Frequently Asked Questions

A range of questions asked by people who would like to know more about whether a franchise business is right for them, about estate & lettings franchises & about the Belvoir Group and how it works with franchisees. We have divided these questions into sections below & included a helpful video for each answer.

General franchise questions

The dictionary definition is the provision of services by one person to another person under a contracted, franchise agreement with a set of terms therein which suits both parties.

The franchise offers support services for you to run a business. So you have to decide whether what they charge you to do that (it’s usually called a royalty or a management service fee) is worthwhile for what you’re getting.

Providing the person suitable and has the knowledge & attitude, anyone can.

We carefully select people when we a have a mutual understanding as to whether we think you’re going to be suitable or not to meet the standards we require and also to make your business succeed.

We couldn’t knowingly enter somebody into a business if we felt that they didn’t have the proper approach, attitude or finances to make that business work.

But, within those parameters, just about anybody can become a franchisee.

A good franchisee needs to understand the task in hand, take on board, the training that we provide and then use their drive, enthusiasm and knowledge to make that business work.

People have to be prepared to put their time and effort into it and to get involved with the training.

The great thing about a franchise is, if you misunderstand something or forget something, the whole franchise support system is there.

If you adhere to what we say, use your own knowledge, skill and attitude to drive your business forward, that’s maximizing your opportunity.

Take on board what you’ve been trained, understand as much about the sector as you can and the territory that you have, use your drive and enthusiasm to drive the business that you have forward.

And when there are growth opportunities such as acquisitions or buying the next territory or going into another service, look at it carefully and take it.

Providing the person suitable and has the knowledge & aptitude, anyone can.

We carefully select people when we a have a mutual understanding as to whether we think you’re going to be suitable or not to meet the standards we require and also to make your business succeed.

We couldn’t knowingly enter, enter somebody into a business if we felt that they didn’t have the proper approach or attitude or finances to make that business work.

But, within those parameters, just about anybody can become a franchisee.

The reason that we advertise ourselves as franchisors and how we explain what a franchise is, is that we have a set of support services, and brand standards.

Our job is those support services to ensure that the business can meet our standards. To this end, we provide training, legal support, compliance & audits, a business development manager and a team that is dedicated to your brand.

You can find out more about how we support franchisees on our support page.

You will have to adhere to the franchise agreement that you sign up to when you start. This will outline any financial responsibilities and standards that will help you maintain and build the brand. You will also have to undertake training & follow the Belvoir Method, a system of processes designed to keep you compliant & to help you grow your business.

There are always risks with running a business. What the Belvoir Group and any other good franchise seeks to do is to mitigate that risk much as possible so that you can operate your business with a degree of protection.

A Natwest survey from 2018 said that 20% of new independent businesses survived two years and 80% of franchise businesses survived two years. So there are statistics to show that using a good franchise brand support mitigate your risk.

We, when we recruit people into our business, we do not offer ‘cold starts’. That means when you join our business, you join with a going concern, a running, profitable business. This is just part of our method to maximise success & minimise risk but it can never remove all risk.

It can be but restrictions should be positive. By this, we mean that restrictions are there to ensure that everyone benefits.

The restrictions mainly revolve around the brand system & brand standards. Unity of systems and standards sold nationwide is important because, if we can ensure that everyone follows standards that enhance the brand, everyone wins.

Royalty fees is basically the fee that you pay our franchise or for the privilege of giving you their brand and services.

Once we think you understand what’s expected of you and we think you understand what’s expected of us, then I think you should be in a position to make a a balanced decision on whether you should go ahead or not.

If you’re not the kind of person who follows a process, a model, the kind of person who could take on board a proven system don’t go into Franchising, it’s a car crash, not just property and sales.

The basic principle of franchising is that you license, if you like, the tools, wherewithal, and brand of a known franchisor’s system. You pay for that license in one way or another to operate that system, and for that privilege, you get the support of the franchisor and the entire system, the way the systems work.

We have a very intricate and close communication with the the Central Office and the franchise network, and also regionally, the franchise have a good communication with each other.

Yes. What you can’t do is sell it outside of the franchise within the brand auspices and the brand parameters in terms of contracts and so on.

“In terms of our sector, there are fairly well-recognized ways of valuing a business, as I’ve mentioned. These methods are based on the income streams to that business and the profitability of capital value buildup. Therefore, the businesses that people sell have a capital value, which varies depending on the income stream under discussion.”

10 years ago, people thought it was some kind of mystery, and there was some kind of trick to it, and it was heavily biased in favor of the franchise or it probably wasn’t a good area to be. That’s changed because of funding sources and opinions raising capital from funding sources.

Every business needs a plan. You need to understand what your targets are and what you’re trying to achieve. I want to go into a 1000-property lettings business, and I want to sell it in five years for £5 million. I know exactly what I’ve got to do to get there in terms of building up capital value and so on. A business plan is absolutely essential.

You’ve got to pay the franchise all for a start. The support services that you get, the what we call business development managers will sit with you and realistically explain what you can expect to achieve week on month on, year on.

If I were to tell you that you’re going to buy a chip shop, first off, you’d need to have the capability of making chips to a standard that people are willing to pay good money for. Similarly, if you buy a franchise, you need to do your homework to ensure that what you’re expecting to receive and what they will provide is what they claim to be offering.

Estate agency franchise questions

That depends on demographics. We usually have a minimum number of ‘chimney pots’ in an area that we feel works (40,000 to 50,000). This generally means that the rural territories are larger in area & the urban ones smaller.

Compliance is really important to our regulated industry because you can get into hot water if you aren’t compliant.

Franchising helps protect you against that. We provide you with the compliance methods to use & audit you every year to make sure you’re using them.

Each brand has their own brand standards. Ours are clearly set out in our manual. One of the considerations of acquiring an independent business is to refurbish up to the necessary brand standards that we have.

We allow time for transition as it helps with cashflow & to ensure that the reputation of the existing business is preserved. You can imagine that J S Smith has been the only estate agent that’s in town for 50 years, shutting it overnight and putting the brand outside the door is not the best marketing move you’ll ever make.

Our managed marketing team will help you do that and there is a very transition brand process to help you do that.

But you will have to transition over an agreed period of time to whatever the brand standards are and that cost is accounted into the business plan we put forward.

No. There are many very successful franchisees who had never been estate agents or letting agents before.

We provide intensive training to prepare you for the estate & lettings industry. You do need to have an aptitude for training and the willingness to undergo & take onboard the training.

We usually say it’ll take three months. The reason for that is we have four induction training courses a year.

Every single person who joins our franchise must attend the induction training course. It would be irresponsible for us to set people off running a business in our sector unless we train them.

That includes people who’ve been in our sector for years. We often get told “I’ve been an estate agent and I’ve been a letting agent for 20 years, do you you want me to be trained to buy this business?” The answer is yes.

We’ve met many of them at the end of our four-week intensive training course and they are always glad they attended and come away learning things they never knew.

Well, for the induction training, you need to learn all the methodology we use to go to market.

There’s also the franchise agreement you’re signing up to. We need to know that you’ve read it, understood it and so on.

We don’t just offer induction training, you’ll be provided with ongoing training to ensure you can meet the challenges of a dynamic market.

In order to provide the best information & consistency across all offices, we we have a dedicated, bespoke software a known as SME, which is the requirement for all franchisees to use.

It does cost to install and operate but it’s heavily subsidized by the Belvoir Group and is also supported and managed by us as well.

It’s also a tried and trusted means to help you to operate your business satisfactorily so that you can report back on progress to us and we can report back to you.

Utilising their own website is the key, because that way you’re getting a captive audience into your brand rather than using the bigger portals, which will have everybody on there.

Belvoir Group franchise questions

Royalty fees is basically the fee that you pay our franchise or for the privilege of giving you their brand and services.

We’re a very well known, well supported brand but look behind what you see on the surface. What’s important for your future is how you are supported (with regulation, marketing, licensing etc).

The Belvoir Group has all of the tools needed to operate in the property sector: good finance, good management, good support, honest endeavor to get the business done. And our franchise model is proven to be successful.

We believe our brand is supported by the best management team and our ambition is better than anybody else in our sector.

Franchising is very process driven. We have a proven method and we call it the Belvoir Method.

As this process has been proven to work across hundreds of businesses, we’d expect you to follow the process to get the best outcome.

Business development managers (often known as BDMs) are paid to help you grow your business. You’ll

Their job is to visit franchisees, ask them how they’re doing & what they’re doing it and suggest ways they can grow and improve.

You’ll have a dedicated business development manager who will help you in the business & who will attend all regional meetings & provide support & feedback.

We offer 42 different training modules for different pieces of and roles within the business. For example, in a lettings or estate agency business, there are valuers, lettings managers, viewers, office managers etc. We offer in-person training & via video-conferencing.

We don’t do ‘cold starts’ in the group, meaning that franchisees are encouraged to start with a business that is already running (that we will help them identify & acquire). The amount of capital you will require will be proportional to the cost of the business.

We do have excellent relationships with all national lenders (high-street banks, secondary lenders, challenger banks etc) & banks are pleased to work with people who are buying a franchise rather than buying & starting a business as franchisees will be using a successful model & will have a wide range of business support from us.

Within the brand you select, none.

We do have a number of brands but each have their own support team & particular area of focus.

With over 300 offices, our strength is in the depth of knowledge our franchisees have. We have a system of regular meetings with franchisees to enable them to share ideas. Many of our franchisees love working together & swapping ideas.

Your territory is formed by use of demographics to build up the right number and the right model of people and properties so that you should be successful.

No other franchise of the same brand can operate.

You have exclusivity.

After you sign up the franchise agreement, it’s our duty to provide a range of services to make sure that to the best of our ability, you’re a successful franchisee. Those range from marketing to IT to acquisitions.

All of those support processes are in place, and then our support services keep behind you for the whole term of your franchise.

They’ll offer you a service. It is a paid service, but it is that they’ll do your marketing for you remotely so they have an A to Z of marketing that you couldn’t buy easily anywhere else.

Generally our model at the moment, we set somebody up in a franchise with a going concern business, so the likelihood of the premises will already be there.

We’ve already gone through the process of proving it’s a wise thing to do or not.

We could say the success rate of the Belvoir franchise group has been very, very good, and you could count on one hand the failures, usually for reasons that are completely understandable.

The Belvoir business has achieved 26 consecutive years of annual profit growth. Risks revolve around adhering to compliance standards, which is a central mantra.

One of the main ways in which a franchisee can grow is by buying the competition organically. You might get another landlord a week or two or three.

I would be prepared to say that people who join our franchise and follow our model and the advice and use the advice and support we have, are more likely to be profitable than those that don’t.

The bigger costs are always going to be the running of the office, including the rent and all the utilities associated with it. Staffing will be your significant expense, and the number of people in your business will obviously affect that. Then, there are expenses such as portals, which will probably be one of the next biggest expenses.

With any business, there’s always going to be an element of risk involved. If you’re buying a lettings business in particular, then the biggest risk is always going to be the potential loss of because that’s where we derive our income.

There are several sources that we can direct people to; we do help a great deal in the buying of the business and funding for potential franchisees. If we take somebody like HSBC in particular, who are a huge entity, they like to lend on our businesses because they know how stable they are.

Getting into franchising with us now is different from how it was previously. Many of our businesses used to start with what we call “cold starts,” which involved opening up an office with no client base and building it up from there. However, the success rate with these businesses is now much more solid by buying one of our resale businesses.

The first port of call would be to ask ourselves because we can guide you to reliable funders that no franchise business is because they are a bit different.

Ideally, straight away. You know, that’s the aim. When we are looking at both acquisitions and the resale of our franchise businesses, what we want is for the people buying them to have a business that will also generate income for them.

Ultimately, it is the knowledge of being able to run a business, knowing what the legislations are, knowing if there are particular restrictions in your areas, and all of these things that we help with.

What you’re looking to do is build trust and credibility with clients, and that’s what’s going to help you retain business and get new business. There are things out there that will help to achieve that.

With our support, we will give them a pathway, if you like, a success path to follow, because, you know, in all the years that we’ve been doing this, we’ve created a model which we know, if followed, will be successful.

When it comes to staff, in terms of recruitment and training, you know, it’s down to the business owner to go out and get the staff that they need and to train them. Again, we don’t let people do that on their own.

There’s a lot of competition out there that’s already established that you would have to overcome. You’d have to get your brand out there, try to sell yourself to gain market share and growth. Again, with a franchise, we’re lessening that risk. There’s never going to be no risk, but we’re going to lessen that risk by already having an established business and brand, as well as providing a lot of support to help you as a new person entering the world increase your chances of success.

No is the short answer. You know, there’s no specific degree entry level that you would get in a lot of jobs. I think anybody who wants to come into the industry really should have some key skills, though. I think certainly being a good communicator is massive, wanting to work with people, both with your staff, your client base, and everybody that you deal with day-to-day.

Obviously, you know, there are a lot of different departments that we run, from BDMS who are out in the field, to auditing, training, and the operations team to help with acquisitions.

Discovery Day really is there to ensure that anybody venturing into owning a franchise with us knows exactly what they’re getting into. You know, they’re not sales pitches as such. They’re for information and knowledge so that somebody knows all of the obligations involved.

Everything and anything, really, because it is the opportunity for somebody to come in and find out as much about our business as possible, as much about what owning a franchise would be like, what the day-to-day role would be. So, as many questions as possible is what I always encourage. Hopefully, the information that we give them on the day will answer a large part of those questions.

The first thing to do would be to give us a call because we can help. Any business owners out there who want to inquire about what their business is worth, then we’re happy to have those discussions and give them a real guide as to what the market is doing and how we can help them.

There are a few key ones. As a business owner, the main one will be the income that the business is generating. Of course, it’s having those KPIs that are going to grow the business and getting out to see new landlords.

Growth is the key part of any business. The quickest way to grow a business is to buy a competitor, the agent down the road, that already has a market share and a portfolio that you can just add into your current business.

Yes.

We prefer for you to be familiar with the processes & methodology of the business first but actively support franchisees that are looking to grow into other territories or by acquisition.

Estate Agency Sale Questions

There are all sorts of marketing channels, but what we like to try and do is contact the person direct so we can understand exactly what it is for Sale let you know as soon as possible what we think it’s worth and the suitability of the business for the franchise network.

There are franchisees that are probably building out from 30 to £50,000 a year at the outset.

My office is at Grantham Central Office, where all day long, we receive inquiries from people who want to join franchising. We also interact with experienced individuals, as well as those who are less experienced or have no experience at all.

Well in our in our franchise network, , everybody has joined our assisted acquisition programme and those that haven’t because they haven’t considered the possibility of expanding by that method.

There is a a standard in our industry, and we know that standard because we bought and sold 100 and 40 resold another 100 or so businesses in the last five or six years. So we know what things are selling for.

Whatever the size of your ambition, we have sales and letting franchise options to suit different circumstances and goals.

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