Did you know that there are an estimated 2,500 Boots stores in the UK? Boots has a variety of different shops, from smaller, local pharmacies to large health and beauty stores.
With a variety of shops on high streets, many UK residents have been in Boots before and enjoy its wide variety of brands and healthcare products. It’s a very popular shop, so is there any scope for opening your own franchise?
Keep reading to find out more about the history of the shop and the Boots franchise opportunities.
The history of Boots
The first Boots store was opened in Nottingham in 1849. It was opened by a man called John Boot, the store started selling herbal remedies. With over 170 years of experience, the shop now has hundreds of stores across the UK and the world.
When Boots was first opened, it provided affordable alternatives to traditional medicines. John Boot passed the brand onto his male descendants who continued his vision. Building on the business model, his sons, and their sons added new products and created new pathways for the business.
For example, Boots started selling stationery and some included library facilities in the late 1800s. In 1925, the first Boots pharmacy remained open 24 hours a day, in Piccadilly Circus. In 1935, Boots launched No.7 cosmetics products, which are still very popular today.
Boots Opticians was opened for business in 1988. Since merging with Dollond & Aitchison in 2009, the optical chain is the second largest in the UK. Boots Opticians now has 630 practices across the UK.
Boots stores have a vast choice of health and beauty products, medicines, gift sets, clothing, food and drink, and much more. The business also has a range of other services including:
• Midnight and 24-hour pharmacies
• Prescription medicines (sold at pharmacies)
• Opticians and hearing care services
• Photo-printing facilities
• Vaccination and insurance services
Since 1997, customers can get an Advantage Card. This card is an incentive card enabling the customer to collect points that can be used to purchase products in the future. Another service is the Boots Parenting Club. This offers new parents with extra Advantage points, free gifts, and expert advice.
Is Boots a franchise?
Running a franchise can be rewarding and is an easier way to start running your own business with less stress, than starting from scratch. Franchises provide fewer risks and enhanced possibilities to create and manage a business you can be proud of.
Unfortunately, all Boots stores are company-owned. This means that there are no franchise Boots opportunities, including the pharmacy and the general store. However, there are Boots Opticians which do encourage Boots UK franchises.
Boots Opticians is an optical franchise that conducts eye tests and contact lense checks. It also sells both glasses and contact lenses. The franchise is 100% franchises, which means that you keep all of the profit you make (without having to pay royalties to the franchisor).
How much is a Boots franchise?
To run an Opticians as a Boots franchise costs a minimum of £20,000. The initial franchise cost varies and could require an investment of up to £250,000.
What do you get for this investment? Boots Optician franchisees receive guidance with:
• Choosing their site’s location
• Lease negotiation
• Store design and local marketing
• Pre-registration training
• Internal apprenticeships and Continuing Education and Training (CET).
Owning a Boots Optician franchise also means that you own the equity and have the right to sell your equity whenever you want to.
As a franchisee of Boots Opticians, you can decide who you employ and their salaries, the number of clinics you operate, and run promotional programmes to boost your business. For those with a thirst for the optical industry, you’ll also be excited to hear that you’ll have the opportunity to build your own frame and lens range, to meet the needs of your customers.
How does the Boots Opticians franchise model work?
If you choose to start your own Boots Opticians franchise, you’ll be in charge of the daily running of the store. This could include day-to-day tasks such as deciding how many clinics you manage, managing employees, and ensuring your business is profitable. You will also be expected to manage your business’s finances, such as running accounts and setting employee salaries.
Your revenue will highly depend on how you run and manage your business. You’ll receive advice and guidance from the successful Boots Opticians’ business model. This includes access to cost-effective supply chains and exclusive product ranges.
Upon becoming a franchise partner, you’ll be given a 20-year agreement. Every 5 years, you’ll have the right to renew your agreement. After you’ve completed the 20-year franchise agreement you can either agree to renew your contract for another 20 years, or Boots will buy your business from you.
If you choose to sell your business back to Boots, this will be sold at the current market rate and will be subject to an independent valuation.
Do I need experience?
Preference is given to candidates who have some clinical and entrepreneurial experience. This is so that they know you’re capable of running your own business and knowledgable of the industry.
Proving your skills and background knowledge will help you support the market-leading brand. Boots Opticians have a thorough selection process to determine the right candidates for the franchise partnerships. During the process, you’ll learn more about what Boots expects from you as a franchisee. You’ll also discover how they can help you during your agreement.
How do I open a new store?
Once you’ve been selected as a franchisee, Boots Opticians will help you find and fit a store. This will include finding a suitable location for the franchise. Boots Opticians have many contacts and partners who will be able to find you the right store location. They’ll also help you negotiate the best terms in regards to the local market.
Most Boots Opticians franchise agreements operate under a full repairing lease. This means you’re responsible for repairing and maintaining the property (both inside and outside) during the lease.
Request more information about starting your own Boots Opticians franchise, to see if this business venture is right for you.
Alternative franchise opportunities
If you don’t have relevant experience or don’t make the selection process, there are other franchise options. Those who have pharmacy experience might be more attracted to running their own pharmaceutical store.
Lloyds Pharmacy was established in 2000 and has since branched out to 7 European countries. Unlike Boots, this pharmacy does have franchise opportunities. Specifically, the brand is looking for franchise partnerships in Ireland.
With over 40,000 customers using their Lloyds Pharmacy Plus loyalty scheme and many more customers using their services, this is an excellent opportunity for a keen entrepreneur.
Joining the Lloyds Pharmacy brand as a franchisee enables you to provide customers with high-quality products. The pharmacy provides non-prescription and prescription medicines and a range of other health care and beauty products.
In return for your investment, you can expect a dedicated Franchise Area Manager who will assist you with national and international suppliers. You also receive a franchise package, filled with promotional materials, a high-quality website, and business coaching.
Originating from Saudi Arabia, this major healthcare and beauty retailer is looking for franchisees to help broaden the brand. Innova Pharmacies are looking to open stores across Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
With a successful business model in place and over 25 years of experience, it’s a great opportunity to start a pharmaceutical franchise with them.
With Innova Pharmacies, you can open your own store of between 120 and 240 square metres, selling popular brands and assisting customers. In return for your investment, you receive two weeks of pre and post-launch guidance, assistance with site location and set up, and on-the-job training.
The company also supports its franchisees by providing ongoing business monitoring. When you employ staff, you can also provide up to three of them with four weeks of initial training.
Look to the future, invest in a Boots franchise
Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to invest in a Boots franchise, but you can invest in a Boots Opticians franchise. If you can see a clear investment strategy in opening an optician store in your local area, then you should definitely take heed of our Boots Opticians franchise advice. Remember to conduct further research into the franchise model and find out more information about it.
If you’d rather open a pharmacy-based franchise, then you might want to consider Lloyds Pharmacy or Innova Pharmacies.
For more insightful information on the latest franchise trends and opportunities, be sure to download and read our free reports.