These sectors have proved themselves to be pandemic-proof and look set for a bright future
With Brexit and COVID-19 affecting businesses all over the country, it’s no secret that the majority of people have struggled during the last year.
Recent Office for National Statistics data shows that 15 per cent of UK business owners had low or no confidence that their business would survive the next three months. However, these statistics are in stark contrast to the year The Franchising Centre’s clients have experienced.
Receiving record numbers of enquiries for the range of franchise brands they support, the TFC team has watched their clients smash their own records in terms of network turnover over the course of the year.
While it’s clear that franchising has proven itself a secure career path despite world events, it’s important to note that some sectors are certainly outperforming others.
Here are my top five sectors to watch as we enter the second half of 2021:
1. The care sector
As has been the case for some years now, senior care is a growing market, but during the pandemic, the service these franchises provide has been highlighted as even more essential.
The care sector’s frontline services have been critical for the well-being of the UK’s ever-expanding elderly population and the demand from home care providers like SylvianCare is only set to increase.
According to Age UK, the population of people aged 65 and over will increase by 49 per cent from 2017 to 2040.
Additionally, nearly a third of people aged 65 and over live alone, while around one in 10
is ageing without children. The number of one-person households in England will also increase by 26 per cent by 2041. Because of the pivotal role, the care sector has played during the pandemic, mixed with the UK’s growing elderly population, franchises in senior care will continue to be a great investment.
2. The home renovation sector
The home renovation sector has always been a safe bet when it comes to franchising and with The Home Improvement Trend Report 2020 showing that 74 per cent of homeowners wanted to do work on their house in 2020 - 32 per cent more than in 2019 - it’s no surprise that this sector proved itself to be recession-proof during the height of the pandemic.
UK homeowners spent an average of £4,035.70 on home renovation during lockdown, meaning franchises in this sector have significantly benefited.
Of course, there are some home improvement projects that a homeowner just can’t do alone.
Kitchen franchises like Granite & TREND Transformations have proved profitable, which isn’t surprising when 71 per cent of homeowners who wanted to renovate their kitchen said they would need to hire tradespeople to do it.
Companies such as Access4Lofts have also profited recently, helping people to transform parts of their houses into spacious living spaces and safe storage areas.
In addition, waste disposal companies like Junk Hunters capitalised on the home improvement trend, helping people remove their rubbish. Home renovation is definitely a sector to watch.
3. The outdoor sector
Outdoor franchises emerged from the third lockdown fighting fit, as most outdoor services went relatively untouched by government restrictions.
For franchises like lawn care specialist Greensleeves, apart from not being able to sit and have a cup of tea with customers because of lockdown restrictions, they were still able to provide the same quality service.
Greensleeves enjoyed fantastic success. With consecutive record-breaking months since June 2020, the company has seen its most profitable time ever-continuing into summer 2021. Providing commercial surfaces with layouts for sports courts and health and safety markings, another example of success for the outdoor sector is Touchline, while Countrywide Signs, which manages property sales boards, benefited from those who wanted to move home rather than renovate. So many people discount franchises in the outdoor sector, thinking that the weather impacts profitability, but if the last year has proved anything it’s that this sector is a much more sophisticated proposition than that.
4. The tutoring sector
With COVID-19 devastating the school system, the tutoring sector has been called upon to help supplement children’s learning.
By May last year, children had already lost 20 days of learning. Putting this into perspective, 19 days is classed as persistent absenteeism in a typical school year.
Franchises like MagiKats and Choice Home Tutoring offer tutors who specialise in a range of subjects and can help bridge the learning gap. There’s no doubt that this sector will be one to watch going forward.
5. The commercial cleaning sector
After the significant work the commercial cleaning sector has done to ensure people remain safe at work, hospitals and other essential locations outside the home, it’s fair to say franchises in this sector are finally getting the recognition they deserve.
With regular cleaning playing a vital role in limiting the transmission of COVID-19, every business now has hygiene as a priority.
Social distancing rules and regulations have meant that cleaning companies have been increasingly called upon to remove the grime and harmful bacteria in sectors like retail, education and health care, to name a few.
Post-pandemic, it will remain essential for businesses to make sure employees are safe on an ongoing basis. Therefore, the professional corporate buyer will need to invest in cleaning contracts for the long term.
As a result, commercial cleaning franchises will be one of the big winners as the country returns to some form of normality.
Dugan Aylen is head of franchisee recruitment at The Franchising Centre.