Inside Franchise Business - - Contents -

10 busi­nesses to watch that are flying be­low the radar.

While some fran­chise brands re­ally sparkle, they take a low-key ap­proach just go­ing qui­etly about their busi­ness.

Nuggets of bril­liance glit­ter across the fran­chise sec­tor, with some brands qui­etly go­ing about their busi­ness, pick­ing pas­sion­ate and hard­work­ing fran­chisees to help grow their net­work while ben­e­fit­ting from a sound com­mer­cial con­cept.

Here are 10 busi­nesses to watch that are flying be­low the radar...


Most of Fast­way’s 800 courier fran­chisees work­ing from 27 re­gional de­pots stay in the net­work for at least five years.

It has been 35 years since the con­cept launched in New Zealand (25 years in Aus­tralia), and as part of the Aramex global net­work now, Fast­way is poised to launch in­ter­na­tional ser­vices.

The model is ef­fec­tive be­cause busi­nesses need a re­li­able courier ser­vice, and it is a sim­ple sys­tem with train­ing and a cost-ef­fec­tive en­try price. Fast­way has made a point of us­ing in­no­va­tions that make life eas­ier for couri­ers as well as cus­tomers, who are in­creas­ingly shop­ping on­line.

THE MEA­SURE: Sales across the board are grow­ing at 11 per cent this year, with growth of more than 20 per cent in re­gional ar­eas.


Fernwood has been fran­chis­ing its fit­ness clubs since 1994. There are 69 clubs across Aus­tralia run by 54 fran­chisees, whose av­er­age ten­ure is seven years. Na­tional ex­pan­sion plans in­clude 14 new lo­ca­tions – four in Mel­bourne, two in Sydney, two in coastal New South Wales, two in Western Aus­tralia, two in Queens­land and two in South Aus­tralia.

Fernwood is a strong brand with a proven track record in women’s health and fit­ness in Aus­tralia since the first club opened in 1989. Its suc­cess is partly at­trib­ut­able to the time taken to re­cruit fran­chisees who share the brand vi­sion, val­ues and pas­sion, and pro­vid­ing them with on­go­ing sup­port and ed­u­ca­tion.

THE MEA­SURE: Growth of 5 per cent last fi­nan­cial year, and 10 per cent this year.


Boast­ing 78 ter­ri­to­ries with 51 fran­chisees, 14 of whom are multi-unit own­ers, the Gut­ter-Vac out­door handy­man busi­ness has been in fran­chis­ing for 20 years - and not just in Aus­tralia. There are 30 fran­chise ter­ri­to­ries in the US, and the brand is work­ing to gain a li­cens­ing agree­ment to ex­pand in the UK.

Fran­chisees com­monly stay for seven to 10 years. So why is it a good propo­si­tion? As Gut­ter-Vac ex­plains, “Quite sim­ply be­cause we are an age­ing pop­u­la­tion with cashed-up baby-boomers need­ing work to be done, and safety and reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments de­mand­ing greater com­pli­ance”.

THE MEA­SURE: Gut­ter-Vac has been show­ing 35 per cent growth year-on-year for the past three years.


Home In­stead Se­nior Care is a ba­sic ser­vice that meets the needs of a rapidly grow­ing mar­ket - age­ing peo­ple liv­ing in­de­pen­dently in their own homes. Its fran­chisees are help­ing el­derly peo­ple and their fam­i­lies achieve in­de­pen­dence by en­hanc­ing their home lives.

Re­cent gov­ern­ment re­form to how home-care is funded and de­liv­ered makes a Home In­stead Se­nior Care fran­chise in re­gional ar­eas far more lu­cra­tive than when the brand started fran­chis­ing 12 years ago.

The busi­ness is grow­ing its na­tional foot­print, par­tic­u­larly in re­gional ar­eas such as Can­berra, Mel­bourne, New­cas­tle (New South Wales) and Tas­ma­nia.

There are now 24 fran­chisees, half of them with multi-unit busi­nesses.

THE MEA­SURE: Year-on-year rev­enue growth of 30 per cent since 2005.


Tra­di­tional fam­ily val­ues have been in­stru­men­tal to this home-build­ing brand’s suc­cess since it started fran­chis­ing in 1993. There are cur­rently 73 Hotondo Homes fran­chisees, and the av­er­age ten­ure is 10.3 years. More than a third of fran­chisees have been with the brand for at least 15 years.

Strong mar­ket­ing, sales, build­ing and de­sign sup­port en­ables fran­chisees to com­pete with na­tional build­ing groups; pro­cesses and poli­cies help them iden­tify ar­eas for im­prove­ment within their own busi­ness, which the fran­chisor can help them ad­dress.

Growth is tar­geted for metro mar­kets in Ade­laide, Bris­bane, Mel­bourne and Sydney, as well as re­gional ar­eas across the east­ern seaboard.

THE MEA­SURE: Sales in­quiries have in­creased 5.3 per cent over the same time last year, lead­ing to more client ap­point­ments and sales.


Hair­dress­ing ex­pe­ri­ence isn’t needed to own and run a Just Cuts fran­chise. Stylists are em­pow­ered to run all as­pects of the busi­ness, so many fran­chisees spend less than 30 hours a week work­ing on their busi­ness, and 53 per cent own more than one salon.

Fran­chisees stay for the long term - the first fran­chisee has been in a Just Cuts busi­ness since 1983.

A fixed-fee struc­ture means own­ers com­mit to a weekly in­vest­ment of 12 hair­cuts a week. The mar­ket­ing in­vest­ment is based on the same struc­ture at five hair­cuts a week.

THE MEA­SURE: The com­pany has opened a $3 mil­lion ware­house and in­ter­na­tional dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre fol­low­ing 40 per cent year-on-year sales growth since 2013. It of­fers an exclusive range of pro­fes­sional hair­care and styling prod­ucts.


MBE fran­chisees serve small to medium-size busi­nesses, pro­vid­ing tai­lored ser­vices cov­er­ing their pack­ing, ship­ping, print­ing and mar­ket­ing needs. It is es­sen­tially a one-stop shop pro­vid­ing back-of­fice sup­port.

The global brand has been fran­chis­ing for 22 years in Aus­tralia, where its net­work com­prises 35 fran­chises, nine of which are multi-unit busi­nesses.

MBE is in the midst of open­ing eight more cen­tres, and has just in­tro­duced an en­ter­prise-based train­ing pro­gram for fran­chisees. On av­er­age, a fran­chisee spends at least eight years in the net­work.

THE MEA­SURE: MBE is show­ing same-cen­tre sales growth over the past four years av­er­ag­ing 5.6 per cent.



Quest will be open­ing seven prop­er­ties across Aus­tralia be­fore 2019, its key growth mar­kets in­clud­ing New South Wales, Queens­land and Western Aus­tralia.

Its net­work of 150 prop­er­ties across Aus­trala­sia is run by about 180 fran­chisees, who typ­i­cally stay for five to seven years. Some are hus­band-and-wife teams or par­ent-and-child teams, and about 20 per cent have multi-fran­chises.

Quest launched in 1988 with the first fran­chisee start­ing busi­ness in Carl­ton, Vic­to­ria, in 1991.

The brand has been a pioneer in the ser­viced-apart­ment sec­tor, and this first-mover ad­van­tage has led to a sus­tained mar­ket lead­er­ship status. It is backed by fran­chisee com­mit­ment to de­liver the ex­tra 1 per cent on a daily ba­sis to ex­ceed guest ex­pec­ta­tions.

THE MEA­SURE: Growth is about 8 to 10 per cent.


One of Aus­trala­sia’s largest pool and spa spe­cial­ist groups, Swimart was es­tab­lished in 1983 as a sin­gle pool-re­tail store. Now the busi­ness has 73 fran­chise out­lets across Aus­tralia and New Zealand, with a fleet of more than 250 mo­bile­ser­vice vans.

The com­pany is back­ing metro and re­gional ex­pan­sion in­clud­ing both brick-and-mor­tar and mo­bile fran­chises.

Tes­ta­ment to its suc­cess as a sys­tem, sev­eral fran­chisees have ex­tended be­yond the five-year agree­ment with one op­tion to re­new, and have been with Swimart for more than 25 years.

THE MEA­SURE: Swimart fran­chisees have, on av­er­age, achieved strong sales growth, es­pe­cially in home pool ser­vices. This cor­po­rate work­place cof­fee busi­ness is or­gan­i­cally grow­ing its mar­ket share in all ter­ri­to­ries, with more than 150 out­lets through­out Aus­tralia, New Zealand and the US. About 10 per cent of fran­chisees have more than one out­let.

Over its 13 years as a fran­chise, Xpresso De­light has seen fran­chisees typ­i­cally stay for six or seven years. While they need pas­sion, en­thu­si­asm and mo­ti­va­tion for per­sonal growth, they don’t need ex­pe­ri­ence - the sup­port sys­tems and work mode have been de­signed to cater for peo­ple who have not been in busi­ness be­fore.

THE MEA­SURE: Xpresso De­light has same-store sales growth of 10 to 15 per cent.

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