Every year the new franchising team at Winkworth help to sell a number of existing offices to new owners. This can be due to several reasons; the current franchisee may be looking to retire, relocate, concentrate on other business interests or simply wish to exit because the franchise term of 10 years is up.
Buying a Winkworth office is a great opportunity for enthusiastic individuals to own their own business which is already established and supported by a reputable brand. “We help incoming franchisees buy the offices in various ways, either as a whole business, via buyout schemes over time or through equity shares,” comments Gina Piper, Winkworth operations manager. “The smaller offices are a perfect fit for experienced managers looking to take the next step in their careers as they provide a great ready-made platform to help build new business and increase turnover. The larger offices could be a perfect venture for already experienced business owners who are looking to expand.”
Due to the ranging values of the existing Winkworth offices and the different circumstances of the existing franchisees, there are different ways of selling and purchasing the offices. “The Winkworth franchise agreements run for a period of 10 years, with the option to renew for another 10, so the resales of the long-standing offices often happen in cycles,” explains Gina. “Some of our most established offices in the network have been owned and operated by the same franchisees for 20-30 years and as such have large lettings and management portfolios attached to them, resulting in them having a higher value.” In cases like these, Winkworth looks for potential franchisees who can purchase a minimum 50% of asking price upfront, which could cost up to a couple of hundred thousand pounds in some circumstances. The incoming franchisee will then negotiate a buyout over several years for the remaining 50%. “We find this works quite well for both parties involved as the buyer can keep a financial reserve for cash flow purposes and the seller receives a lump sum annual payment over three to five years,” Gina explains.
Recently Winkworth has noticed an increased number of 20-30 year olds wishing to join the network, which is encouraging. “Although these hungry young millennials are exactly what we are looking for in the next generation of franchisees, unfortunately and in most circumstances, they simply don’t have the finances or assets needed to secure large loans in order to purchase a more established office,” comments Gina. Winkworth then looks to either marry these individuals up with the smaller offices that might be for sale, as although they are more affordable, they offer huge revenue growth opportunities, or - introduce them to existing franchisees who might be looking for a management buyout over time.
“Lots of the offices across the network are part-owned by the managers,” explains Gina. “This is a fantastic way of keeping them motivated whilst also providing a long-term exit strategy for the existing franchisees.” Often, with the franchisee’s permission, managers start small by purchasing a 5% shareholding in the franchise they are working for, working up to purchase additional shares over time.
If you would like to learn more about the various ways of buying a Winkworth office and what might suit you best, as well as finding out which offices are currently available for sale, get in contact with the new franchising team today.