Day in the Life of a Franchisee: Paul Maes from Expense Reduction Analysts
What it is actually like to be a franchisee? In this interview we speak to Paul Maes from Expense Reduction Analysts and look at the life of a franchisee – important information if you are considering becoming one.
Why did you want to become a franchisee?
I had little or no knowledge of franchising. I went to a franchise show and was amazed by the number of franchises available. What really attracted me was the business-to-business franchises and the concept of a management franchise really got me going. It was what I wanted to do.
Do you work weekends?
I don’t generally work weekends, however there are times where if it’s a busy period I need to go into the office to finish the work.
What is your daily schedule like?
A normal day for me would begin by getting to the office at 7:30am. I would start off by organising and planning my day. When all of my daily tasks have been completed I generally head home around 5pm.
Where do you work?
I initially worked from home in a bedroom that was converted into an office. However I now have an office space that I work in throughout the week. I find it a lot easier to focus and get straight into ‘work mode’ in a separate office, especially as there are no distractions when making calls to clients and suppliers in a dedicated office environment. A lot of my fellow consultants work from home efficiently, but it’s more effective for me to rent an office as there are no distractions.
How many staff do you have?
The great thing about the ERA franchise model is that I don’t need to employ any staff; however my wife does help me with the accounts side of the business, freeing me up so I can focus more of my time on my clients.
How often do you have contact with the franchisor?
Like most franchise partners with ERA I do have regular contact with Group Office and this was of great comfort during the early days. As I live in Hampshire it isn’t that far for me to travel to go and see them for advice, help, and updates on current activities, although I usually speak to them on the phone. Everyone is always friendly and very receptive to my ideas and feedback.
How does being a franchise differ from working in a 9-to-5 job?
I work about the same hours as your standard 9-to-5 job however I have a lot more flexibility in the structure of my days. On Fridays I catch up with my business partner on the activity over the week for each project and carry out administrative duties. Fortunately, the work/life balance factor of running your own franchise means I am usually able to slip off early on a Friday and begin the weekend, spending as much time with my three young children as possible.
What are the benefits of being a franchisee?
There are a couple of really big benefits of any franchise. The main ones that appealed to me were the fact that it’s a proven system, so it gives you a platform from which you can develop. The second fact is that you can raise finance easily because you can take it to the bank on the back of a proven system.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a franchisee?
It has to be the enjoyment of success. When I issued my very first invoice the feeling that I got of knowing that each and every penny on that invoice was self-generated was immensely satisfying. And this has just grown over time. I just want to keep enjoying that feeling. Issuing an invoice and knowing every penny on there is because of your hard work makes it all worthwhile.
What are the challenges of being a franchisee?
You need to be self-motivated and have the drive to be able to contact clients and put all the work in to make your business successful. If you have the ambition and are willing to put the research in to get the results you desire you will succeed. At ERA there is a whole team of people that are always willing to help and guide you through any problems with contacting clients, with meetings, with marketing. There is someone there to help you every step of the way if you need it. So for me, working with ERA means that any challenges that I have faced have been overcome by hard work and having a good support network behind me. All of the challenges have been outweighed by the success that is brought at the end, financially and lifestyle-wise. I love the ability to enjoy success.