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Rewarding work

Rewarding work

Mobility retailer Ableworld offers a franchise that provides job satisfaction and proven profit potential

What do you want from a franchise? Typical answers include “an income”, “being my own boss” or “running a business”. Another answer is “job satisfaction” or “rewarding work”.

For those who choose to work in the retail mobility sector, job satisfaction is often expressed as “helping others in need” or “making people’s lives easier or more comfortable”.

Owning an Ableworld retail franchise gives you all the usual benefits you would expect from a franchise, including an income, growth possibilities, the opportunity to run your own business and the security of operating a proven system. But it also gives you job satisfaction through providing products and services to the elderly and disabled members of your community.

Humbling experience

Imagine what it’s like to be an elderly woman who literally has to crawl up the stairs to go to bed at night. Someone who all their life has contributed to society, has always looked their best and acted with dignity, but now spends 20 minutes at the end of the day struggling to get upstairs and then in the morning having to get back down.

That was the situation Ableworld’s first franchisee, Andy Rees from Birkenhead, found in his early days of running the franchise.

One of the products franchisees offer is a stairlift. It’s a relatively simple piece of kit currently costing from around £1,200 and often fitted the next day. Andy fitted a stairlift for this woman and it isn’t hard to imagine the positive change it made to her life.

There was no more struggling up and down the stairs, no more loss of dignity, no need to move downstairs, as often happens in these cases, and no need to have to move to smaller accommodation. That, as Andy told us, is a humbling and very rewarding experience.

The same story one way and another is true for virtually all the sales made in Ableworld stores, whether it’s relieving a painful condition such as chronic back pain or giving someone much needed mobility through a simple walking stick or a mobility scooter, so that they can enjoy a trip into town to look around the shops or go down the pub with their mates.

Helping aspect

The ‘helping’ aspect of the Ableworld business model has been an important factor for all the Ableworld franchisees.

Franchisees like David, Audrey and Maureen from Ableworld in Broxburn, who told us: “When we opened the business, we never for a minute realised how rewarding it would be to deal with some of the wonderful customers who come through our door who are in need of guidance and advice on products to support their daily living. We would definitely recommend the franchise.”

Chris Brown, who opened his store in Bournemouth in 2017 and is looking to expand into another territory in 2019, puts it like this: “Becoming a franchisee has given me drive and focus, as well as giving something back to the community. You have no idea how good it is giving something back to your community.”

Million pound turnover

What about the other side of the reward coin? Earlier this year saw Ableworld’s first one million pound turnover franchise. Jeff Newman and his son Steven achieved this feat at Ableworld Southampton in just over three years.

Taking on the franchise, Jeff, whose previous career had been as a milkman, recognised that many of his previous customers were also potential purchasers of mobility equipment.

“Having had daily contact with elderly and disabled customers in my previous occupation, I witnessed several fall injuries and mobility complaints,” he says. “I believed our highly visible and accessible mobility superstore would fill a gap in the market and serve as a welcome benefit to the community.”

Together with Steven, Jeff and the team at Southampton have consistently hit and beaten budget and proved their initial thoughts about the viability of having a modern one-stop mobility store in Southampton were correct.

“It has met all our expectations, especially the satisfaction we get from providing the right products for our customers,” Jeff says.

Ableworld franchise director Paul Boniface says: “By following the model and injecting enthusiasm and energy into the franchise, Jeff and Steven have had a first class start to their business and have plans to do much more.

“We, as the franchisor, look forward to helping them achieve their ambitious goals in the next few years and beyond.”

Store network

Ableworld is the only mobility retailer in the UK offering a franchise package. Started in 2001 by an experienced retailer, who had been involved in two nationwide retail chains before, Ableworld now has 34 mobility superstores, making it the largest mobility retailer in the country.

The company’s management are looking to award a limited number of franchises in 2019 to potential franchisees who share their vision and passion.

Among Ableworld’s franchisees are people with sales backgrounds, from the armed forces, retailing, public service, teaching, the automotive industry, construction and engineering - many of them running a business for the first time.

No previous industry experience is required, as Ableworld has a comprehensive and effective six-week training programme.

The mobility sector is one of the fastest growing markets in the UK. There are currently 14.5 million people aged over 60 in the UK and the government predicts that in just over 10 years’ time nearly 25 per cent of the population will be over 65.

Valued at around £1.5 billion, the mobility retail sector is set to expand dramatically over the next few years as products such as mobility scooters, stairlifts, adjustable beds, wheelchairs and home aids become increasingly needed.

There will never be a better time to invest in an Ableworld franchise and take advantage of the rewarding opportunities that are waiting for you in this growing sector.


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