Franchise mobile opportunites still growing
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Anthony Davis | Director | Ink on the Run
Though not yet surveyed or rated by topfranchise.com.au we had a chance to catch up with the Director of Ink on the Run, Anthony Davis, and learn more about this growing mobile franchise group.
Along with personalised door to door services up and down the east coast of Australia, a strong environmental focus, a great range of different cartridges for a variety of office machinery, and a 100% money back guarantee, Ink on the Run's key to success is a proactive attitude toward customer service that can be summed up as: "I care and I can do". With this attitude toward customer service, and their ability to save their customers time and money, it is little wonder that Ink on the Run are the largest mobile franchise system in the print consumables market place.
About half of Ink on the Run's current franchisees came from word of mouth recommendations by already existing franchisees, which shows that there is good sentiment circulating about them. But where did the other half come from? What is it that keeps them afloat in the sea of franchising opportunities in Australia to those that do not know someone with an Ink on the Run franchise?
Other than the fact that the print consumables market is growing, unlike so many industries, with nearly every home and office having one if not multiple printers and a growing dissatisfaction with the cost and waste associated with their ongoing cartridge use, the thing that really sets an Ink on the Run franchise apart from other franchise business opportunities is the low start up costs and no shopfront requirements for becoming an Ink on the Run franchisee.
A present concern for potential franchisees is the unstable nature of our economy. "Unlike other businesses, an economic downturn is good for our franchisees, as refilling becomes a more desired alternative to just replacements, and corporate clients tend to look at a more cost effective alternative to the expensive original product" , says Anthony Davis, Director of Ink on the Run
Another factor is the level of passion that their current franchisees have for their brand, products and services. Franchisees commonly believe that Ink on the Run is the leader in mobile refilling and see the signage on the vans as one of their greatest marketing tools. Franchisees have also been commenting on the marked improvement in systems put in place by Ink on the Run Head Office over the last 12 months, with the ability to communicate immediately with them at any time. Franchisees never miss job opportunities and feedback from clients, as they are despatched to them directly from Head Office via SMS or email, as soon as they are received by the 1800 call centre or website. Franchisee's have access to their own forum which they use to both communicate between themselves and the franchisor.
Ongoing training and support is crucial to the success of any franchise system and Ink on the Run seems to take this aspect very seriously. Printers are constantly changing and as a result so are the consumables that are used in them. The Ink on the Run research and development team are continually keeping abreast of the latest changes, and making sure that franchisees are kept up to date, and trained, with the latest refill methods and products available. Ongoing efforts and negotiations are made by Head Office with suppliers to secure better quality products and pricing, and this, along with ongoing marketing campaigns promoting the benefits of the Ink on the Run value add service, ensures that Ink on the Run franchisees can remain market competitive.
How quickly a new franchisee for Ink on the Run gains the level of financial rewards they were expecting varies from franchisee to franchisee and is dependant on the effort they put in, their commitment and expectations. Ink on the Run show new franchisees what to expect with commitment from year one, and, based on historical franchisee figures, they should meet these expectations within about 3 years.
Another good way to assess franchise opportunities is to look at how many current franchisees renewed their original franchise agreement when it expired. 70% of Ink on the Run's franchisees have done this. The main reasons given for the renewals are that the franchisees had gone through the building stage of their business and were now better positioned, through brand awareness, to enjoy greater income and hence a better lifestyle.
Ink on the Run encourage franchisee expansion and see it as a "win-win" situation for both franchisee and franchisor. "They (franchisees) already have the expertise in their field and we as the franchisor simply need to support them when requested to employ and manage further staff", says Davis.