Many of Cartridge World’s franchises are owned and managed by couples, demonstrating that the company not only offers a viable business opportunity, but also a healthy work-life balance
For many budding entrepreneurs thinking of taking the next step and branching out on their own through a franchise business, profit margins aren’t the only thing to consider - especially if they have a family.
Striking a balance between work and life can be difficult when you are your own boss. But mother of three Sarah Dyckhoff managed to achieve the best of both worlds when she decided to become a franchisee of her local Cartridge World store in Aylesbury in 2005.
Having had a varied career as a florist, secretary and working in packaging design, Sarah felt she was ready for a fresh career challenge. This, armed with a desire to become her own boss again, inspired her to look at what franchise options were available to her and her husband, Martin.
Although Sarah had no previous experience of the printer cartridge market, the recommendation followed her husband meeting with a Cartridge World manager, who sang the company’s praises and noted the potential for family life to run successfully alongside a profitable business.
Sarah says: “I’ve turned my hand to a variety of different roles and industries in my career, so I wasn’t too concerned that I didn’t have any experience in this area, especially as I’d researched the industry and knew I’d be given extensive training from Cartridge World.
“The franchise opportunity appealed to us, particularly because we’d set up our own business before and we didn’t want the hassle of starting again from scratch. I’m also a mum of three, so it was important that our new business venture allowed us to manage both home and work life. Cartridge World seemed to tick all the boxes and when the Aylesbury store was put up for sale I found myself catapulted into the process.”
Although Sarah admits starting up a franchise business is hard work, there are the benefits of having a support system behind you to keep you on the right track. Sarah adds: “Starting up a franchise business isn’t an easy option. It stills requires a lot of hard work and effort, but it’s completely worth it. Cartridge World has an excellent support network, which we found extremely beneficial. From the outset we had access to advice and best practice from other franchisees, reducing many of the difficulties associated with the initial set up of a business.”
Sarah and Martin have worked their Cartridge World business into their family life to ensure time at home is just as important as store opening hours.
The couple decided to adopt a ‘divide and conquer’ approach to setting up the business, with Sarah taking on the day to day operation and set up of the store, while Martin managed the household. This allowed Sarah the time and flexibility to establish their position in the local area without feeling too many of the pressures from home life.
Sarah remarks: “We have our busy times like any other business and it’s all about getting the balance right. Between us we have been able to develop a flexible working environment - something which I could never have achieved as a florist.”
The franchisees from Aylesbury aren’t the only couple to turn to Cartridge World for these reasons. Almost one quarter of its 170 network of franchisee run stores are owned and managed by couples - demonstrating that Cartridge World not only offers a viable business opportunity but also a healthy work-life balance.
John Richardson, chairman of Cartridge World, explains: “A great number of our franchisees are couples or families who have decided to become their own bosses by going into a joint venture. Like Sarah and Martin, many of our franchisees are attracted to the business following a recommendation. Franchisees not only learn new skills together, but also develop a work-life balance that allows them to run a profitable business and take advantage of family time.
“Running your business is important, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your family - the two things should fit happily side by side.”
Sarah’s store is now approaching its 11th year of trading, eight of which have been under her and Martin’s management. Their business has grown to be a huge success and now employs a team of eight staff members. The Aylesbury store sits proudly in the company’s top five UK ranking franchises, both in terms of performance and sales.
She’s also gone from having no experience of the industry to being an expert within it, having helped the BBC Watchdog team shine a light on the unwarranted costs of branded printer cartridge ink, which sparked a nationwide amnesty across Cartridge World’s UK network.
Commenting on her recipe for success, Sarah says: “My key ingredients are a willingness to work hard, attention to detail and not expecting someone else to solve your problems. I also have a great team working with me and an incredibly supportive family. My business is very important to me, but my family will always come first. Luckily I’ve found a business that allows me to be a mum and wife, as well as a business owner.”
Cartridge World is a worldwide franchise network that offers high quality, cost effective printer cartridges for all major brands of printers to businesses and the high street consumer. The franchising structure of the company was initially developed in 1992 in Australia and in 2001 the first UK Cartridge World franchise opened in Harrogate. Since then the network has continued to grow from strength to strength and today there are 1,600 franchises in over 50 countries across the world.
With over 20 years of industry expertise and a strong reputation founded upon delivering excellence and quality, Cartridge World is the UK’s leading printer cartridge specialist. Through the multiple business models available, Cartridge World franchisees are able to create a long term, profitable future. With no limits on franchise expansion, successful Cartridge World franchisees have the potential to grow their businesses and territories further with concessions and satellite stores. Cartridge World also offers a franchise option that focuses specifically on servicing the printer needs of local businesses in its new Cartridge World Express model.
With 170 stores in the UK and a dedicated franchise team, franchisees can also benefit from an experienced community that provides invaluable support and where advice and best practice is shared and encouraged.
The required investment for a Cartridge World franchise starts from £29,950, plus costs for production equipment, shop fitting, opening stock and vehicle wrap. Additional budget for outgoings such as legal fees and working capital will also be necessary.
This investment includes a comprehensive training programme that involves three weeks at Cartridge World’s technical support centre, a week gaining hands on experience in an accredited training store and an assigned business development manager, who offers business support throughout the first year of trading. With this thorough guidance, franchisees can hit the ground running.