About van based franchises
There’s a stereotype in the UK of the white van driver. Loud and aggressive, they’re a little bit dodgy, doing odd jobs for cash. But like most stereotypes, this is both not fair and not true. The reality is that van-based businesses are perfectly viable and legitimate. And in fact, the opportunities for van-based franchises are even on the increase.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has discovered that there are around four million vans on the UK’s roads and that these vehicles play a very important part in the UK economy. They are worth about £11 billion each year to the country, working in an array of areas. You could say that vans keep the country’s economy moving.
Van-based businesses are on the increase, with franchises proving to be a big part of their success. Of course, you can just buy a van, place a few adverts and wait for work. But being part of an established business model will help you make a success of your van enterprise.
Advantages of a van-based franchise
If you love driving or own a van already then it makes sense to try and make a living out of it. And there is no better way of doing that than by being part of a franchise. You won’t need any specialist equipment or even prior experience, and there are good franchise options out there that will let you start earning sooner than you thought.
The rise of online shopping has fuelled a delivery boom. Almost 9 out of 10 of us have bought products online in the past 12 months and this represents a huge customer base for van-based franchises to exploit.
Van franchises are also very easy to set up as a general rule. As most franchises are operated by single drivers and vehicles, there are no costly overheads, staff training or property rental costs.
A van franchise also gives you the opportunity to advertise as you go. The branding you will receive as part of your franchise package can be used to promote the business on the move. Have a phone number and email address clearly marked and you can pick up business as you go about your daily routine. The benefit of franchise branding is that it’s recognisable and comes with a professional touch. This level of branding strategy is often out of reach for independent businesses and will help you to increase your customer base quickly and with minimal fuss.
The mobility you get from a van-based franchise is also a major plus point. With a van you can work anywhere you want, covering different areas. So, you won’t be tied down to one postcode. It also allows you the freedom to organise your home life around work and vice versa, which an ordinary 9 to 5 job can sometimes prohibit.
The opportunity for growth in van-based franchises is also a plus point. Start with one van, doing the work yourself, and it may be possible to acquire further vehicles as part of your franchise deal. If you are busy then you can take on more staff, as you transition towards a more managerial role in the business.
Types of van-based franchise
There are many types of van based franchise. Below we outline some of the more commonly found options.
Cleaning and gardening franchises
With a van to carry equipment, tools and products, your business revolves around visiting clients’ properties and doing work for an agreed fee. This is a franchise option that benefits from the branding, marketing and client base of the parent franchise. It is also one that offers good opportunity for growth.
Automotive business franchises
After their homes, most people’s most treasured possession is the car. Over their lifetime the average Brit will spend around £28,444 on servicing their vehicle. So that’s a huge market to tap into, especially if you can offer a mobile service that lets them cut down on spending and time. Repairing scratches and damage to body work can be done with tools that fit in a van. Likewise, car cleaning services and refurbishing alloy wheels are good options.
Van based coffee shop, and mobile cafe franchises
Mobile café franchises are another great way to claim a bigger share of the market. Unlike static cafes which rely on passing trade and regular custom, with a mobile service you can go to where the customers are. Hit the festivals in the summer, park outside train stations at rush hour – anywhere where there are people, park up and open for business.
Delivery services and courier franchises
As we mentioned above, around 87% of people ordered goods online in the last year. But more and more of us are doing all of our shopping online. This is especially true at Christmas, when the normal delivery services struggle to cope. There are big advantages to having a van-based delivery service in a growing market.
Trades and skills
Most tradesmen will need to carry at least some tools and materials, which is where having a van comes in. The real selling point of the business may be the knowledge and expertise that you possess. However, that can only be fully realised with a van enabling easy movement and transport of goods and tools. There are also plenty of specialist services available as franchise opportunities that rely on vans, including drain cleaning and guttering – many of which come with training as part of the franchise deal.
Depending on the type of van, you can also run shuttle or private transport services. Major transport hubs like airports and train stations are key areas, but so are schools and transport for specialist services. You’ll need to be flexible, but people moving is always an in-demand service, so you’ll always be busy.
Before choosing a franchise
If you have decided a franchise is the right option for your van business, then that’s probably a good decision. However, the hard part is choosing which franchise will suit you best. It’s worth visiting the headquarters of at least a few different franchises, finding out how they operate and what sets them apart. Ask questions about the level of support you will receive before and during the process.
It’s also a good idea to try and speak to some of the franchisees to see how they have found the experience. Ask to see books or other hard evidence of incomes and expenditure to work out how successful you are likely to be.
Discuss territory options, branding policy and find out your rights regarding expanding the business should you need to.
So, the old image of the white van man, newspaper rolled up on the dash, beeping his horn at anyone who gets in his way, is on its way out. In its place there is a fleet of professional, franchised businesses delivering goods and services across the UK. Mobility, flexibility and opportunity are the three main advantages of van-based franchises, and in a changing marketplace, being able to adapt is the key to success.