Linda and Peter Pailthorpe established a successful inventory management business but needed to grow the business to deal with the demand and changes in legislation. At a time when the founders of the No Letting Go franchise were first researching the No Letting Go franchise concept, they identified Linda and Peter’s business as the ideal launch platform for the brand and approached the couple with their sound business proposition. Linda and Peter, recognising the opportunity to further grow and develop their business via the extensive support and resources of the No Letting Go franchise network were delighted to accept the opportunity of becoming No Letting Go’s first franchisee.
Linda and Peter Pailthorpe
Inventory management : charting the path to success
For Linda, setting up her own inventory management business represented a natural progression. Having worked in a number of industry sectors previously, including stints in the restaurant, audio visual and property management trade, she took on an in-house role handling inventories for an estate agent.
After a two year stint as an employed in-house inventory specialist, Linda was starting to feel restless. Whilst thriving on the variety of the work and enjoying the job itself, she recognised that it was definitely her employers rather than herself who were benefiting from the revenue she was bringing in.
Through her existing employment, Linda had identified the opportunity to run an inventory management service as a separate stand alone business, independent of the letting agent. She also recognised that this type of enterprise would offer her not only the income, but also the flexibility she required to maintain her family commitments.
Having made the decision to go it alone, Linda initiated a direct mail campaign targeting letting agents in her area to ascertain their interest in the service. The results were pleasantly surprising and after a number of follow up calls, the business began to gather momentum as Linda secured her first clients.
Within just one year, the volume of work being generated by Linda was overwhelming and the couple took the decision that Linda’s husband Peter should give up his full-time position with NTL to join the inventory management business.
When asked which aspects of the work Linda enjoys most, the quick response is “the variety, no two days are the same and I love meeting different people and having the opportunity to visit so many different properties”. As with any career, there are the inevitable less favourable aspects to the job and in Linda’s case (as with so many people who run their own business), it is the dreaded paperwork!
Eighteen months on from Peter’s arrival in the business, Linda and Peter employed three further part-time staff. Now the couple tend to split the work load so that Peter attends to the bulk of all inventory check in’s / check out’s and interim visits during the week with Linda handling most of the associated paperwork with some back up assistance to keep on top of the typing of inventory reports. At the weekend it is all hands to the deck as Linda and Peter both take on the call out jobs with the added support of part-time employees. Support staff are responsible for typing up their own inventories which helps to ease the pressure on Linda.
Prior to becoming a No Letting Go business, the company generated an average of four to five jobs per day but it was clear that the demand outstripped the supply in terms of the availability of good inventory businesses. “We recognised that we could easily build our business to double its turn over, which is why we decided to work with Nick and the team at No Letting Go, providing us with the opportunity to benefit from the extensive resources and business mentoring services which are part and parcel of the No Letting Go franchise arrangement. Already we have grown both the team and turnover, and we’re looking at healthily increased profits” say s Linda.
The couple recently won two key contracts which amount to the company having sole responsibility for the handling of all inventories for two high profile letting agents, each with a network of three branches. When asked why she felt the business had been so successful in generating regular sales – and ultimately profit, Linda comments “I think what makes us stand apart from other inventory management services is that our inventories are consistent and very detailed, we always respond to client requests on time and we work really hard to accommodate our client’s needs by offering a flexible and cost effective solution”.
So do Linda and Peter have any pearls of wisdom to share with entrepreneurs contemplating starting up a No Letting Go inventory management business? “You’ve got to be a detail focussed type of person, very observant and patience is a definite virtue in this sector! We’ve found that running the business as a couple has worked really well for us, but of course the same opportunities apply for a single person, although if you enjoy the same degree of success as we have, it won’t be long before you need to bring in some additional support”.
NO LETTING GO MEDWAY
Making that final decision to go it alone and start your own business is right up there with a handful of life changing experiences, but for some, that defining moment and personal call to action, simply represents a natural path to follow. Such was the case with Chris Holmes.
For Chris, the enormity of that traditional “leap of faith” was very much reduced as a result of his previous experience of launching a child day care business which he had grown and developed over a period of four years. Having already effectively steered one company to success, the opportunity to face a fresh challenge in a totally disparate market, was far from daunting, and rather, provided Chris with the renewed impetus to expand his repertoire of business management skills.
Chris’ first career was in the mobile telecommunications network, where he had held a series of high profile Quality Assurance type roles. His remit had required him to work overseas for a period of time and it was during one of these postings that he decided it was time to change the work / life balance. With two young children, and a wife that worked full-time it was inevitable that the couple would have to rely heavily on the resources of a local nursery to accommodate their demanding work schedules. However, Chris realised there was another solution to their dilemma. By establishing his own business in the child care sector, not only would he resume control of his working life and be in a position to adapt his hours of work to fit around his family commitments, so too would he be able offer his children a new standard of high quality child care which he felt was currently lacking in the immediate locality.
Once the nursery was an established business – and as the children began to head towards school age, Chris began to feel the need to not just flex his business muscles in a new sector, he also wanted to craft another enterprise which would enable him to combine the responsibilities of after school child care with running a profitable company.
The franchise route appealed to Chris although at this stage, he was unclear what type of franchise he was looking for and in what market sector. An advertisement for the Kent Franchise Show in the Kent Messenger newspaper caught his eye and having been drawn into the article, he then spotted an advertisement specifically promoting the newly launched No Letting Go franchise opportunity.
Chris visited the Kent Franchise Show with the specific aim of finding out more about No Letting Go. Since purchasing a second buy to rent property, Chris already fully appreciated the absolute necessity for a thorough, detailed and fair inventory report to protect his property investment and could identify strongly with the No Letting Go proposition. His background in quality management seemed a natural fit with the nature of the inventory management business and straight away Chris felt that this franchise opportunity would suit not only his skills and experience to date, but would also fit around his aspirations to grow a property portfolio and most important of all, could deliver the flexible working arrangements that were imperative to maintain his family commitments.
After the initial meeting with No Letting Go at the show, further discussions simply highlighted to Chris the synergy between this new franchise opportunity and his business / personal requirements and it took just a few weeks for him to make the decision to take on the Medway franchise. Part of the appeal of the No Letting Go business was the smooth and speedy transition from training to trading and having completed his initial desk training session with the company’s training director, followed by practical in-the-field shadowing an experienced inventory clerk, Chris was ready to launch his latest venture.
“I specifically chose the Medway territory as I feel it represents a genuine growth area, evidenced by the regeneration of the Chatham / Rochester / Strood docklands, the planned redevelopment of the Chatham shopping centre and the arrival of a new hotel to service the region. All these factors bode well for a company looking to provide an essential service to the residential lettings sector and I am confident that over the next five years, this area will have been transformed – providing significant commercial opportunities for a business such as No Letting Go” says Chris.