Photo: Liam Smyth (left) and Gary Slevin are up and running in their new businesses, two of the latest three franchise owners at Countrywide Signs
It’s been a spectacular summer for estate agency board erection and maintenance franchise Countrywide Signs. After reporting an 85% annual leap in national account jobs passed to franchisees in May and June, the season’s celebrations have continued with three new franchise owners joining the nationwide network on 1 August.
Liam Smyth launched his new business in Slough at the same time as Eddie Robertson in Fife, while Gary Slevin has taken on a resale franchise covering Banbury and surrounding areas.
Liam becomes one of the youngest franchisees in the network. At just 25 years old, the former retail manager has already demonstrated a decidedly mature outlook when it comes to his business.
“As part of my research, I rang 150 estate agents and asked them how their current service was,” he says. “The average score was six out of 10, so I knew there was a lot of room for improvement! They already knew the brand and were pleased to hear Countrywide is coming to the area.”
Previously looking after the local online operation for a major supermarket, Liam says there’s a natural fit with his new business. “It’s all about customer service, a multi-van business, managing people. I know I can serve customers to the highest of standards, I’ve been doing it for the last seven years, so I know I can take that and succeed in this sector.
“That’s the stage I want to get to, expanding into more vans and bringing in a team. The Countrywide model is designed for me to do just that.”
Meanwhile Gary was quick to praise his experiences with the head office team. "Initially, they were very welcoming," he said. "It really stood out for me. You’re not just buying a franchise and then, ‘here you go, now go and get on with it’, there’s a whole organisation behind you. They want you to do well because that’s how they do well, it all works together. What they were giving as part of the package I thought was outstanding and far more than other franchises. I was telling friends and family about it and they couldn’t believe the level of support and the package I was getting. It’s outstanding."
Countrywide Signs director, Martin Attwood QFP, said: “This is the perfect way to cap what’s been a special summer. It’s great to welcome three ambitious new faces to the network and we look forward to supporting them in making a big success of their new ventures.”