5Day driving school expands

5Day driving school expands

A Norfolk based business which offers five day intense driving tuition to its clients, which includes a number of celebrities, is expanding and now has centres in four cities.

5Day, which is based on Queens Road in Norwich, was formed by Jo Minkler in 2002. It now has centres in Manchester, Norwich and most recently in Peterborough. Additionally they are the franchisor to a new operation in Barnet. 5Day intense course has proved to be very successful and is becoming a firm favourite with celebrities who are learning to drive. Recently Jamelia, Emmerdale's Adam Thomas, Big Brother's Brian Belo, Hollyoaks / Emmerdale's James Sutton and Coronation Street's Catherine Tyldsesley have all used the company to get their licences quickly and conveniently.

The company have been advised and supported by the NatWest commercial banking and franchising teams in Norwich.

The latest survey by NatWest and the British Franchise Association (bfa) showed throughout 2011 franchising further increased turnover by £13.4 billion nationally. Franchising accounts for a turnover of approximately £0.9 billion in the East of England. While other sectors contracted over the year, 9 out of 10 franchise businesses posted a profit - reducing loss-makers to pre-recession levels. Further growth is likely as 76% of those surveyed expect business to improve in the coming months (compared to only 44% of all SMEs). Most (80%) believe that franchising gives them a competitive advantage over other small businesses as they have the support of a larger brand.

In contrast to a UK-wide rise in unemployment of 180,000 in 2011, a total of 73,000 jobs were created in the franchise industry nationally and 5,110 in the East of England. This comes as the number of franchising systems operating right across the UK increased to 929, with 40,100 franchise business units employing 594,000 staff. In the East of England there are 2,807 franchise business units employing 41,000 people.   The number of larger franchise units employing more than 11 staff increased by 30% in the past year according to the survey.

"For many people the idea of a regular driving lesson just does not fit with their busy lives, so we hit upon the idea of our intense five day courses. By offering unparalleled levels of service and support, combining structured theory preparation with practical 1:1 driving tuition we have really become a local and now national success story. We are delighted with the way the business is growing and with the number of people including celebrities who have successfully used our courses and are now very competent drivers. With our Manchester, Norwich and now Peterborough centres doing so well we wanted to expand further and we saw offering a franchise as an ideal way of achieving this. Our first franchise operation in Barnet has really taken off and we will be setting up more very soon."

Jo Minkler, Managing Director of 5Day

"5Day offer a very innovative way of teaching people to drive and it has proved to be successful very quickly. With the company now successfully launching their franchise model, the future looks very bright. The franchising model offers the benefit of appearing to be a larger business, standardised products and quality expectation - advantages all heightened in a downturn. Expectations for growth are high in the sector and we’ve invested in the largest specialist team of managers of any bank to ensure it happens."

Richard Williamson, NatWest senior relationship manager

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