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Inside Story The

Ableworld management team (Paul Boniface far right)

• Dedicated franchisor co-ordinator at our head offi ce

• Regular site visits from our franchise support managers


…on Ableworld. Franchising director Paul Boniface discusses the franchise’s offering and its support programme


Is there room for more franchisees? Yes. We have recently undertaken a comprehensive mapping exercise, which has identifi ed excellent opportunities throughout the UK.

What sort of person do you think an Ableworld franchise would suit? An Ableworld franchise consists of a retail outlet and a stairlift business. For the retail side you can think of the job as similar to a specialist retail manager. Building trusted relationships and giving high levels of customer service before, during and after the sale are paramount.

On the stairlift side of the business franchisees will need to be able to provide quotes and install the equipment. An interest or background in light engineering is an advantage, although full training will be given. Another option is hiring an engineer if a franchisee prefers to concentrate their eff orts on the sales and management side.

franchise that serves a growing market. The market for mobility-related products is huge and, because people are living longer, the market is set to expand enormously over the next 10-20 years. For example, the number of people aged 60 and over (Ableworld’s core market) is currently 15 million and is forecast to rise to 20 million by 2030. Ableworld provides a one-stop modern


retail outlet for everything from a pillbox or kitchen aid, up to powerful mobility road scooters and specially adapted household furniture. As well as being the country’s largest mobility retailer, we are also the only British Franchise Association-registered mobility retailer off ering a franchise opportunity. Ableworld’s strong growth prospects

are also positively aff ected by the Government’s stated aim of helping people live independent lives in their own homes. This, and other factors, means that more and more people will need products and services provided by Ableworld and its network of franchisees.

Do you need previous experience? Previous experience of the mobility

Several of our franchisees have proved a partnership of two people pooling their skills and experience works very well.

hat does being an Ableworld franchisee entail, and what makes the franchise diff erent? Ableworld is a retail

industry is not necessary. The key skills are ‘people’ skills. An ability to communicate empathically with customers and help them to make the right purchase is the most important. The technical aspects of the job are taught during a comprehensive training programme conducted at Ableworld’s head offi ce, specialist suppliers and at the franchisee’s own store. We have had people join us from retail, sales, armed forces, teaching, public service, engineering and other backgrounds.

What support do franchisees receive? We are very aware that quite often our franchisees are fi rst-time business owners. As such, we off er support at all stages of buying and running a franchise. This includes:

• Help with your business plan and any requests for funding

• Finding suitable premises and negotiating the lease

• Shop fi tting and stocking the store • HR guidance on employing your staff • A 56-day training programme on all aspects of the business

• Accounting, IT, buying and marketing assistance

• Intensive in-store support for the fi rst few weeks of running your franchise business

38 | | July/August 2016

What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying their fi rst franchise?

Decide what you want from a franchise. With an Ableworld franchise, for example, there is the very strong job satisfaction you get from helping others in your community through providing products and services, which genuinely improve people’s lives. Ask yourself if you have the right personality to run a business with its inevitable ups and downs. Finally do as much research as you can, including a site visit to the franchisor and its operation.

What are your plans for the future? As one of the largest mobility retailer in the country, our plan is to continue to lead the way. We have our own company-owned stores as well as a franchise network and our plan is to steadily grow both over the next few years to capitalise on the growth prospects in the mobility industry.

Ableworld Elderly homecare and retail 01270 613599

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