Franchising: a stable platform for future business success

From the political and economic uncertainty around Brexit and the UK’s minority government, to the increasing impact of technology on every aspect of our lives, it can be hard to keep up. This is as true in the business world as anywhere, but uncertainty can also deliver big opportunities.

To take advantage of these, you need a dynamic, innovative business, but you also need a solid, stable foundation to allow the fundamentals to keep running smoothly at times of change.

Franchising is a business model that can deliver exactly this ideal – established ways of working, in combination with entrepreneurial, motivated people. So it’s perhaps not surprising that franchising is a rising star in the UK economy.


The popularity of franchising can be traced back to the 1950s and 1960s, when some of the major fast-food brands, among other companies, used franchising to expand their businesses rapidly. In 1977 the British Franchise Association (bfa) was established, to promote ethical franchise practices in the UK.

Franchising is a rising star in the UK economy

Subsequently, UK franchising has flourished and is a major contributor to the UK economy. The most recent bfa/NatWest Franchise Survey in 2015 reported a UK franchise industry turnover of £15.1 billion, which represents an 8 per cent increase on the £12.4 billion in 2010. The survey also indicated that 97 per cent of franchisees were operating profitably.

HSBC head of franchising Andrew Brattesani says: “There is a lot of talk about scalable growth, but within the franchise sector we are seeing it happen on a massive scale. This presents some huge opportunities for ambitious and talented business owners.”


There are lots of established principles on how to run a good business; a growing franchise network is an excellent example of these principles being put into practice. A business can only grow and expand through franchising if it’s based upon an already proven business model. Plus it’s a two-way process, with the franchisor and the franchisee working together to seal one another’s success.

A good franchisor will fully vet potential franchisees for their future fit within the business, which ensures talent within the management structure. And in return for an investment to operate under their brand, the franchisor will provide initial and ongoing training and support.


As the bfa celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017, one of the UK’s leading and award-winning franchising brands, Driver Hire, was celebrating 30 years of franchising. A specialist franchise operating in the recruitment sector, Driver Hire primarily provides candidates to the transport and logistics sector.

Enjoying a record level of turnover growth for their fourth consecutive year, Driver Hire has effectively expanded its national network of offices through franchising. In the financial year 2016-17, the Driver Hire network exceeded £100-million turnover for the first time. This resulted in a full-year average franchisee turnover figure for a single unit of £1,106,427, compared with a UK average of £378,000, according to the annual bfa/NatWest survey.

This outstanding financial performance for Driver Hire was accompanied by the silver award in the bfa HSBC 2017 Franchisor of the Year awards. Pip Wilkins, bfa chief executive, comments: “Driver Hire’s achievement is truly inspiring and, as judges, we couldn’t help but notice the team’s sheer dedication to its network of franchisees. We are excited to see how the business shapes itself in the near future.”

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