A-Star Sports: Adrian Dunn

The Wrexham, Oswestry and Whitchurch franchisee talks about his decision to take on the children's sports coaching franchise

Name: Adrian Dunn
Age: 32
Company: A-Star Sports
Staff numbers: 3
Location: Wrexham, Oswestry and Whitchurch
Date launched: 04/02/13
Website: www.a-starsports.co.uk

Tell us what the franchise brand does:

A-Star Sports is a fun-filled, multi-sports experience for children aged 2-10, offering inclusive, developmental coaching in a positive environment. We run weekly classes, holiday clubs, parties and events.

What’s the business model?

We charge a fee for our classes, holiday clubs, parties and events. Profit is based on the number of weekly class/holiday club attendees and party/event bookings we get overall, minus overheads.

Why did you decide A-Star Sports was the right franchise for you?

Not only were the franchisors local to me and very accessible but I really liked the delivery of the 10 core sports. I researched my territory fully to see what other children’s sports companies were out there and found A-Star Sports to be a high quality and popular provision. I really wanted to run my own business and an A-Star Sports franchise fit the bill perfectly for both me and the families in my area.

How popular is the franchise already and how long has it existed?

I have been operating in my territory (Wrexham, Oswestry and Whitchurch) since February 2013. I now have 16 classes running in four venues and plans for additional ones in the coming months. I employ two other coaches, manage lots of enquiries (particularly via social media) and have very much enjoyed making the local headlines via start-up activities and new classes as well as building a profile via the A-Star Sports community support programme.

What were you doing before buying the franchise?

I am a former farmer – a dairyman in Cheshire looking after large herds of cattle. I took up youth support work and running sports activities full-time after being badly injured in farm work. I also went back to university to do a degree and then started looking at franchise businesses in order to realise my dream of working for myself.

Why did franchising appeal to you?

I wanted to do something that was working with children and was my own business. I decided that with franchising I could get to where I wanted (and needed) to be quicker than being on my own – not financially quicker in my case but most certainly with less hurdles and mistakes along the way. Also, I was able to witness A-Star Sports doing really well in the area just next to mine.

How much did it cost and how did you arrange the finance?

The cost of the franchise was £12,500 plus VAT. I had savings in an ISA that I put away in the hope of running a business and I took out a loan for the rest. I also still work part-time in the job I had previously, which mitigated the initial risk and covers my mortgage. I am working towards running A-Star Sports full-time by the end of the year.

What challenges do you have in establishing the franchise in your region?

The biggest challenge has been finding good venues to deliver weekly classes and holiday clubs in. However I’ve had a lot of support from local families and organisations and my initial territory evaluation was really helpful in identifying good starting points for building important relationships in this regard.

What advice would you give to others looking at franchising?

Research – don’t let your heart rule your head!! You may see a franchise you like the look of BUT make sure you really look into it. Carry out background checks, assess your chosen area, speak to other franchisees and ask to spend time with them, get stuck in, be polite, look at the British Franchise Association and think long term about your business development strategies.

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