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Shutter Pioneer

Shutter Pioneer

The Shuttercraft management franchise has given Charlie Scott a fast-track back into self-employment

Prior to making the decision to buy his Nottingham-based Shuttercraft franchise, Charlie Scott spent 19 years in a variety of sales and marketing roles.

Before joining Shuttercraft, he was Global Head of Client Development at Homeserve Labs, a wholly owned subsidiary of Homeserve plc, with a focus on innovation in the home emergency sector using smart technology.

Choosing franchising over an employed career

Having held board level positions at two large franchise organisations, Charlie had seen how the franchise model allowed businesses to scale rapidly and diversify locally to create a balanced business model.

He explains: “I had witnessed first-hand that a franchise business is only as successful as its franchisees, driven by ongoing support, innovation, USPs and a great working relationship. So I was confident the franchise model would work for me.

“Franchising offered me a fasttrack back into self-employment, accelerating my learning as I entered a new sector and providing an established brand to build on.”

Why was Shuttercraft the best choice? “The recent growth figures in the shutter industry and the quality of the S:Craft product initially gained my interest,” Charlie says.

“The follow-up meetings with Shuttercraft head office gave me confidence that the market was there to build a successful business and that the support network would ensure I could deliver market leading levels of service and value in my area.

“I was also going to be part of Shuttercraft’s pioneering management franchise model, which is a first in this sector. This appealed greatly, as it offered me the ability to scale the business quickly and efficiently.

“I had the funds to finance the franchise personally, but I chose to use a business loan for approximately 40 per cent of the initial set-up costs and cash flow requirements, so that my personal finances remained in good shape.

“This approach has been a good one, as it reduces the financial stress levels knowing there is a safety fund there if needed.”

Training and support

Charlie is not short of praise for his franchisor when it comes to training and support, saying that: “The training and support has been first class and I already feel like a seasoned expert when it comes to shutter configuration, surveying and even fitting.

“There is always a helping hand at the end of the phone and the availability of practical hands-on assistance whenever needed.

“I have always enjoyed learning new things, so it’s been a really exciting time for me. From a business perspective, having to learn the accounting software and be my own financial controller has been the biggest challenge, but the support from the accountants is great.

“After nearly 20 years in a corporate business to business environment, it was certainly a culture shock knocking on customers’ doors with a bag full of shutter samples, but I’ve got used to it now and enjoy meeting new people every day.”

Charlie says he loves being his own boss with the support of an established franchisor: “There are highs and lows in any job or business, but my biggest highs are definitely on the day of fitting, when the customer sees the shutters in place for the first time.

“Having made a considered choice to invest in shutters for their home, waited for them to be manufactured and delivered and then to see them in place - I have already had several customers shed tears of joy.”

Making good progress

Charlie’s franchise is progressing well and existing customer referrals are already a major driver of new enquiries. “I have fitters working for me, but the plan is to employ additional sales people and surveyors too, so that we can grow the business and give the people of Nottingham the beautiful shutters they deserve,” he says. What advice would Charlie give to anyone considering a franchise in the near future?

“Research, motivation, dedication and more research,” he says.

“There are free resources out there to help you understand more about your options and to match your skill sets to the different opportunities. Take your time to make the right decision, as it is an important one.”

High standards

The Shuttercraft brand is all about providing exceptional service - from the expert advice provided to customers when choosing their shutters, to the quality of the survey and installation.

All franchisees adhere to the Shuttercraft no hard sell promise - the company says it doesn’t use pressure to generate sales and doesn’t outstay its welcome Instead, Shuttercraft builds trust with customers by sharing advice without any obligation to buy, by only fitting S:CRAFT products and ensuring quotes are both fair and competitive based on an accurate, high quality survey.

Shutters are the fastest growing and most on trend window coverings segment in the UK. In the US, one in every six windows is covered with a shutter, while in the UK it is estimated the plantation shutter market is now worth approximately £60 million-£80 million per annum.

Shuttercraft’s management franchise opportunity enables you to launch your business and hit the ground running with the assistance of a fitter from the start.

You will be planning a structured, sustainable business, working both in and on your business, with a strong focus on customer service and lead generation.

Shuttercraft has set new standards in franchise support and training. It has a dedicated team of experts on hand from day one, from sales and marketing to logistics, customer services, IT and accounts.

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