Adrian Sargent, Countrywide Wiltshire
Having held CFO and Director Level positions in business with £100m to £2bn turnover, Adrian Sargent was looking for a route out of the corporate would. He started the Wiltshire Countrywide Grounds Maintenance franchise in October 2017 with no prior experience in grounds maintenance. “The politics in big business meant that nothing ever got done and when it was, it wasn’t done properly. I wanted to stop advising on company strategy when no one was listening and use my skills in my own business.”
In Countrywide Grounds, Adrian saw a secure opportunity in a growing market. “I liked Countrywide as grass will always need cutting and there were many business outsourcing this type of work to specialists. I saw the market as growing.”
Despite having no experience in Grounds Maintenance Adrian was attracted to an opportunity to manage employees towards a desired goal “I liked the fact that this was sold as a management franchise rather than one where you had to work on the vans.”
Adrian’s business now employs 11 permanent members of staff and exceeded £500k turnover in 2018. His greatest achievement so far: “Winning any new contract is a great feeling but most pleased to win work with the National Trust for some of their sites in my area. Despite being an accountant, I can sell!”
He continued “I don’t reward myself for hitting business goals, I just set the next one. The reward is keeping all the team in jobs and seeing them grow and develop with the business.”
Despite Adrian’s attitude and hard work being key to his success, he hailed the Countrywide Grounds franchise model for its flexibility “Countrywide allows me to manage my business how I want, to target the customers I want and deliver how I see best. I like the flexibility to implement ideas without a rigid framework. The franchise model is perfect for a new business venture as you get a proven business model as well as central support (and also informal support from all other franchisees).”
In addition to this, Adrian recognised the value of the support offered by head office “Head office provide pretty much full back office support from invoicing, and credit control through to Health and Safety and industry accreditations as well as a telesales function and national contracts management. This allows the business to focus on the day to day work and growing profitably.”
When asked what his biggest piece of advice was to those looking for a franchise the Wiltshire franchisee insisted “Talk to as many other franchisees to see how the business actually works (both good and bad). Also make sure you have strong resilience and strong management skills.”
Now, Adrian is planning for the future. He is looking to “grow the business to £1m turnover and sign a new franchise term for the next 10 years to take me to retirement age.”
Hopefully this will enable to continue to travel, follow Aston Villa and Cleveland Browns in the NFL, alongside enjoying more time with his family.
Everyone at Neighbourly wishes Adrian great success in the future! Keep up the good work!