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Terry and Alanna Hamblett – Working with family

Terry and Alanna Hamblett are a father and daughter team investing in Salford. They joined Platinum Property Partners in September 2014.

Here, we share with you an interview with the pair on why they joined, how they find working together and what advice they would give to other families looking to start a franchise together.

What did you both do prior to franchising?

Terry: “I worked in capital equipment sales for about 25 years but I became disillusioned with it day to day as it was a very target driven business. At the same time, my mother wanted to expand her business, which provided supported accommodation and care for people with mental health issues. I joined her in the business and it lasted another 25 years.”

Alanna: “In a nutshell, I graduated university, took a gap year and didn’t come back. I lived in Marbella for nine years working in various bars and restaurants before getting a job in my field, which was graphic design. I was working for a Dutch home interiors company for about 12 months when they decided to relocate back to their roots in Holland and they took me with them.

“I became the manager of their in-house marketing and photography department. During this time, I bought two properties in Amsterdam with a colleague and renovated the storage floors above into two studio apartments and rented them out.

“I decided to move back to the UK last year to be with my partner, Phil, but still work for my company on a project basis in Amsterdam.”

Had you ever worked with a family member before? What led you to do so in this case?

Terry: “I was an only child so I had a special bond with my mother. We got on well together, almost like brother and sister and we trusted each other, that was the main thing. We knew our limits in business and in life.

“This is what led me to considering going into franchising with Alanna.”

Why did you choose to join PPP?

Terry: “I went to the British Franchise Exhibition in Manchester and I was looking at various things for myself at the time. I was looking at Subway and things like that but realised that I didn’t want to work in a fast food restaurant for the rest of my life – that wasn’t the lifestyle that I wanted. PPP stood out in terms of their presentation and professionalism.

“I took away Steve’s book and then passed it onto Alanna. I knew Alanna was coming back to England and thought about starting the franchise together because I knew she had the property bug. Alanna then flew in from Amsterdam and met me at a Discovery Day in January 2014.

“We met lots of people, including Franchise Partners and talked to some of the Directors from PPP and found out a little bit more about the company. We were both very impressed with the support they provided because we’d not been involved in franchising as individuals or partners before and Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) were totally new to us.

“At the time, we also had the property where mother had lived. After she passed away, I thought about selling it and sitting on the beach for a few years, but as Alanna was getting into property, we talked about making the move into property development. This has since become our first PPP HMO which ended up being 11 bedrooms. So we had our first property without having to look around and buy. It was primed for being refurbished as an HMO.”

Alanna: “The other good thing for me was that you’d still be able to leave the franchise at the end of your term with your business. With something like Subway, if you left then you’d leave everything with it.

“However, having already seen the benefits of being a PPP Franchise Partner, I can see us staying on as Alumni Partners.”

What are the benefits and challenges of working together?

Alanna: “The age difference is a benefit but also a challenge. My dad has experience and the knowledge of what he’s learnt in his life and I have the use of new ideas and wanting to move forward fast. So my dad slows me down when I’m getting too eager and I pick him up when he’s dragging his heels slightly.

“We also play a lot of bad cop, good cop – me being the bad cop! Dad doesn’t like confrontation and he’s the calm one and he likes everyone to be happy. I am also like that but I want to make the deal and I want to push forward.

“We bounce off each other well and complement each other.”

Terry: “It’s a lot about trust as well. My wife, Annette, has also helped us with the tenanting process and Alanna’s partner, Phil, has acted as the main contractor for the project. He brought in all of the builders so it has really been a family affair.”

What strengths do each of you bring to the business? How do you divide the work?

Terry: “I take on a lot of the technical and legal side of things and Alanna is really the design person. She also likes to look at the properties, floor plans and where we can make extra rooms work. Alanna is really good at negotiating discounts with suppliers too!”

Alanna: “We didn’t really define roles, we just kind of went with it and we fell into different areas. Maybe come our second or third house, we’ll be more specific but on the first house we were both involved on a daily basis and split the work load as we went.”

What are your long term plans?

Terry: “We’re looking initially to get around 40 tenants which would make it comfortable for us. We’ve just agreed a sale on a property that we’re going to convert to an eight-bedroom HMO.”

Alanna: “I say nine bedrooms!”

Terry: “So, in two houses we could already have 20 tenants.”

Alanna: “Our first one was a big property that we already owned it, so we thought we’d go for a smaller project the second time around but this is also going to be a big refurbishment. But if we can do an 11 bedroom HMO, we can do anything.”

What advice would you give to anyone investing in a franchise with family?

Terry: “Make sure that you’re both committed to the venture. You need to realise that there will be lows as well as highs. Also, find a franchise where you can follow the model – don’t go off-track and make sure you can take advantage of all of the expert advice that is available.

The Power Team at PPP are fantastic and we’ve used so many people to help us through. We’d never experienced this type of business before and they’ve made it as smooth as possible.”

Alanna: “You just need to make sure you have a very strong relationship and understand what you’re getting yourselves into and that you both ultimately want the same outcome from it.”

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