Insight into life as a Northwood Franchisee with Deryck Highet

Deryck Highet

By Deryck Highet, Northwood

I’m one of the two directors at Northwood Wirral. We’re based on the Wirral Peninsula and cover the whole of the Wirral postcode areas. We’ve been in business for nearly 10-years.

Why I chose a Northwood franchise

Initially it was because I was interested in a job with Northwood. We then considered the franchise and looked at other franchise models in the country and decided that Northwood, because of its Guaranteed Rent offering, offered a proposition that no-one else could match. What helped us choose Northwood was the friendliness of the company – it had very much a family feel to it. 

It wasn’t an economic choice, because the other franchise options we had looked at were a lot less money than Northwood, but we felt that the support that Northwood were going to provide us in the early years was something that was hugely beneficial to us. 

Owning my own branch was a natural step for me

I’ve been in property all of my working life. I’m a Chartered Surveyor, and had been in estate agency and property-related business-to-business organisations for 30 years before we opened our Northwood office. My wife and I were looking at other options, including opening under our own name, but Northwood was an obvious choice because of the variety of the products that we couldn’t offer with another franchise or on our own.

The way we financed our business

We were very fortunate that we were able to take a re-mortgage on a property and had private funds to put into the business. 

Getting the keys took about six months

We had to go through a process to identify whether the territory we wanted to open in was available, because it was part of another franchisee’s area. Northwood provided some background information to support whether the business would be sustainable or not. We first saw the premises in the July, signed a lease in the September and then we spent a month training with Northwood in the November. We opened in the January, so the whole process was about six months from that decision to go ahead to actually opening up.

We have support when we need it

The franchise office is there when you need it. And there’s a very helpful intranet where you can get information on just about everything. We hold twice yearly regional team meetings where all the franchisees get together. I have a very easy relationship with the Northwood Managing Director, who is very personable and easy to get hold of if you need to discuss things at short notice. 

Advice I would give to a prospective franchisee

If someone’s looking at a property franchise, then I would obviously recommend that they look around to see what type of model suits them and their budget best. But I can say with absolute certainty that the decision we took 10 years ago to join Northwood was absolutely the right one. 

Looking to the future

I think if you stand still you go backwards, so we’re always on the lookout for new business opportunities. 

If I was to describe being a franchisee in three words…

Self employed employer.

If you are interested in finding out what it’s like to be a Newton Fallowell franchisee then read our interview with Richard Morris or if you’re interested in what daily life is like as a Belvoir franchisee then read our interview with Yusuf Majid.

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