Owning a franchise means leading from the front
Tom Parry was the first new franchise owner to join The Property Franchise Group in 2017, completing his purchase of the Ellis & Co Tonbridge office on January 1st 2017. How is Tom finding the experience of running his own business, and what drew him to becoming a franchise owner?
“I have been working in the Tonbridge office since 2008,” says Tom. “I was initially a lettings consultant and then started managing the branch in 2016, so the final jump wasn’t too big.
Being involved with the specific branch for so long I had an insight to the background franchise operation and the additional support that this brings with it."
I could have set up independently if I wanted, but running an office without major costs like a website carries obvious benefits, and I had a far-reaching network of offices to learn from.
How did Tom transition from office manager to business owner?
“I was in continuous conversation with the Head Office team in Bournemouth, and also received training. I had a personal advantage of already knowing my business inside out, so we were flexible in our approach. Also, I stay in regular contact with my business development manager and he has been a great source of advice and knowledge.”
Tom also had the benefit of retaining the previous franchise owner, Peter Conetta, as a consultant.
“Peter is a massively experienced guy and he set an amazing example running the Tonbridge office before me. When he decided to step back I knew I could learn a lot from him, so we are still in regular contact.”
Has Tom’s routine changed now that he’s running the business?
I was already used to running meetings and dealing with clients, but as a franchise owner I am able to stamp my personality onto the business as well as just overseeing it.
"If anything, calling the business my own has given me that extra drive to make the most of this opportunity"
Becoming a business owner is a daunting prospect and one that carries inherent risk. Did Tom feel he was ready to turn to franchising as a career move?
“Yes. I’m hungry for success and not afraid to ask for help. These are possibly the two biggest parts of making the most of a franchise – you need to stay motivated to get anything from your business, but you also get the benefit of using the support structures when required. I’m still pretty young to be a franchise owner and I’m looking forward to a successful partnership.”
Does Tom have any long term goals against which he’ll measure his success?
“My plan is become the top local agent. We’re currently 4th in lettings and 12th in sales so there is some way to go. Once we accomplish that I will look to expanding into multiple offices that can all offer first-class service.”
Ellis & Co is a brand that attracts hardened property professionals. What advice does Tom have for those looking to franchise in London?
“You must know your local market. Creating a business plan becomes so much easier when you know your area in minute detail. You also need drive. Owning a franchise means you have to lead from the front. Your business, your staff and your profits will all reflect the direction and speed at which you move.”