Franchise Spotlight: Personal Services
Personal services is an eclectic category where stock is usually not required and start-up costs and overheads are modest.
Provided to individuals, families or households, personal services are typically aimed at consumers rather than businesses. That said, something like business mentoring can qualify since you’re providing advice and training to business owners rather than a chunk of the workforce.
Services as disparate as pawnbroking and pet grooming meet these criteria too, whereas catering providers – hired to feed a large number of people at events – would not.
Servicesector is the UK’s biggest industry, accounting for 70% of GDP
- With no or little stock usually required, start-up costs, overheads and margins are often favourable
- Franchise support infrastructure, including centralised marketing and lead generation, frees you to concentrate on delivering an exceptional service
There’s an abundance of choice in this category, with sectors including:
- Business coaching/mentoring
- Consultant tailors
- Dog training
- In-home and personalised healthcare
- Locking wheel nut removal
- Online training
- Pet boarding/grooming
- Portrait photography
- Property investment
- 4D ultrasounds
A major benefit of services, as opposed to retail, is that you don’t need to buy, store and display stock. This lowers start-up costs and ongoing overheads while increasing margins.
The buyer of personal services instead pays for specialised skills – potentially at a premium where skills are in short supply – and exceptional customer service. This is where well-established franchises, with their proven formula and extensive franchisee support infrastructure, can come into their own.
Free of concerns around stock storage and display, you may not need large, expensive high street premises or any physical premises at all. This means some franchises offer the option to work from home.
Also unlike retailers, they’re immune to the Amazon effect. Indeed, service franchises have the scale to invest heavily in SEO, their websites and booking platforms to generate significant custom online.
Is a personal services franchise for me?
The attributes you need to thrive in personal services depends very much on the service and franchise system in question.
An interest in the field will be expected, but it’s actually uncommon to need previous experience in the industry itself. Comprehensive training will be provided as per the requirements of your role and those of your staff.
More likely a franchise will focus on your skills and attributes – often favouring those who are driven, entrepreneurial and effective communicators. But again, it all depends on the franchise in question.
Deciding which franchise suits your skills and character depends on several factors:
- What you would enjoy and be interested in
- What kind of working hours you favour. Dog sitting, for instance, typically offers flexible hours but weekends might be difficult to avoid; business mentoring is very much 9-5, Monday-Friday; while in-home care is a round-the-clock business (albeit you won’t necessarily work unsocial hours)
- Whether you prefer a one-man band operation where you deliver the service yourself or prefer a sales/managerial role overseeing a team. The latter is usually a more expensive option
- Current and projected demand for services provided. There is no substitute for patience and diligence when researching the market
The structure of personal services franchises
From business mentoring to in-home healthcare, custom across these eclectic sectors is usually generated through a mix of online and telephone bookings plus word-of-mouth referrals.
In this area, the franchising model has considerable appeal. A well-established franchise will offer a trusted brand with a potentially nationwide or even international presence, and proven systems for generating leads in your exclusive territory. This frees you, the
The best franchises – and make sure you do your due diligence – have head office technical teams dedicated to SEO and upgrading the website, booking platforms and IT systems you use to run your business.
You should expect extensive training and ongoing support too. Within this ecosystem, your role is to faithfully follow a winning formula – providing you choose the right franchise.