A Diamond Logistics franchise owner is equipped with everything required to launch, develop and manage a profitable courier business
Entrepreneurs are defined by their persistence, their ideas, their realism and their sheer hard work. The best ones are open to new learning and new challenges.
Kate Lester, CEO of premium, service-led courier company Diamond Logistics, typifies this spirit and is leapfrogging onto the national playing field by setting up and developing a successful national courier franchise network. We ask Kate, who was named as Entrepreneur of the Year 2013, about franchising and key drivers for success.
How is Diamond Logistics doing?
Very well. We plan to roll out 20 new franchises in 2014 in line with our strategy to grow a nationwide network and become the UK’s leading complete logistics provider.
I started Diamond Logistics 21 years ago and established our franchise model following a successful pilot in Chichester and Southampton in 2012. Additional franchises in south Devon, Norwich and Newcastle followed in 2013, all strongly supported with training, marketing and infrastructure from our Surrey-based head office.
I have secured significant funding to support the roll out of the new franchises and have already signed up additional franchises in Sheffield, Birmingham and Derby. With a growing base in the south of England, we are hoping entrepreneurs in London, the north west and north east in particular will be interested in becoming franchisees in order to have representation across the UK.
We are driving a revolution in logistics - it’s groundbreaking and is creating a great deal of interest. Diamond Logistics appeals to clients because of our locally owned depots backed by a national and international service infrastructure. This helps us to provide excellent service with close client relationships, without ever needing to use call centres.
Why go down the franchise route?
Offering limited franchise opportunities is a great way to expand Diamond’s geographical capabilities. We want all the ingredients that made Diamond successful to be accessible to our franchise owners. The aim is to build our brand and offer our industry leading service levels nationally. We care passionately about our service levels because we are only as good as our last successful delivery. That’s why we will only engage with the best people to grow our network. Key to our success is retaining local, relationship-led client management, because that’s what has kept our clients using us time and time again.
How successful has the franchise approach been to so far?
So far, we have been oversubscribed for our franchise opportunities. This is great, as not everyone will be right for us and vice versa. We are very careful about who we work with - we are looking for a ‘Diamond kind of person’, people who embody our ethos and brand values.
Describe a typical franchise owner?
There is no typical franchise owner. We are looking for people with impressive interpersonal skills and business acumen. However, I have noticed a trend - second career people, often middle aged and from a broad range of sectors, including ex-company directors, firemen and the military, enquiring about our franchise opportunities. They share common ground - lots of common sense, very good discipline and that all important initiative.
An ideal Diamond franchisee is motivated, enthusiastic determined, organised and able to adopt to our innovative methodology. They also need to be friendly and personable, agreeing to the Diamond ethics and able to represent the Diamond brand. I am also looking for people with an entrepreneurial flair to spot opportunities and grow the business. Previous experience in the transport industry is a bonus, but not essential, as Diamond has an extremely comprehensive training programme and provides exceptional ongoing support. However, previous experience in sales is definitely an advantage, as this is a sales-led organisation.
Why is a Diamond courier franchise a good option?
From the online internet revolution to local business fuelling our economic recovery, logistics is the lifeblood of UK business. It is the third biggest industry sector in the UK and growing.
For a minimal investment a new franchise owner gets a comprehensive ‘business in a box’ and all the training required for a successful launch. With a Diamond franchise people get to do the fun bits such as meet the customers and organise the deliveries, while the back office accounts and invoice processing admin is all done by Diamond headquarters.
New franchise owners can grow as quickly as they can get in new sales. Diamond invests in the set up and training and in return receives a commission, so it is important for us that new franchise owners are successful. We will work hard to make sure this happens.
What is included for the franchise fee?
A Diamond franchise owner will be equipped with everything required to launch, develop and manage a successful, profitable business, including:
* ‘The Book of Diamond’ - a how to guide to run a successful logistics business.
* Bespoke software, incorporating customer relationship management, reporting, invoicing and operational software.
* The exclusive 5 Carat training programme.
* All stationery, including business cards, letterheads, brochures and launch flyers.
* Service profiles.
* Vehicle magnets.
A new franchise owner will have won their clients personally and so their incomes depend on utilising Diamond headquarters’ expertise and training to make sure those clients are 100 per cent satisfied. Franchise owners benefit from our bespoke IT systems such as Multi Carrier Solutions and our state of the art online booking and tracking systems that provide admin, management and accounting data.
THE 10 STEPS TO THIS NEW BUSINESS
1. Complete the application form.
2. Interview with Kate Lester.
3. Due diligence checks - CRB, evidence of working capital or account.
4. Groundwork - start enquiring about sales opportunities.
5. The legals - agency franchise agreement.
6. Written training manual.
7. Training - issued with ‘business in a box’.
8. Depot set up.
9. First clients, collections and carriers.
10. First income.