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Mail Boxes Etc.: The franchise opportunity

Description: A nationwide high street chain that offers consumers and local companies a range of business, postal, print and copy services. Mail Boxes Etc. operates in 30 countries.
No. of franchises: 124
Coverage: UK-wide and Ireland
Average cost per franchise: £60-£70,000
Website: www.mbe.co.uk

Mail Boxes Etc. (MBE), established in the UK in 1997, enjoys a reputation for offering customers reliability, value for money and convenience. It is the only High Street chain that offers both consumers and local companies a comprehensive range of business, postal and communication services, concentrated in one convenient location.

Alongside its principal service – the safe and secure packaging and dispatch of parcels all over the world – MBE offers mailbox rental, printing and photocopying, corporate literature design, office supplies and stationery, all available at each store. The company has unrivalled experience and expertise in bespoke packing and shipping and is especially successful in the antiques sector, where it is recognised as the UK’s leading supplier, backed by 30 years’ global experience. Furthermore, as a long-standing member of the British Franchise Association (bfa), MBE is firmly established among Britain’s most successful franchise operations.

Confirmation of MBE’s reputation in UK franchising came with the recent announcement that Justin Brookes, Oxford franchisee with two stores, had been appointed by the bfa to join its Board.  Brookes is one of only two franchisees chosen from the UK’s 35,000-strong franchisee community, and will have the opportunity to make a direct contribution to the work of the organisation.

The franchise model

MBE says franchisees do not need previous experience; the company’s comprehensive four-week training programme is designed to give a new franchisee all the tools and knowledge they need to run a successful business. The programme addresses all aspects of running a small business, from sales, marketing and man-management to practical aspects, such as book-keeping.

MBE’s support package includes site selection, shop fitting and design, equipment and initial local marketing.  Typically, the investment starts from around £60,000; around 70% of this can usually be financed by one of the leading banks, all of whom have excellent working relationships with MBE. Increasingly, many established franchisees are buying second or even third stores, such as the current “Franchisees of the year” Faraz Ahmad and Osman Ahmed, who said: “we saw immediately how well the model works, its strength in the market and the benefit of having a well-known name. We are confident that Mail Boxes Etc. is going to be huge in the UK.”

Still in their 20s and franchisees for less than two years, the couple already own five central London stores in Belgravia, Camden, Oxford Circus, Victoria & Earls Court.

When assessing prospective franchisees, Chris Gillam, MBE’s head of franchise recruitment, says “the right attitude is more important than previous career. We welcome applicants who are enthusiastic and open-minded, with plenty of drive and a determination to succeed.  The successful experience of thousands of operating stores across the world creates a wealth of shared expertise and knowledge.”

Future plans

With MBE now firmly established among the foremost suppliers of business, postal and communication services in the UK, the time is right for rapid network growth.

According to Chris Gillam, “there are still many prime areas for development across the UK and Ireland, and our ambitious expansion plans mean we are keen to talk with people now who can help us take advantage of the enormous potential the market has to offer.”

For more information on joining the MBE franchise network, please visit http://www.mbe.co.uk/franchise_opportunities/further_information_request.aspx, email franchise@mbe.co.uk   or call 01608 649239.

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