Andy Cox-Peel launched the Just Shutters Birmingham franchise in April 2016
Prior to starting the business, he was self-employed, working as a sole trader in a mix of job roles, from working with children and adults outdoors to tree surgery and carpentry projects.
Why did you go down the franchise route? What made you choose this particular franchise sector?
AC: I was very interested in shutters as a beautiful and functional window covering. I bought some and installed them myself. I hadn’t really planned to go into the industry but an opportunity arose to look into it, and I found that the only realistic way to get into the business was through a franchise which taps into a pre-existing business set-up and model with a clear brand and support structure.
How did you raise the finance?
AC: I inherited an amount of money which was nearly enough to buy the franchise.
What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
AC: I had some prior experience installing shutters, so didn’t receive much training on that front, but I am always ready to learn from others and see how different methods and techniques work. I received a few days of training at the head office on systems and product information, measuring and quoting.
Sales conferences have been excellent for on-going training and updating of various aspects of the business and a good time to get together with the whole crew. I receive excellent on-going support from the head office in terms of administration, lead generation, follow-up and appointment booking, lots of behind-the-scenes stuff that goes unnoticed that I’m grateful for.
Business support from the top, both in terms of Chris and Simon working on behalf of us franchisees to get good deals with suppliers and much-needed advice on issues that I need help with. I feel I am able to go direct for support, which is invaluable!
How would you describe your day-to-day role as a franchisee?
AC: Generally pretty full-on! As a business owner, there is always much to do. I enjoy the practical work and the design side and enjoy people, so it’s a good mix. I really enjoy the work.
What challenges have you faced so far?
AC: Sometimes difficult customers crop up and can be incredibly difficult to manage. Ensuring there is sufficient fitting support, currently, this is working well for me, but I’m also keen to plan for the future as we grow.
Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so, how?
AC: In the sense that you become increasingly responsible to many more people and financially responsible for employees. I’ve always had a good work ethic, and given that I’ve never worked harder than during my time as a franchisee, it is important to try to prioritise, otherwise, it could become less healthy.
What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise?
AC: You’ve got to be willing to work very hard and be committed to people – ultimately people are buying from you as a person. You have to be genuine – if you don’t really like shutters, this isn’t for you!
In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?
AC: Business acumen; a desire to work hard and do an outstanding job for people and finally, knowing where to find true joy.
What are your plans for the future?
AC: Keep going! I am already looking forward to renewing for a further five years!
If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?
AC: Not that I was able to do so, but if you are in a position where the business doesn’t need to pay your household bills from day one, this would give a bit of a cushion to get rolling. Very grateful to have been able to support my family from the first month.
At a glance Just Shutters
Number of franchised outlets: 19
Location of units: England and Wales
Investment range: £25,000 (ex VAT)
Contact: 01202 233744 shutter-franchise.co.uk