As a Snap-on Tools franchisee, James Rygor has established a successful business of his own and found financial security for his family
Despite franchising being a reasonably safe way to secure success as an entrepreneur, becoming a franchisee still has risks. However, James Rygor had good reason to bet everything he had on joining Snap-on Tools, the tools franchise, as a franchisee. “I wanted to give my family financial stability and it was the best way to do that,” he says. Given he’s since become one of the network’s best earners, the gamble has certainly paid off.
Of course, Rygor didn’t know what the future held when he first considered joining the network in 2014. All he knew was that he wanted a change. “I was a mechanic and wanted to do something for myself rather than working for other people,” Rygor says. And luckily, he didn’t have to look far to find an opportunity to do just that. “We had a Snap-on franchisee come into the shop every week to sell us tools and I asked him to put my name forward,” Rygor says. The franchisee was happy to oblige and thus Rygor had taken his first step into the world of franchising.
But indicating his interest for the role wasn’t enough: he still had to ace Snap-on Tools’ extensive recruitment process. “I first had three conversations with their recruitment chair,” Rygor recalls. Not only was the budding franchisee thoroughly interviewed but was also informed about what would be expected of him in his new role. Bringing home the lesson, Rygor subsequently joined an existing franchisee for a ride-along to see the business in action. Undeterred by the experience, he faced the final hurdle on his way to getting a franchise of his own: an interview with the franchise’s area manager. “And he decided whether or not they wanted me around,” Rygor says. “Once he said yes, we looked for a territory close to me and luckily there was one coming up.”
With the recruitment stage done and dusted, he embarked on the next step: training to become a franchisee. And given how Snap-on Tools has perfected its model ever since it first launched in the UK in 1965, it’s hardly surprising that the franchise did everything it could to prepare him. “It began with me flying over to Dallas for a week,” Rygor says. The crash course in the US gave him a great understanding of how to run the business. However, it was just the beginning with the support continuing once he got back to Blighty. “I hit the road and had a support person with me for about three weeks,” Rygor says. “He stayed with me every day to help out and then they slowly weaned me off him. First he took one day off per week, then two and so on. Although, he’s still there to help, just a phone call away.”
Having said that, despite the training, Rygor confesses to feeling some slight trepidation when he finally flew solo as the franchisee of South Bristol. “It was daunting,” he says. “I’d put my personal savings into it and it was the first business venture I’d ever done. It had my name on it. So I had to put my money where my mouth was.” Luckily, he didn’t need to worry. By following the procedures Snap-on Tools had taught him, Rygor quickly found his footing. In fact, within a year of starting his business he found himself generating more than £11,000 worth in sales per week and being named the franchise’s best newcomer in the south-west in 2016. “That relieved a lot of the stress because I could see that the business was succeeding,” he says.
But the franchise was hardly the only one sitting up and taking notice: in 2017 he was nominated for the Young Franchisee of the Year award at the bfa HSBC Franchise Awards in 2017. “That felt good,” he says. While he didn’t win, Rygor was still thrilled to be one of the top three finalists. “It really showed that I had achieved something,” he says.
And the entrepreneur has no plans to take his foot off the accelerator just yet. As a matter of fact, he bought a second franchise area in October 2017. “It’s another way for me to grow my business,” he says. However, he’s not planning to run the second territory for long but plans to sell it at the end of 2018, preferably helping new franchisees join the network. “If I get a good earning from it then I may do it all over again,” Rygor says.
Importantly, owning the franchise has done more than just filling up his bank account. “It has given me and my family a good life,” he says. “It’s taken me from being an employee to being a business owner.” When asked if he’d bet his future on franchising again, he doesn’t hesitate. “I would, yeah,” he says. “Even if something would happen to Snap-on, then I’d definitely look for other options in franchising.”
Given the benefits he’s enjoyed by joining Snap-on Tools’ network, it shouldn’t come as a shock that he’d definitely recommend it to others. “It may look daunting because of what you have to put into it,” Rygor concludes. “But as long as you work hard enough, then it will turn out good.”