
Organisation is key. The ability to create a schedule that factors in both professional and personal activities - and, more importantly, sticking to it - is a vital skill to have. Perhaps you have children, with your priority being to generate the best work-life balance and make the most out of family life. Having a schedule will help keep things in line and allow for some structure to your day.
Working from home requires self-discipline. To allow you to achieve what you’ve planned for the day, you’ve got to ensure you’re free from distractions.
It’s extremely beneficial to set up an office space, allowing you to focus on the task at hand - reducing the risk of being distracted by the TV, social media or fridge.
What you’ll also need is a commitment to your business. A home-based franchise doesn’t mean there isn’t any growth potential, so if you’ve got your mindset on reaching for the stars you’ll have to consider how you can accommodate more employees as you grow.
Showing the ambition, determination and eagerness to grow are all great characteristics of a successful franchisee.
Before you set up a work-from-home business
You may need permission from your mortgage lender or landlord before you set up a franchise in your home. You might also have to get approval from your local planning office and council, depending on the type of business you wish to run.
In addition, check with the franchisor whether the franchise package includes business insurance, as your home insurance may not cover items such as computers and stock.
And don’t forget to claim the tax allowances available to home-based franchisees. Your franchisor or an accountant will be able to advise you on what you’re eligible for.