North Star: Mac Tools franchisee launches second territory

A rugby club with special powers has struck again for Mac Tools franchisee Richard North, after he became one of a select few at the franchise to take on a second territory and employ someone to work with him.

Richard launched his first Mac franchise in autumn 2016 after being introduced to the brand through a friend at the club, an existing franchisee. Eighteen months and a second franchise later, when he needed to find someone to manage his old area while he focused on the new, he knew exactly where to turn.

Richard has employed his friend and fellow rugby player, Shaun Lambe, to do the rounds in his first territory – which, naturally, is around Rugby, Warwickshire – while he takes control of the second franchise nearer his home, outside Northampton.

The shift from owner-operator to employer and multi-unit owner was always in Richard’s plan, but required very close working relationships between the parties to ensure the right foundations are in place for sustainable, long-term success.

Richard, a former DHL project manager, said: “There are some second vans on existing territories, but few in the network have a second franchise itself. I started out with the intention of multiple vans and multiple franchises, I’ve been speaking to Mac about it for a while now. I thought it would take a little longer, but the territory around where I live came up for sale so it accelerated my plans.

“While they normally insist on a multi-site franchisee having more experience with the network, I’ve always done things the ‘Mac way’, it really suits my personality and style, so they wanted to work with me on making it happen. They’re good people, they look after me well and it really works for me. Coming out of the corporate, ruthlessly efficient world, it’s been so welcome and different, and that’s because Mac care. It’s fantastic to have that support as I expand.”

Richard and Shaun have already spent several days together on the van, introducing Shaun to customers and systems, and he’s also undergone exactly the same comprehensive training and on-boarding process as new franchisees do at the Mac Tools head office.

Shaun said: “It gives me the same grounding as everyone else and means we’re all singing from the same song sheet as it were. For me, I was looking to get out of my old job because of the shifts and unsociable hours. I was just turning 40 as well and wanted to build something for myself. Having been out on the van with him, I got to see the business up close, so I knew it was something I wanted to do.”

An innovative plan will see Shaun gradually build up his stake in the business, with further expansion plans pencilled in for the future. “For the first couple of years, as I hit my targets I get a small percentage of the business and build up my partnership within it,” said Shaun. “That way I don’t need a lot of cash right off the bat, and if we can build the partnership it’s in both our interests, and those of Mac too.”

Richard already has bigger plans in mind: “I’d like to go for a third franchise or a third van within this year,” he says. “The biggest thing is keeping on top of cash flow, making sure margins are right and we have a sustainable business. I’ll decide then whether a third van or a third franchise makes most sense. That’s the plan anyway!”

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