Gary Rigby: What was the inspiration and origins of the Dream Doors Franchise?
Troy Tappenden: I was unhappy with my current situation and wanted something new. I had been thinking about Franchising for a while but needed to find a sector which excited me and, wanting to be my own boss, like many Franchise Owners. I went to a Franchise Exhibition and this inspired me to look at possibly franchising my business in the future; one day when reading a national newspaper Business Opportunity page and advert for kitchen refurbishment company inspired me to look at this further. I had no previous experience in this sector but on researching the opportunity further, I could see the potential within the market, and that’s when quality replacement doors as opposed to replacing the whole carcass gave me the idea.
GR: How long have Dream Doors been Franchising and what sort of coverage of the UK do you have?
TT: Dream Doors is in its 10th year of franchising, running the first three years as a private company fine tuning all aspects of operational, sales and marketing initiatives in readiness for Franchising. Coverage of UK stretches from the Scottish Borders (we are looking for Scottish Franchise Owners), to the Channel Islands, then down to Exeter and over to Norwich, across to Tunbridge Wells and Cardiff We are also looking for Franchise owners in the Midlands at this stage to compliment our national coverage.
GR: Is there a particular profile of Franchise Owner that you are looking for?
TT: Ideally we are looking for white collar management with a good sales background; they need to be determined, focussed and possess the desire to succeed. The possession of good management and organisational skills, people skills, computer literate and able to manage a team as the business develops. .
GR: Supporting the Franchise Owners is an essential part of the support services; how do Dream Doors and its Management Team achieve this?
TT: There are 3 national managers to provide in territory support, we have an online marketing manager generating additional leads. We are also on all social network websites and run best practice training, external sales training, plus supplier training days. We use an external marketing company to provide professional before and after photography. Other marketing activities include mailshots, intranet system etc...
GR: Can you explain how you research your territories in terms of demographics of the catchment area?
TT: They have territory exclusive postcodes on average 250,000 - 400,000 population, with minimum over 100,000 population over 45 yrs of age. Over the many years we have proven the ideal geographical areas through demographic profiling.
GR: What sort of capital do I need to purchase a Dream Doors Franchise?
TT: Approx. £70k to include franchise package fee. We have two options as a Franchise Model one that operates from an independent showroom and the second from Garden Centres
GR: I presume that marketing plays a major part in your success, how is this relationship managed between the Franchisor and the Franchise Owner?
TT: The Franchise Owner is responsible for their local marketing and they are required to spend a specified amount each month. As a Franchisor we spend a defined amount each year on National Marketing which comes from a contribution from the Franchise network. The marketing spend is agreed with our Franchise Owners to maximise the returns to the network as a whole.
GR: I understand that you’ve gained considerable experience with regards to the operational model and commercial premises, can you explain more?
TT: We initially started the business working from home but we could clearly demonstrate that working from a dedicated Showroom quadrupled turnover and more importantly gave credibility in relation to the customer. Again, the Franchise Owner is buying into our experience of many years and as a result avoids the pitfalls of starting their own business.
GR: Recognition and motivation of the Franchising Network seems to play a major part in your success, how is this achieved?
TT: As a company that continuously develops its business and researches its market, we have a Management Services Scheme that truly embraces and win win philosophy, this has worked particularly well for Dream Doors over the years and has rewarded those Franchise Owners who have been highly successful and encouraged others to achieve their ambitions.
GR: What are your objectives for the next five years?
TT: Currently we have 45 showrooms across the UK and we are looking to expand the Dream Doors network over the next few years. Ultimately we are looking at achieving network coverage of some 100 Franchisees.