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How to make your van franchise a success

Written by Lisa Law on Monday, 22 July 2019. Posted in Analysis

There are things you have to know before launching a van franchise

How to make your van franchise a success

According to the latest bfa Natwest Franchise Survey, van franchises make up 14% of all UK franchise systems. You can find van franchises in almost every industry and sector. With so much choice, it’s important to really do your research and consider the nuances that come with van-based systems. Snap-on Tools is one of the largest van franchises in the country and as national franchise manager, I’ve worked with hundreds of franchisees over the last decade. I find myself hearing the same questions and giving the same advice, time and time again. Here are the top things you should consider when investing in a van franchise.

You don’t need to be a pushy sales person

Sales experience may be an advantage but building great relationships is key. People buy from people, so the most important thing is to be passionate about what you do and offer the best customer experience to keep people coming back and recommending you to others.

Being a lone driver doesn’t mean being on your own

Far from feeling lonely, van franchisees often say one of the things they enjoy most is meeting and interacting with different people every day as they travel from customer to customer. A good franchisor will organise regional and national events for its franchisees to get together and train and socialise. You’ll have access to a community of likeminded individuals who understand the business and can offer support.

As well as your fellow franchisees, your head office support team will be in regular contact with you from day one.

It’s not a 9-5 job

If you want a job, you shouldn’t be investing in a franchise. Whilst on the surface, operating a van franchise may appear to start and finish each day with the turn of a key, it’s important to understand that’s not the case. You’ll also need to complete your back-office admin as well as stock control and general upkeep of your vehicle. When considering van franchises, if working hours is a priority for you, be sure to ask to speak to existing franchisees for a true understanding of what’s normal for the business. We insist that all our prospects take two to three van rides with existing franchisees for a real hands-on look at what being a Snap-on franchisee is really like.

Costs worth considering

Initial costs will include the purchase of your vehicle – something many prospects don’t actually realise. To keep costs down, look for a franchise system that has support processes in place to help with vehicle purchases. Still, remember to factor in insurance, fuel and of course provision for the maintenance and general upkeep of your vehicle.

There’s plenty of scope for growth

As with any franchise, you’re limited only by your own ambitions and determination to succeed. In fact, a third of all franchisees in the UK own multiple units. Most van franchises are designed to be owner-operated and run very successfully in this manner. Equally, most have scope for expansion and growth through a multi-van model. This means buying a second van and employing someone to run it for you within the same territory if the market will allow. Alternatively, you could invest in a second territory and run a second van there, again with an employed assistant. The structures in place to achieving a multi-van franchise will vary from franchisor to franchisor, so be sure to discuss what strategies and support is in place during your due diligence process.

Check your driving licence

Most franchisors will want you to have a clean licence if you’re going to join the team. But there’s more to consider. Check what category of licence you need for the type of vehicle you’ll be driving and any costs associated with taking further tests. And don’t forget, how you drive outside of working hours in your car is just as important – lose your licence and face losing your ability to work.

You can’t always keep your van home

This is usually down to insurance considerations and limitations. Often, van franchisees carry expensive stock. Therefore, franchisors and insurers may stipulate that you have to have a secure lock-up in which to store your vehicle overnight. It’s actually a great way to separate business and home life.

Whether you want to be an owner- operator or build a multi-unit franchise, there are plenty of van-based opportunities you can explore. There are no best kept secrets associated with a pro table van franchise – thorough due diligence and simple hard work are the keys to success. 

About the Author

Lisa Law

Lisa Law

Lisa Law is a national franchise manager at Snap-on Tools 

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