History of UK franchising
  • Nov 18, 2015
  • clive.smith
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History of UK franchising

On 30th September 2015, Clive Smith held a webinar that covered all you need to know to franchise your business. Over the course of the hour-long webinar, Clive takes us through the background of franchising, the principles, the mechanics and the requirements. In this video he takes us through the history of UK franchising.

You are going to wonder what this machine is. This machine is actually a drain cleaning machine – it is a Spartan 1065 – and it has a surprising influence over the UK franchising industry. This is because of a man call Jim Zockall who was the pioneer of UK franchising.

Jim started franchising his business, Dyno-Rod, in 1965 having set it up in 1963. He was an American living in South London. He was a pilot who was flying planes with Pan Am for domestic routes in Europe. As with many pilots, he found himself with many weeks of at the time and with all that time he wanted to do something. With that time he identified a need for a better level of drain cleaning.

All he saw when it came to dealing with blocked drains was the plumbers running around with cane rods which was very unsophisticated. He knew that in the States it was much more sophisticated. So he got hold of one of the machines (the Spartan 1065) and started cleaning drains in his spare time. He quickly found that he had a real business which grew very quickly.

It came to a point when he thought that he wanted to continue flying planes and didn’t have a huge business acumen but do have a lot of entrepreneurial drive. Bearing in mind that he was American, he realised a way forward for him was franchising. At the time, not many people knew about franchising at all in the UK. However, Jim managed to convince people to take on ads in the newspapers and he sold his first franchise in 1965.

If you look at what Dyno-Rod has achieved, Jim created a business that thrived as a franchise because:

  • he recognised there was a demand for the service
  • he had a unique selling point (USP) – as an American he brought the service with a lot of panache and style and at the time there was no other service like it
  • he ensured that there was exclusivity – he went to the manufactures of the drain cleaning machine and got exclusivity of the product for the UK
  • he registered his trademark
  • he developed a great corporate identity
  • he realised he could train people to use the machine fairly quickly
  • he developed good marketing methodologies
  • he proved the business to be viable

Connect with Clive Smith

Franchise Intelligence
Senior Franchising Consultant

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