From sustainable driveway installation and bike and food retail to waste management and housekeeping services, these green opportunities are riding high
With an ever-increasing awareness about the importance of being environmentally friendly at the forefront of government initiatives as well as people’s minds, that more businesses are becoming greener should come as no surprise.
The franchise sector is no different, with the number of green franchises on the rise in industries such as transport, energy, cleaning, fitness and food retail, among others.
Taking a proactive approach to saving the planet is more important than ever and consumers demanding environmentally friendly products, services and manufacturing systems means businesses must follow suit. What Franchise examines the fortunes of five green franchises currently riding high.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, a small number of sectors continued to thrive despite the lockdown - one of them was bike retail.
A practical alternative to using public transport as well as a great way to keep fit, significant numbers of the British public safely distanced themselves down to their nearest bike shops to get themselves a set of wheels.
Charitable membership organisation Cycling UK called government advice to cycle to work a “golden opportunity” and many city councils announced plans to create new cycle lanes and low traffic zones to further encourage people not to use their cars.
The increased interest in cycling is good news for RightBike, owned and run by professional cyclist Owen Patterson, which was gearing up to launch its franchise opportunity just before lockdown began.
RightBike franchise director Garry Hunt says: “We’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of business. E-bikes were becoming more popular before COVID-19 anyway, but since lockdown cycling has been reborn and it’s been unreal, with bikes flying out of the store.
“We’re also looking at selling e-scooters, although we’re waiting until legislation is clearer on these in the UK. One of the beauties of a RightBike franchise is you don’t need a high street store - you can be in a secondary retail position or working from home, selling products from your website and offering hires and repairs.”
Research shows the UK is just starting to wake up to the convenience - as well as the financial and health benefits - of using an e-bike. An increase in the government-funded allowance for the Cycle To Work scheme and a wide range of designs for stylish, lightweight bikes that feature slimline batteries are some of the reasons demand for e-bikes in the UK is growing. In fact, e-bike sales are forecast to flourish over the next three years, with Forbes magazine predicting global sales of more than 130 million between 2020 and 2023.
RightBike has built a business based on excellent customer service and has become known for its diverse selection of bikes, workshops and hire facilities. The company offers two different types of franchise: a single unit shop franchise, which allows you to operate your own RightBike business in an area of your choice, or a home-based opportunity, where you can carry out servicing and repairs while building retail sales.
“One of the benefits of franchising is the flexibility,” Garry says. “You can be a one-man band or develop something bigger and employ staff. Becoming a franchise partner with RightBike offers franchisees who are bike enthusiasts the chance to build a profitable business in a multimillion-pound industry.
available on request.
What you get:
comprehensive initial training programme; team training; access to suppliers; ongoing support.
Tom Stringer and John Pearce, directors of sustainable resin driveway company Oltco, have come up with an ingenious solution for using some of the waste plastic that’s in circulation in the UK. Recycle Bound is the world’s first driveway material made from waste plastic, including straws, plastic drink bottles and plastic food packaging.
Taken from a plastic recycling point, each square metre of Recycle Bound consists of the equivalent of 3,000 plastic straws.
Oltco has won awards for this innovative product and has recycled the equivalent of 30 million plastic straws since launching it at the start of 2019.
John Pearce says: “Following government advice, our expert teams are now back out working across the UK installing resin bound driveways, pathways, patios, pool surrounds and balconies while adhering to social distancing. We’ve been delighted with the interest our franchisees have had from potential customers, as well as the high number of jobs that have already been secured.
“We successfully launched our Bournemouth franchise in April. We also have a strong pipeline of franchisees gearing up to launch this year and we’re looking forward to welcoming new franchisees to the Oltco network and watching the brand continue to grow across the UK throughout 2020 and beyond.”
Recycle Bound means franchisees can offer a unique product, while doing their bit for the environment. Aesthetically, it looks no different from a traditional driveway and costs the same as Oltco’s alternative resin blend driveways.
The business currently has franchises in Cornwall, Blackpool, Bath, Ipswich, Lancaster, Colchester, Cheshire, Plymouth, Derby, Gloucester, Liverpool and Bournemouth.
£20,000 (plus VAT).
What you get:
an extensive install, sales and ethos course; ongoing support delivered by experienced account managers.
3. The Source Bulk Foods
This retail business gives customers the chance to buy food that’s not wrapped in plastic packaging. The Source Bulk Foods offers an extensive range of products that are displayed in simple yet stylish bulk bins that allow customers to choose products easily and buy as little or as much as they need.
Director Patrick Cermak explains: “We have had to adapt for COVID-19 of course, the main change being that we brought forward our plans to launch a click and collect and delivery service, both of which we were able to switch on at the start of April. Both services have proved popular. They’ve helped our business to reach more customers and we continue to serve those that are vulnerable and isolating.
“In addition, we introduced several changes to the in-store experience, such as limiting customer numbers, providing hand sanitiser on entry and moving to cashless payments.”
Franchisees sell everything from healthy wholefoods to nutritious snacks, confectionary, cleaning products, oils and cooking liquids, with customers encouraged to use their own containers for purchases. They can also mill their own flour, pull their own honey and make peanut, almond and macadamia butter.
From humble beginnings in a small Australian town in 2012, The Source Bulk Foods business has grown to 60 stores in Australia, as well as having a presence in New Zealand, Singapore and the UK and Ireland.
The company came to the UK in 2018 when Patrick and his wife Makayla purchased the master franchise and opened the first store in west London. There are now three stores in the UK and one in Dublin.
“If you’re looking for a change in lifestyle and want to run a business that will make a positive contribution to the local community, joining The Source Bulk Foods may be for you,” Patrick says.
“Zero waste thinking is more than a philosophy, it’s a way of life that lies close to our heart. From sourcing our produce locally to our plastic bag-free promise, The Source Bulk Foods is continually finding new ways to embrace the zero-waste mentality.
“By rethinking the way we shop, we’re contributing to the sustainability of our environment and supporting organisations, charities and communities that are leading the push for a better, cleaner world.”
The Source Bulk Foods is looking for franchisees who have an ethical approach to business, a desire to become an integral part of their community, a love of healthy living and the benefits of whole foods, good communication and management skills and a commitment to work within a tried and tested system.
What you get:
in-store discovery week that includes training in customer service and the operational aspects of running a store; assistance with site selection; help with store design and managing fit-out; ongoing support with training, products, marketing and operations.
4. ACM Environmental
Established in 1991, ACM Environmental is a recycling-led waste management company that offers a progressive alternative to traditional waste management services. The first waste management company to be carbon neutral, it’s an active member of the government’s All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group.
ACM believes zero landfill is an achievable and necessary goal and helps businesses reduce the amount of waste going to landfill with initiatives such as its Greener Path Programme and free waste audits.
Opportunities currently exist for a limited number of motivated people to partner with ACM to launch individual environmental and waste management consultancies on a franchised basis.
Services franchisees provide to companies and organisations include environmental/waste auditing, as well as advice on sound waste management, recycling opportunities, high-performance technology and delivering ongoing support. The work is stimulating, interesting, fulfilling and potentially highly lucrative.
ACM has more than 700 UK clients in a range of sectors, including leisure, food distribution, retail and manufacturing. Franchisees are able to develop these existing contracts while securing new clients. They’re also given ‘ownership’ of their client contracts, thereby building substantial future value within their businesses.
The company says no previous experience of the waste management industry is required to become an ACM franchisee, although candidates must be self-motivated, hard-working and ambitious. They must also possess good communication skills and be computer literate, target driven and sales oriented.
What you get:
15-day initial residential training course; regular workshops and one-to-one mentoring sessions during the first 12 months of trading; access to ACM’s 40-strong head office support team; ongoing refresher training; IT and equipment package; sales and marketing materials; assistance with preparing a business plan and raising finance.
5. Bright & Beautiful
After 28 years of working for Hampshire Police, Sandra Reid swapped life on the beat for a Bright & Beautiful housekeeping franchise, which she acquired in 2015 and continues to grow at an average yearly rate of 28 percent.
The company uses eco-friendly products and practices across its network and is committed to being as green as possible in its day-to-day operations.
Sandra’s focus is primarily on the effective management and strategic direction of the business, while operations are managed by Emma Kelly, who looks after the running of the company, including managing its 21 professional housekeepers, who provide cleaning, tidying, laundry and ironing services to customers in Winchester, Romsey, Stockbridge, Eastleigh, Hursley, Compton, Ampfield, Broughton, Otterbourne and the surrounding areas.
Having lived and worked in Hampshire for over three decades, Sandra says she is optimistic about the future and feels in a strong position to grow her business further. “We’ve seen some great success in five years,” she explains. “Last year turnover grew by 35 per cent compared to the previous year, the office has expanded both in terms of staff and space and recently I launched an off-site ironing and laundry service, which has proved popular. I have plans to also launch a Smart Shirt Club in the near future aimed at local professionals.” Sarah’s Chandlers Ford-based franchise is part of a national network of over 65 franchisees, who deliver more than 150,000 home cleans per year.
approximately £17,995 (plus VAT).
What you get:
comprehensive initial and ongoing training; expert ongoing support; assistance with local and online marketing; proven business systems; exclusive, protected trading territory.