Redstones Franchise Books

Redstones – Your Franchisor of Choice

Before you read on, take a look at what our franchisees have to say about life as a Redstones franchisee and why Redstones was their franchisor of choice.

Making that final decision on which franchise brand to invest in is not something to be taken lightly.  To see a return on your investment you need to know that the franchisor you choose understands their market, offers a proven business model and will support you as you grow your new business.

A franchise with Redstones can offer you all of that and more. Here’s why:-

A thriving market – Britain is fast becoming a nation of renters.  According to the latest figures for 2014 released by the English Housing Survey, 18% of all households are now rented privately. As levels of owner occupation in the housing market continue to decline ‘the private lettings market is predicted to see significant growth.

An affordable investment – Redstones offers its franchisees a comparatively low cost entry to market.  The total investment for a turnkey franchise operation is between £20,000-£25,000 which includes our franchise fee of £11,995, comprehensive training and everything you need to launch your own lettings agency.

Larger territories – All of our franchise territories offer equal opportunities for revenue and the operation of a profitable business. With our unique mapping system, every franchisee is guaranteed a territory comprising around 100,000 properties and a population of approximately 250,000.

Premises – While some lettings agency franchisors will insist you launch your business from a high street premises, at Redstones we recognise that this places unnecessary pressure on the running costs of a new business.  For this reason, we generally insist on our franchisees operating from serviced offices away from the high street.  The only exception is for franchisees with previous industry experience.

Flexibility – When our franchisees are established in the lettings sector, we offer the option to expand into the residential sales market.  Again, franchisees with prior industry experience may wish to take advantage of this option from the outset.

Innovative marketing – When it comes to marketing, a strong online profile is essential. At Redstones we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of all of the latest developments in technology and have taken full advantage of social and online marketing.  As a Redstones franchisee you will benefit from our innovative and comprehensive marketing strategy which ensures our brand name ranks highly in search engines.

Reputable brand – Wherever you see the Redstones logo you can be assured of outstanding customer service and attention to detail.  Furthermore, we continually seek to improve our offering with unique services to our customers that set us apart from the competition. Two prime examples of this approach are our Switch Agents facility and our Platinum Total Care service.

Support when you need it – With the in-depth lettings and property sales expertise of our Founder Manjit Virdi and the extensive franchising know-how of our Franchise Director Chris Gillam, you are assured of the support you need, when you need it.

BFA members – Redstones is proud to be a member of the British Franchise Association which vets all of its members for ethics and standards.

If you have any questions or wish to explore the opportunities available to you as a Redstones franchisee, please get in touch.

Redstones Walsall Estate Agents

6 Tips For Presenting Your Property For Sale

At Redstones, we are often asked by our clients on the best way to present their property for an early sale.  This is known as ‘staging’ – preparing your home for potential buyers to view.  When it is done properly, not only will your house sell faster but it can sell at a higher price than you originally expected.

Here are our top six tips:-

First impressions count : Take an objective view of your house as you approach it.  A messy hedge, or peeling front door frame doesn’t give the best impression. The majority of buyers like to be able to move into a pristine house and decorate it to their taste at their leisure.  We recommend hiring a local handyman to do any superficial exterior work – it won’t cost much but you will reap the rewards.

Declutter without losing the sense of a ‘home’.  We all have possessions lying around that we leave unattended for weeks (or longer!) Declutter this ‘stuff’ by tidying it up and removing it from view.  Give your potential buyers the opportunity to imagine what your property would look like if they owned it.

Consider a fresh lick of paint in a neutral, light colour. Not only will your home be brighter, it will seem bigger and more appealing.  It’s also easier for potential buyers to think about moving straight in than when confronted with startling, unusual colour schemes.  Lime green may be your favourite colour but it isn’t to everyone’s taste.

Clean it up : Take it from us, you house should be in a pristine condition to improve your chances of selling quickly and at your asking price. Clean everything in sight until it sparkles.  Kitchens and bathrooms should be your priority; all ovens, hobs, stainless steel and chrome services should be gleaming.  Remove all mould, limescale, dust, soap scum, cobwebs, dirt and grime, vacuum your carpets and clean any hard flooring.  A professional clean is well worth the expense. When it comes to windows, these should be smear free too, allowing maximum light in. Carry out any minor repairs, such as holes in walls, cracked tiles, broken light bulbs and so on.

Tidy up your garden : An overgrown garden will deter potential buyers (it’s more work for them to do when they move in).  Mow the grass, paint the decking, clean the patio, weed the garden and prune the bushes.  The more visually attractive your garden is the more positive an effect it will have on your buyers.

Additional aesthetics : As well as the obvious tidy ups there are a few subtle tactics you can use to boost the appeal of your home.  Place lamps in dark corners to create a warm glow and use aromatherapy diffusers around your home to welcome viewers with a pleasant aroma rather than musty odours. If you smoke inside the house, open the windows and let some fresh air in a few days before your property goes on sale – and don’t forget fresh flowers for that final touch.

When it comes to showing your property, talk to your estate agent about how to answer any potentially difficult questions such as neighbours (especially if yours are troublesome).  If you aren’t confident about showing potential buyers around your home, arrange for your estate agent to do it for you.

At Redstones, we offer accompanied viewings for all of our clients and are happy to help with any questions you may have. If you are considering selling your property, contact us today to discuss how we can help.

Redstones Ipad

Opening A Franchise – Essential Advice On Territory and Location

A final aspect of the franchise agreement to consider is the importance of your territory.  The territory is literally the geographical area within which you will operate your business.

Defining your exclusive territory ensures that other franchisees within your network won’t compete with you for your local business as they are bound by their own franchise agreement.

Franchisors designate specific territories which normally fall within a postcoded area or can be based on population levels depending on the type of franchise and the area being considered by the franchisee.

At Redstones, our territories are unique compared to other lettings franchisors as we have explained below. Each area has been exclusively created to provide equally profitable revenue opportunities for our franchisees. Furthermore, all of them offer a good balance of property types, combined with a broad range of demographic profiles.

Once you have agreed your exclusive territory with the franchisor, the next step is to choose the location you will operate your business from.

Location, location, location

Redstones’ unique business model allows for an office based location away from the high street. For franchisees who are centrally based with the potential for high footfall, we provide the option to run the business from high street premises too.

All franchisees considering a high street location should ask consider the following before making the final selection on their premises:-

  • How complete is the data on which the franchisor has created their territory map in terms of population and potential market?  At Redstones, our franchisees’ territories are bigger than those on offer with other lettings franchises and were designed exclusively by franchise mapping specialists. Each one covers approximately 100,000 homes and encompasses a total population of around 250,000.
  • Who will buy your services and products? Where will your customers come from? Will your new business be able to generate enough sales to make a profit?
  • Is the chosen location easily accessible for local clients if they need to come into the office?
  • What is the footfall like in the area around the site? How many pedestrians pass the location each day?  What demographic do they fall into?  Is it busier at certain times of the day?  It is worth spending a day or two during the week observing the passing traffic – including pedestrians – around the site and repeating the exercise at weekends.
  • What is the local competition like?  How many similar businesses operate nearby? How busy do they appear to be?  Have any opened – or closed – in the previous year?
  • Will the premises require extensive refurbishment or redecoration or is it one that can be moved into fairly quickly?
  • How will it meet the criteria for a successful business?

For a new franchisee we understand that choosing a suitable location for your premises can be overwhelming which is why we work closely with you to help you to make the choice which will maximise your revenue potential.

To explore more about what it means to be a Redstones franchisee and why our territories are unique please contact us – we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Redstones Property Franchise

The Franchise Agreement – Understanding The Basics – Part Two

The Franchise Agreement – Understanding The Basics – Part Two

In the second of our blogs on the franchise agreement, we continue with advice on aspects of the agreement which relate to the general running of your business.

As previously stated, please note, that this advice is for guidance only and should never replace formal legal advice.  We recommend that everyone who is considering investing in any franchise obtains legal advice from a BFA approved legal advisor.   

Operations Manual

After the initial training has been carried out, franchisees are provided with an operations manual containing all of the information necessary for the day-to-day running of your new business – this manual is your blueprint for a successful business. At Redstones we provide our franchisees with regular updates on any relevant amendments to the manual.

Opening Hours

Many franchise outlets stipulate specific opening hours that all franchisees must comply with.  As a franchisee you should be sure of your ability to comply with these requirements or you may be in breach of your franchise agreement.  At Redstones our opening hours extend to weekends due to the nature of the business, so this is an important consideration for all Redstones franchisees.

Logo, Uniforms, Store Signage – ‘Trade Dress’

To maintain brand uniformity, some franchise agreements will incorporate a ‘trade dress’ clause which extends beyond logos to cover office/premise design layout and staff uniforms.  This clause also covers use of the appropriate signage and logo, which is especially important in a lettings franchise where signage is used to advertise properties available for rent.

Standard Supplies

In some franchise networks, franchisees must purchase basic products from their franchisors.  Your agreement must state which of these purchases are compulsory and ensure that the price is fair.

Business Launch

Where franchisees run their business from an office or retail premises, like Redstones, the franchise agreement covers all elements of pre-launch marketing, PR and advertising prior to the opening of the new business. If any additional financial obligation is required it will be clearly stated in this clause but if in doubt don’t hesitate to ask.

Selling Your Franchise

Ultimately, a franchise business is an asset; something which franchisees may choose to sell at the end of the franchisee agreement.  Whether sold or transferred, this clause will outline your rights as a franchisee in the sale of the business. The franchisor will always have the final approval on who buys the franchise from you and receives an agreed portion of the final sale price.  While it may seem early to consider an ‘exit clause’, agreeing the basics at this stage is vital.

Termination Clause/Contingencies

These clauses will cover other issues such as grounds for a legal termination, together with the obligations of the franchisee and franchisor.  They will also cover the unpalatable but necessary action required when ‘contingency’ events arise, such as the death of a franchisee, the divorce of a husband and wife team with equal shares in the franchise or catastrophic events such as flooding.

In our next article we will look at the importance of territory when considering your franchise agreement.

If you have any questions on the franchise opportunity available with Redstones please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

If you have missed part one of this series please click here.

Redstones Buyers

Selling Your Property With Redstones

As we saw in our previous article and you will have noted from recent media coverage, property prices across the country are on the rise.  Outside London, the West Midlands is one of the most buoyant markets and growing numbers of property owners are considering selling their home.

Here we consider the steps in the process and how we work with our clients to ensure as seamless an experience as possible for what can sometimes be a stressful experience.

Before Contacting Redstones

Once you have made the decision to sell your property, before you contact Redstones we recommend that you take the following steps:-

  • Identify a solicitor.  Properties are beginning to sell quickly and often the sellers that benefit quickly are the ones who have engaged a solicitor and can proceed quickly.
  • Think about the type of agent who is right for you, ideally one who will value your property at the optimum price and will market it appropriately.
  • Consider the best times for viewings; we recommend being available for evenings and weekends and allowing an agent to conduct viewings for you if you are unavailable.
  • Commission an Energy Performance Certificate – this is essential before beginning to market your property. At Redstones we can help to organise this for you.

On Instruction

Once we have received your instruction to proceed you will benefit from our innovative and unique marketing strategy. You can relax, knowing that the promotion and sale of your property is in experienced hands.

Showing Your Property

As advised above, at Redstones, we are happy to carry out accompanied viewings on your behalf.  Again, this will enable us to sell your property more quickly.

Selling Your Property

Once we have a sale agreed, we will negotiate the following areas on your behalf:-

  • What items will be included within the agreed price
  • A potential target date for the initial property survey
  • A target date for the exchange of contracts and completion

At Redstones, we also keep you fully informed at all times so you are confident that the process is being properly monitored and the sale of your property is in professional hands.

Exchange and Completion

The exchange of contracts on a property is the final stage in the process which occurs after the survey is carried out and all anomalies resolved. In the majority of cases it is also subject to the buyer’s satisfactory receipt of a mortgage offer.

Completion – the date you finally relinquish ownership of your property – can take place on the same day as the contracts are exchanged, or anything up to several weeks or possibly months later depending on the requirements of both parties.

At Redstones we stay closely in touch with our clients during this process to answer any questions or rapidly deal with any potential delays.

Switching Agents

If you are unhappy with the service received from your current agent, Redstones operates a unique ‘Switch Agents’ policy.  We pride ourselves on our first class customer care, professionalism in our approach and innovative, state of the art marketing techniques.

Call us today and experience the difference for yourself.  We look forward to meeting you.

For a free valuation on your property and to discuss Redstone’s services and how we can assist you in selling your property, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Redstones Residential Sales

Redstones – Marketing At Its Best

Property prices in the West Midlands continue to rise above all expectations.  At the end of last year, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveys predicted a 7% increase in house prices across the region during 2014.  With the latest figures, that figure looks set to be eclipsed.   The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed an average rise of 5.3%, well above the UK average for the month of 3.8%.

With soaring prices not seen since before the recession, growing numbers of homeowners are considering selling their property but how can you ensure your property stands out as the market becomes more saturated?

With Redstones, our focus is on quality and commitment to excellence which includes the following:-

Realistic valuation : We fully understand the demands of the local market and how to present properties for an early sale to eliminate your concerns.  We evaluate all properties based on current market trends and our in-depth experience of property sales.

Comprehensive marketing strategy :  Traditional methods of marketing properties have changed significantly in recent years with the advent of social media.  At Redstones, we have been at the forefront of those changes and we continually seek out innovative ways to maintain our position. We work hard to ensure that all of the properties we sell receive the full benefit of our comprehensive marketing and social media strategy.

This includes:-

  • Comprehensive 3D floor plans which includes the latest in walk through technology
  • Location maps live on our website shortly after receiving your agreement for us to act as your agent
  • A fully printable colour brochure

Our marketing strategy takes maximum advantage of the benefits offered by social media.  We promote all of our clients’ properties across an extensive online network.  As well as our own website, all properties are featured on the most widely recognised national websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla, as well as NeedAProperty, Primelocation and FindAProperty.

We are confident that no other residential sales or lettings agency offers such a comprehensive marketing strategy that maximises the effectiveness of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest, among others.

Property Auction : This unique service is aimed at homeowners who need to realise a quick sale on their property and also benefits from the comprehensive marketing activity outlined above.

Make the switch : For home owners who are unhappy with the service offered by their current agent, we provide a straightforward service which takes you through a step-by-step process on switching to Redstones.  Making the switch to an agent you can trust has never been easier.

For more information on our services and how you can benefit from our inventive marketing techniques please don’t hesitate to contact Redstones today.

The Franchise Agreement – Understanding The Basics – Part One

For potential franchisees, understanding the ramifications of the  franchise agreement can prove to be quite daunting.  Over a series of articles we will attempt to explain some of the basics.

Please note, that this advice is for guidance only and should never replace formal legal advice.  We recommend that everyone who is considering investing in any franchise obtains legal advice from a BFA approved legal advisor.   

What is the franchise agreement for?

The franchise agreement provides precise, legally binding details of the obligations of the franchisee together with the franchisor’s commitments, the length of the agreement and details of individual obligations after the agreement ends.  All verbal commitments or suggestions made by the franchisor during your meetings with them must also be included in the agreement or they will not be valid.

Signing the contract

The majority of franchisees set up a limited company to operate their franchised business. When signing the contract, a franchisee may be asked to sign in a personal capacity as well as on behalf of the limited company.  This means that you are personally liable for failure to comply with the requirements of the franchise agreement, such as, payment of franchise fees and royalties.  This is generally more of a consideration at the end of a franchise agreement but it also something every potential franchisee should be aware of.

The length of the franchise agreement

The franchise agreement will contain a clause confirming the duration of the franchise.  With Redstones, the initial agreement is for five years.  Some franchisors require payment of a renewal fee at the end of the franchise for franchisees who wish to continue operating their business.

Ongoing fees

Franchisees should ensure they understand exactly what fees are payable in addition to the initial franchise fee. The majority of franchisors charge an ongoing royalty or management services fee (MSF) based on a percentage of the franchisee’s gross turnover.

Marketing and advertising

In addition to the MSF, franchisees may be asked to pay a marketing and advertising fee.  The franchisor will provide full information on how this fund is used, which is normally at a national and local level.  At Redstones we have a comprehensive marketing strategy which encompasses all of the benefits that social media has to offer.

Franchisee training

After the franchise agreement is signed all franchisees receive comprehensive training after which includes full instruction on how to run the franchise basis. The cost of the training is normally included in the initial franchisee. Most franchisees will, however, be expected to fund their own accommodation and any travel expenses incurred during training.  With this in mind, it is important for all franchisees to confirm how long the training will take and where it will be carried out.

In the next article we will look at the areas of the franchise agreement which affect the operation of the franchise business.  In the meantime, if you have any questions on Redstones’ franchise opportunity, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

I’m Interested In A Redstones Franchise – What Happens Next?

You’ve completed your due diligence, you’ve considered the pros and cons of franchising and now you are interested in exploring the opportunities available with Redstones.  What happens next?  First of all, our website provides the option to download an application pack and submit an enquiry form; you can also do that by contacting us here.

What follows is a straightforward eight stage process which takes you all of the way through to launching your own Redstones franchise.

Step One – A one to one meeting at our Head Office in Walsall, where we will introduce you to Redstones and discuss with you the benefits and day to day requirements of running your own lettings agency under the Redstones brand.

Step Two – The second step is to visit an existing Redstones franchisee so you can see for yourself what a typical day in the life of a lettings franchise is really like.  We believe this is an essential part of the process for you as a potential franchisee as you will gain insight into the pros and cons of running a thriving business!

Step Three – Once we mutually agree that you are a good fit for the Redstones brand, you will meet with our Managing Director, Manjit Virdi.  Most of our franchisees require financial support and we can put you in touch with the major banks to discuss this.  We will also agree your exclusive franchise territory.

Step Four – We provide you with a business plan template, a letter of intent and a draft franchise agreement. We encourage you to consult an approved franchise solicitor before signing our franchise agreement as this is a legally binding five year agreement.  The BFA website has a list of approved legal advisors.

Step Five – You submit your business and financial plan.  At this stage, we also ask you to pay a £4,500 plus vat deposit towards your franchise fee.

Step Six – We finalise any outstanding issues and complete the signing of the franchise agreement during a further meeting at our offices.  The final balance of the franchise fee is due at this point.  Once the agreement is signed and payment received, you are officially part of Redstones’ expanding franchise network!

Step Seven – As part of our franchise agreement we provide a comprehensive training plan for our franchisees covering all aspects of successfully running a Redstones franchise.  Once you have completed this training, you will be ready to begin trading.  Our support team is on hand throughout this period and works closely with you, especially in the early days of your business.

Step Eight – Launch your business and begin trading!  Your life as a Redstones franchisee has only just begun and we will be with you every step of the way to ensure your future success.

Don’t forget, you can visit our website to download an application pack or simply contact us here.

I’m Interested In A Redstones Franchise – What Happens Next?

You’ve completed your due diligence, you’ve considered the pros and cons of franchising and now you are interested in exploring the opportunities available with Redstones.  What happens next?  First of all, our website provides the option to download an application pack and submit an enquiry form; you can also do that by contacting us here.

What follows is a straightforward eight stage process which takes you all of the way through to launching your own Redstones franchise.

Step One – A one to one meeting at our Head Office in Walsall, where we will introduce you to Redstones and discuss with you the benefits and day to day requirements of running your own lettings agency under the Redstones brand.

Step Two – The second step is to visit an existing Redstones franchisee so you can see for yourself what a typical day in the life of a lettings franchise is really like.  We believe this is an essential part of the process for you as a potential franchisee as you will gain insight into the pros and cons of running a thriving business!

Step Three – Once we mutually agree that you are a good fit for the Redstones brand, you will meet with our Managing Director, Manjit Virdi.  Most of our franchisees require financial support and we can put you in touch with the major banks to discuss this.  We will also agree your exclusive franchise territory.

Step Four – We provide you with a business plan template, a letter of intent and a draft franchise agreement. We encourage you to consult an approved franchise solicitor before signing our franchise agreement as this is a legally binding five year agreement.  The BFA website has a list of approved legal advisors.

Step Five – You submit your business and financial plan.  At this stage, we also ask you to pay a £4,500 plus vat deposit towards your franchise fee.

Step Six – We finalise any outstanding issues and complete the signing of the franchise agreement during a further meeting at our offices.  The final balance of the franchise fee is due at this point.  Once the agreement is signed and payment received, you are officially part of Redstones’ expanding franchise network!

Step Seven – As part of our franchise agreement we provide a comprehensive training plan for our franchisees covering all aspects of successfully running a Redstones franchise.  Once you have completed this training, you will be ready to begin trading.  Our support team is on hand throughout this period and works closely with you, especially in the early days of your business.

Step Eight – Launch your business and begin trading!  Your life as a Redstones franchisee has only just begun and we will be with you every step of the way to ensure your future success.

Don’t forget, you can visit our website to download an application pack or simply contact us here.

Redstones Lettings : 6 Tips For Potential Landlords

With interest rates on savings continuing to stay low, we are often asked for our opinion on the buy-to-let market and whether the lettings market offers the best return on financial investments.  While we are property management specialists rather than financial advisors, this is what I’ve observed from working on a daily basis with landlords for many years.

Do your research : As we know at Redstones, letting your property can reap a significant return on investment.  With all investment, however, you need to understand the risks as well as the benefits. House prices – and average monthly rentals – are on the rise but this can change.  A buy-to-let property is not the same as renting out your house for a while when you can’t sell it in a slow market – it is a long-term investment.

Choose your area wisely : Tenants choose properties for variety of reasons, for example,  good access to commuter links, reliable public transport and for families it also means good schools.  All of these factors should be considered when considering a suitable area to purchase a buy-to-let property.

Financial considerations : As a potential landlord you need to work out not only what you will need to borrow but the amount of rent you will be able to charge.  Speak to a local lettings agency who you can trust.  At Redstones we advise our prospective landlords on the likely rent based on our extensive local knowledge and experience.  You will also need to research the market to obtain the best buy-to-let mortgage.  Don’t forget to build into your calculations the possibility that you may occasionally be without a tenant and also allow for any lettings agents’ fees and ongoing maintenance if you are outsourcing the management of your property.

Your tenant : The type of tenant you are targeting will influence how you present your property. The expectations of students, professionals and families are all quite different.  Again, an experienced lettings agent can offer advice on this issue.

Explore alternatives : To increase their options some property owners look outside their local area. Once a property is purchased they can then place it in the hands a reputable lettings agent.  A property which requires renovation may also be a better long-term investment as it can generally be purchased at a lower price – but remember to include refurbishment costs in any financial calculations.

Lettings agent or hands-on landlord?  Lettings agents can offer a range of services from ‘introduction only’ to a full property management service.  That advantages of the full service is that if any maintenance work is needed, the agent will take care of the arrangements. Lettings agents will also offer accompanied viewings to save you the time and commitment so you can get on with your daily life.  At Redstones we also offer our exclusive Platinum Total Care service, giving you peace of mind in the event that your tenant falls into arrears. Whatever option you choose it should be something that works for you as a property owner.

To discuss the options available to you as a landlord, contact Redstones today.