Mark finds the freedom to grow his own business as his Countrywide Signs journey begins...
It’s been a varied and interesting journey that brought Mark Garfield to Countrywide Signs. Previous careers included life on the road as a multi-drop delivery driver and, more recently, a spell working in a local prison, teaching NVQ courses in horticulture to inmates as part of their rehabilitation programme.
But one thing that stayed with Mark throughout this journey was the sense of freedom he enjoyed when working as a delivery driver. And it was this feeling that he was eager to recapture when he made the big decision to start working for himself.
“As a delivery driver, even when you’re working for someone else you’re essentially responsible for yourself,” explains Mark. “And I enjoyed that aspect of the work – you manage your time to get the job done. Being your own boss is an extension of that way of working.”
Mark’s next step was to start looking at franchise opportunities that would offer him the freedom he sought. After first researching car dent repair and painting franchises, he realised he wanted a business that would be more resilient in a recession. Something he recognised in Countrywide Signs: “If people aren’t selling houses, people are renting them – so the housing market always needs a board service. So when I came across the Countrywide franchise resale in May and saw that it was in the Nottingham area where I live, it ticked all the right boxes.”
Because Mark’s franchise purchase was a resale, he had access to an already established customer base. But he still had to prove that he could provide the premium customer service that these customers – and all of Countrywide Signs’ customers – have come to expect. And that’s where the franchise support model that underpins the Countrywide opportunity came into play: With this support on his side, Mark is confident that he can build on his existing customer base to win new clients and make the most of what the territory has to offer. And, just as importantly, he’s confident that he has found the freedom and responsibility he needs for a rewarding career and home life.
“Coming in and buying a resale, I think my process was a little different from a new territory as I already had a customer base I had to win over”
“The initial support from Ian and the team has been great. Ian came out with me for a week to help me get up and running, and the support for the business from Head office is ongoing – I know that they are always only a phone call away.”
- Interview - 2014.