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View our Franchise eBrochure

Contact: Mark Scott
National Franchise Manager

NatWest Franchise Section
Level 2
Waterhouse Sq
138 - 140 Holborn

Tel: 020 7427 8405

Email :
Web :


NatWest is recognised as the lead UK Bank for franchise finance and is always pleased to hear from prospective franchisees, who would like to investigate the option of having a banking relationship with us.


NatWest can offer a full range of banking services to franchisees, including the following :

  • An introduction to one of our specialist 100 Area Franchise Managers who will arrange to meet with you locally to discuss your banking requirements
  • A complete range of lending products including fixed and variable rate loans, overdrafts and business charge cards, all subject to status
  • Free banking for up to 18 months for new franchisees
  • Free book-keeping software package - CD ROM specially designed for small businesses
  • Free Business Start-Up Guide and Planner disk
  • Free internet access and banking via
  • Free Businessline - for 24 hour telephone banking (calls from the UK mainland are charged at local rate, except mobiles)
  • Free Help for your Business directory - a personalised information directory, giving you details of grants, training courses and local events that may be relevant to your business
  • Access to other NatWest Group products and services - many on concessionary terms

If you would welcome an introduction to a local Area Franchise Manager, please telephone NatWest Franchise Section on 0121 234 3756.

Free banking - If you are starting your business, you will get 18 months' free banking whether your account is in credit or overdrawn, as long as :

  • you are an existing personal NatWest account holder: or
  • you bring your main personal account to NatWest if you are not a NatWest customer:
  • you do not pay out more than £1,000,000 a year from your account during the free period

If you don't have a NatWest personal account and are not prepared to bring your main personal account to us, we will still give you 12 month's free banking.

NatWest does not warrant, endorse or recommend any franchise/license opportunity. Should NatWest agree to lend to assist with the purchase of a franchise it should not be construed that the opportunity is in any way approved by us. Similarly, if this flyer accompanies any materials produced by a franchisor then no approval or warranty is implied. You should take appropriate independent professional advice in respect of any specific aspect of franchising.

Why choose franchising?

If you are thinking of going into business on your own account for the first time, or are already in business but would like to do something new, it could pay to look at franchising.

How it works

Starting up a new business always carries risk, but a franchise should reduce that risk. This is because it enables you, as the franchisee, to use the proven business system of your franchisor. He passes on his know-how and you trade under the name of the franchise and sell the system's products and/or services. You sign a franchise agreement, which is usually for an initial period of five years or more and you should have the right to renew it in future years so long as you are not in breach of any of its terms. In return for allowing you to use the franchisor's name and system, and for the continuing support you receive from him, you pay him an initial fee, which is mainly to cover the costs he incurs in setting you up in business and you then make on-going payments throughout the period of the franchise agreement. These latter payments are normally in the form of either a management services fee calculated as a percentage of your sales turnover, or mark-up on the goods or materials the franchisor sells to you, in the same way that a wholesaler takes a margin on the goods he supplies to a retailer.


The important factor from your point of view as a franchisee is that the franchisor's income is tied to that of your business. In other words, the franchisor can only succeed, if you succeed. If your sales drop so too does his income, whether he receives it as a percentage of your sales, or a product mark-up.

This is how franchising creates the incentive for the franchisor to make sure that your business is launched successfully and that it remains successful. A close inter-dependence must always be present in a properly constructed franchise system. This is the determining factor, which usually sets franchising apart from other types of business opportunities, typically agencies and distributorships.

Franchising also offers a wide choice of different types of businesses at a range of price levels starting at a few thousand pounds for a van-based business you can run from home. You seldom need any experience or skill in the type of business you choose because the franchisor should provide all the training you will need.

Finally, franchising offers what for some will be the biggest benefit of all. People are generally able to borrow more money to open a franchised business than a conventional business. We at NatWest recognise that franchising is usually a safer way to get into business and we are prepared to consider loans of up to two-thirds of the start-up costs, including working capital, for the right applicants, who would like to join a proven franchise system.

Track record

But just how successful are franchisees?

This question can be best answered by referring to the survey of franchising in the UK, which has been sponsored each year since 1984 by NatWest for the British Franchise Association. The survey has consistently shown that the failure rate of franchisees is much lower than that of independent small business start-ups.

A low risk factor... wide choice of business across a broad price band... generous start-up loans... franchising may already look to you to be irresistible! 

However, all this assumes that the franchise has been properly constructed and proven, and that it is being run by an efficient, caring franchisor with sound business practices. But, as in any branch of commercial life, companies have different standards. Franchising is no exception. 

Therefore, before you sign any agreement or part with any money, you need to go through a lengthy evaluation process. This starts not as you might expect with the franchise, but with you and the important question of whether having your own business would suit you. 

Are you cut out to run your own business?


If you have not had your own business before, you must first assess whether you would be happy running your own business and particularly being a franchisee. 

Running your own business calls for long hours and can create a great deal of stress. If it is your first business, it will also be the first time that you have had to rely solely on your own efforts for your income, and, if you have employees, their income, too. You will probably have had to invest your life savings in the business and may have had to take out a substantial loan against the security of your home. You may even have had to move home to get the territory you would like in the particular franchise you have chosen. 

If you have a family, you will not be the only one who has to make sacrifices and you will need their full support. 

You must be physically fit and enjoy good health because it is unlikely that the business, in the early years, will be of a sufficient size for you to employ people who can take your place and manage the business if you fall ill. You must also have ambition and a high energy level to provide the drive you will need to make your business successful.

What's expected of you

As a franchisee, you will have to accept the restrictions which the franchisor will place upon you and also the disciplines of the particular franchise system you will be joining. 

You will have bought into a particular business system and you must follow it assiduously. Otherwise, if you and other franchisees do not obey the rules, the franchise system as a whole will deteriorate and along with it goodwill and your own opportunity over the long term to make a substantial capital gain. 

You will have signed a franchise agreement, under which it is probable that you will either have to make regular payments to your franchisor or buy products from him. This obligation will continue throughout the life of the agreement and you cannot arbitrarily decide not to pay or buy products. 

You need to be aware of any restrictions, which might apply to you if you decide for whatever reason to leave the franchise. You are unlikely, for example, to be allowed to pull down the franchise sign and carry on trading under your own name in the same type of business from the same premises. 

When you have satisfied yourself that you are cut out to run your own business and that you are prepared to accept the restrictions of a franchise system, you are ready to tackle the next stages. These are choosing the type of business in which you would like to work, and then selecting the best franchise for you in the particular market.

Choosing the right type of business

Here, again, there are firstly some personal questions to be answered. What type of franchise can you afford? As you will appreciate, the start-up costs of a franchise, which you run from home, will be very different from a franchise that requires retail premises and extensive stock. 

To assess your price range, a very rough rule of thumb, if you have some security, is to add up your savings and multiply by three (e.g. if you have savings of £20,000, you could expect to be able to finance a franchise with start-up costs of around £60,000). Everyone's personal circumstances differ, and here, of course, your local NatWest Area Franchise Manager or Small Business Adviser can assist you, regardless of whether or not you are an existing customer. A point to remember is that you must not be tempted to over-borrow. This could cause difficulties, particularly in periods of depressed sales, or high interest rates. 

The second personal question to consider, given you now know your price range, is what type of business would best suit you. This is largely a matter of common sense. You will need to choose a business in which you will be happy to work day-after-day, and preferably one in which you have some aptitude or affinity and perhaps even some experience. The choice of franchises is now so wide that you should be able to find a business that suits you. 

Finally, in assessing which would be the best type of business, you should consider some marketing questions. Is the franchise serving an established market, or has that market yet to be developed? Is the market expanding or declining? Is it seasonal? Does it depend on trading from highly specialised sites? How strong is the competition? Is the franchise competitive in its market? What share of the market does it hold? 

As you will appreciate, these questions apply whether or not the business is a franchise. In its broadest sense, franchising is a method of marketing a product or service, and marketing questions such as these are of fundamental importance. If the marketing situation is not right, the franchise will be hardly less vulnerable than a conventional business. 

Choosing the right franchise

By the time you reach this stage, you have satisfied yourself that you would be suited to running your own business and that you will accept the restrictions laid down by the franchisor. You have also chosen the type of business in which you would like to work and confirmed that it is in a market with good potential. 

You now have to choose your franchisor. If you have picked a category in which there are only one or two franchisors, it would be wise to select a second category to avoid having too small a choice. This will also give you a wider selection of territories. 

You should now have in front of you a list of the franchises which are available in the business category you have chosen. Which is the best for you? Although this is the last stage of your assessment process, it is, of course, the most important. You may be right for franchising and the market you have chosen may be full of promise, but this will not make up for an ineffective franchisor. 

There are many questions that can be asked to assess the quality of a franchisor, but most fall into the following fields. 

Has the franchise been sufficiently tested and are its franchisees successful? Do the initial fee and continuing fees (or product mark-up) represent good value for money? Do the on-going fees (or product mark-up) still leave the product or service competitive in the marketplace and provide sufficient profit for the franchisor and franchisee to make the business worthwhile? 

Has the franchisor sufficient financial and management resources to do what he says he will do to make your business succeed? Is he fair and ethical in his business conduct? Is he a member of the British Franchise Association, whose members are required to abide by a code of practice? In the event of the franchisor's failure is there alternative suppliers?

How NatWest can help

Finding the finance

You may find this assessment process a little bewildering, but there is valuable assistance at hand. We have around 100 Area Franchise Managers across the country and over 1600 outlets. You do not even have to be an existing customer to benefit from our expertise in franchising. 

NatWest is particularly well qualified to help you. We have a long-established reputation for assisting people to start-up their own business and we have traditionally held a larger share of that market than any other bank. 

We were the first to recognise the potential of franchising and in 1981 became the first bank in Britain to take the first step towards establishing a dedicated Franchise Section by appointing a Franchise Manager. 

If all the indicators are positive, you will find NatWest ready with the right financial package to get your business off to a good start and help you to develop it in the years ahead. We have the resources, plus the experience and commitment to franchising. You, your franchisor, and NatWest can make a great team. 

If you like what franchising can offer, your next step should be to arrange a meeting with your local Area Franchise Manager to seek his help and advice. Simply telephone NatWest Franchise Section on 0121 234 3756 and one of our team will introduce you to your local NatWest franchising specialist. 

You can find out what franchises are available by sending for a copy of the Franchise World Directory (see useful addresses) and by attending the next franchise exhibition.

Franchisee Checklist

A check list to show whether you are on the right lines

Personal assessment

  • Are you sufficiently keen to have your own business that you are prepared to risk your life savings and borrow against the security of your home to raise the capital to start the business?
  • Are you prepared to make the sacrifices which running your own business will require?
  • Are you prepared to accept the long-term obligations of the franchise agreement and conduct your business according to the system laid down by the franchisor?
  • Are you physically fit and do you enjoy good health?
  • Are you a self-starter with ambition and a high energy level?
  • Are you capable of dealing with the stress of running your own business and having to rely on it for your sole source of income?
  • If you are married, does your family understand the implications of you having your own business and fully support your plans?

    Choosing the right type of business
  • Have you made a realistic assessment of your financial resources to determine the type of franchises you can afford?
  • Have you decided in which type of business you would like to work and for which you have some aptitude?
  • Have you made a marketing assessment of the prospectus and the type of business you have chosen?

    Choosing the right franchise
  • Has the franchisor sufficient financial and management resources to carry out his obligation and run the business successfully?
  • Are the initial and continuing fees (or product mark-up) fair and do they represent value for money?
  • Are there sufficient margins in the business to make it profitable for both parties?
  • Are the existing franchisees successful and pleased with the services they receive from the franchisor?
  • If the franchise is new, has the franchisor adequately tested and proven the viability of the system through pilot units run at arms' length from the franchising company over a sufficient length of time? Are the pilot units in sites or territories of a similar size, position and market potential as that proposed for your business?
  • Is the training provided by the franchisor sufficiently thorough and his operations manuals sufficiently detailed, to enable you to run the business successfully?
  • Is the franchise agreement sufficiently explicit on the obligations of the two parties and is it fair to the franchisee, particularly in clauses relating to the termination and renewal of the agreement and the sale of the business?
  • If the franchise is well established, has it shown itself to be capable of product and marketing innovation, at least to a degree, which has enabled franchisees to retain their market share?
  • Does the franchisor offer sufficient advantages (training, brand recognition, buying power, business systems, marketing, field support, etc.) to make it more attractive to join the franchise, rather than go into the same type of business independently?

  • Have you made arrangements to discuss your plans with a solicitor (franchise agreement), accountant (business plan, financial projections, cash-flow) and your local NatWest Area Franchise Manager (business plan, finance package)?


The Bank does not warrant or recommend any franchise/licence opportunity. 

We recommend prospective franchisees undertake an independent and thorough evaluation of the business opportunity. This should include contacting existing franchisees of their own choice to ascertain their level of success and the degree of support provided by the franchisor. They should take independent advice from an accountant and a lawyer, preferably one affiliated to the British Franchise Association and any other relevant professional before entering into any legal obligation or financial commitment. 

The Future looks bright according to the NatWest/BFA Survey 

The annual NatWest/BFA franchise survey monitors the performance, attitudes and opinions of those involved in franchising and, thereby, builds up a larger picture of the contribution of franchising to the British economy. 

The results from this survey are based on the year ending December 2000 and show steady growth. They reveal that franchising continues to expand with further growth in the number of franchise systems and units, sector turnover and employment.


The estimated annual turnover of the business format franchise sector is £9.3 billion, an increase of 4% on 1999. This continues the steady upward movement from £0.9 billion in 1984.


Using a strict definition of business format franchising, the number of active franchises identified was 665. This represents an annual increase of 3% and a clear indication of many businesses looking to exploit the success of franchising. 73% of franchisors operate an independent system, 19% as a subsidiary of a parent company and 9% on a master licensee basis. On average franchise systems have been operating for nearly 8 years, slightly down on 1998, but not surprising given the number of new franchises in recent years.


The number of franchised units is estimated at 35,600. The average annual sales per unit is £289,000, this however reflects a wide range in individual unit turnover. 52% of those who responded operate on a sole trader basis. The remainder is split between partnership (22%) and limited companies (25%).


The employment generated by franchising is at the core of its contribution to the economy as a whole. It is calculated that some 316,000 people are directly employed in the franchising sector.


The proportion of franchisees reporting profitability in the survey was 95% (compared with 70% in 1991). Furthermore the proportion of franchisees claiming to be highly/quite profitable was 52%. They put the main reasons for their success down to hard work, good service and customer satisfaction together with the benefits of the product/service offered.

Industry Sectors

Franchisee Profile sought by Franchisors

Whilst most franchisors do not specify any age or gender restrictions, individuals with selling/marketing and general business experience attributes are the most sought after. Franchisors are looking for evidence of self-motivation, determination, some financial acumen and positive attitude towards work.


The total average initial outlay for setting up a franchise is £44,500 (£49,900). The average ongoing management service fee and advertising levy is a fraction below 10% of franchisee’s turnover. Banks are the most important overall source of finance. 48% of franchisees borrowed money to set up and of those 77% borrowed from the Banks. The average amount borrowed was £32,500.

Franchisor-Franchisee Relationships


The franchising marketplace as a whole is generally optimistic about the future. When asked about their expectations over the next 12 months 90% of franchisors and 68% of franchisees forecast an improvement in their business.

Note 1 :

The survey results relate only to full business format franchising. If franchising is considered in its broader context and car dealerships, soft drink franchises, the franchised and tenanted licensed trade and petrol retailing are included, it is estimated that the total market is worth £60.0 billion per annum.

Note 2 :

The information in this document is extracted from the seventeenth annual research study sponsored by NatWest. Copies of the survey are available from the British Franchise Association, telephone number 01491 578049/50.

Note 3 :

The above information can be utilised in press articles, project work etc. subject to an acknowledgement of the source.

Now take the next step - get more details by receiving our franchising brochure

View all 1152 testimonials
The Study Prep School
Sue Burns - Jun 15, 2018
"An extremely professional service was provided for our sports day. The photographers are excellent, providing great quality photos of the children in all events. Highly recommend DE Photo to anyone."

Prospect House School
Si Vedat - Jun 13, 2018
"DE Photo were excellent this year. Photographers were great and Richard Chubb was very accommodating."

East Area Prep Schools
Richard Brearley - Jun 08, 2018
"The photographers were excellent and provided a very professional service. I would be very happy to recommend them to other organisations."

Sawtry Colts Football Club
Shelley Harding - Jun 02, 2018
"Tony and his team were a great addition to our football tournament and the quality of the photos they took were brilliant. As soon as we have a date for next years tournament I will be booking Tony and his team as soon as possible. "

Beaconsfield Town Youth FC
Brian Lewis - May 28, 2018
"Very professional, polite and accommodating team. I would certainly recommend them for large football tournaments !"

Wigmore Youth FC
Dan Jones - May 27, 2018
"We had DE Photo at the Wigmore they done an amazing job plus made it a great event. We will look to make further bookings with them."

Bourne Town Juniors Football Club
Steve Moss - May 26, 2018
"Tony and the team attended our Annual Tournament again this year. As previous years, the level of service was outstanding. Tony and the team are a huge part of our event and our team. We look forward to them being involved again next year."

Beaconsfield Town Youth FC
Brian Lewis - May 26, 2018
"Excellent service, very professional and a pleasure to work with. Will definitely recommend them for large football tournaments such as ours !"

Copthorne Prep School
Jeremy Coulson - May 25, 2018
"Another excellent performance from a thoroughly professional outfit. This is the 5th year that we have used DE Photo for our sports day and football tournament and they have always done an excellent job. Happy to recommend them to everyone."

Henfield FC
Nicky Smith - May 19, 2018
"I would highly recommend DE Photo, we have used them for our football tournament every year and the quality of their photos and the service they provide is excellent. They are also super organised, very polite and helpful... we will be booking them again for next year!"

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