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HOUSE PROUD; MirrorBiz OUR WEEKLY LOOK AT FRANCHISING AND SMALL BUSINESS.

Byline: NICOLAS HOPKINS

SOME 15 years after being set up as a franchise, lettings agent Belvoir has won the Brand Builder top title at the BFA HSBC of the Year Awards.

Belvoir now has 140 franchisees, while the very first franchise - opened in 1996 - is still successfully trading in Moray, Scotland.

And its work in adapting to survive the recession and depressed property market meant Belvoir was the judges' number one choice for the BFA award.

The lettings specialist decided to be bold when the recession hit by investing solidly in marketing, recruitment and training at a time when most of its competitors were cutting costs.

Dorian Gonsalves, the company's managing director, recalls: "In 2010, when Belvoir faced increased competition, we invested heavily in the business and made positive changes to help the franchise network."

Belvoir was the first national UK lettings agency to produce an iPhone App, for instance.

Dorian hopes the franchise award can be the springboard to even greater success and is now looking for the right people to join the business.

Dorian says prospective franchise owners don't need to be property experts. "In fact 98% of our current owners did not have a property background prior to joining us," he adds.

The secret is training and support. A three-week course helps equip franchise owners with the knowledge they need to start running a successful lettings business. And rewards can be high - average annual branch turnover is almost pounds 160,000.

"We have 100 new territories available," says Dorian. "The kind of people we're looking for? They should be self-motivated, enthusiastic and ambitious."

The cost of a franchise is pounds 22,500 but potential owners should plan to invest between pounds 80,000 and pounds 100,000.

Find out more..

For information about Belvoir go to www.belvoirfranchise.com

For news and advice about franchising go to www.thebfa.org.uk

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 30, 2011
Words:319
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