The boss of an IT reseller that is looking to set up a franchise model in the UK has cited the business template of McDonald's as a key influence.
Northampton-based UK Computer Supplies is planning to build a 19-strong network of franchisees over the next three years.
The franchisees, who will typically be experienced sales staff striving to take more ownership over their careers, will get a 70 per cent cut of the gross profit on their sales.
UK Computer Supplies will pocket the remaining 30 per cent, as well as various charges, in return for taking care of their back-office needs.
Talking to CRN, managing director Gary Watson said his firm's aborted attempt to set up offices off its own steam a few years back had convinced him that a franchising model is a better option.
"I read [former McDonalds CEO] Ray Kroc's book years ago and thought it was a great concept. I always thought at the back of my mind - why hasn't this been done in our industry? I've been talking to an external franchising company for the last year about the best way to do it."
UK Computer Supplies has already accepted its first two franchisees and is aiming to enlist a further four in 2018, five in 2019 and six in 2020.
These could be offices set up by one or two experienced staff breaking off from a competitor, who then go on to recruit a team of their own, Watson explained. There is also a franchise option for remote workers.
"What we're trying to do is something in my opinion that's not really been done in our industry before," he said.
"We've opened offices before in Leeds and London - but the problem is if you don't give them ownership they're not motivated and you're constantly trying to get them focused and give them promotions to energise their sales staff, when you want them to do it themselves.
"I started this company eight years ago and it was me sitting in a room with no credit limits or suppliers, and limited cashflow. You have nothing.
"If you're a senior sales person at another reseller, you might be a team leader, have a company car, and be earning good money, but the big question is: what's next? They're the kind of people we want to tap into and what we're trying to do is give them that next step and make it as simple as possible for them."
Watson said that UK Computer Supplies, which he said is on course to turn over £20m this year, will carry out all the transactional work from its head office. This includes placing orders with suppliers, invoicing and credit control.
"They get 70 per cent of the profit on their sales orders, so if at the end of the month they'd done £10,000 in profit they'd get £7,000 of that. It's then down to them to pay the wages and bills," he explained.
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