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Why franchising works for me: Part 1

In the first of a two-part mini-series, Winkworth directors reveal why franchising has proved successful for them. This week: Howard Greenfield looks back over nearly a quarter of a century and shares insights, ideas, and inspiration for those who are thinking about opening a franchise.

In the first of a two-part mini-series, Winkworth directors reveal why franchising has proved successful for them. This week: Howard Greenfield looks back over nearly a quarter of a century and shares insights, ideas, and inspiration for those who are thinking about opening a franchise. Howard has been steadily expanding branches across north London, with his business partner Graham Gold, for almost 25 years. Now he runs Winkworth Golders Green, Finchley, Hendon and a new pop-up franchise in Colindale. Here is his story:

I spent most of the Eighties working in Hampstead Garden Suburb and was offered the Winkworth Golders Green franchise in 1993. The franchise model in those days was quite rudimentary by today's standards, but I saw the commercial possibilities and decided to purchase the franchise with a business associate, Graham Gold.

We were determined to run the business in a hands-on way and, at first, it was just the two of us, my wife and one other staff member. This was in the pre-email, pre-internet age, so the day-to-day running of the business was pretty old-fashioned: it depended on the personal touch, not technology.

But we made a success of it and, in 1998, when Winkworth decided to turn its Winkworth Finchley office into a franchise, we offered to take it over. That has also worked very well. More recently, we have expanded our area of operations geographically, taking on the Winkworth Hendon franchise in 2015, when the owner retired. This year, we have also set up a pop-up franchise in a brand new office, Colindale, in an area where 11,000 new homes are being built. There is a lot of potential in the market, and it is important not to have all your eggs in one basket.

The franchise model has been hugely beneficial and enabled us to expand steadily, incrementally and successfully.

Our business has gone from strength to strength. We now employ 24 staff and have learnt a lot over the years. Looking back, we could probably have expanded the business faster than we did. But we have always been flexible and, during difficult times in the property market, that flexibility has been critical. One of the distinctive features of our franchises has been that sales and rentals have been equally important, split more or less 50/50.

For anyone thinking of opening a franchise, it is worth remembering the amount of support you will receive. We receive massive support in terms of IT and marketing that would simply not be available if we were operating independently. It has been a two-way street, to our mutual advantage. The franchise model has been hugely beneficial and enabled us to expand steadily, incrementally and successfully.

Next week:

Narendra Gandhi (Director) of both the Ealing & Acton and Chiswick offices, looks back on a decade in franchising.

Have you been thinking of starting a franchise? Winkworth is looking for new franchisees to continue their successful growth.

Contact Gina Piper (Business Affairs Manager) on 020 7355 0200 or via email at gpiper@winkworth.com to find out more about starting your own Winkworth franchise. All conversations will be strictly private and confidential.

Learn more about franchising with articles, tips and advice on taking the next step in franchising: www.winkworth.co.uk/estate-agent-franchise

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