SA Franchise Brands welcomes Jonathan Pepler, Co-Founder & Franchisor of Silverline Group.
After winning the SANLAM and Business Partners Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2013, congratulations on winning “The FASA (Franchise Association of South Africa)” Franchisor of the Year 2014” award.
What has been paramount to Silverline Group’s success?
Our success is mainly due to our passion and commitment for what we do. We are focused on our long term strategy, ensuring a profitable business and positive cash flow for all our franchisees.
What challenges do you face at present?
Our major challenge is growth. Silverline Group is growing much faster than the industry which puts a lot of pressure on our structures as we constantly have to expand our footprint and services to franchisees in order to ensure a minimum service level. At the end of the day, the client is the most important person in our business and our franchisee is the face dealing with the client on a day to day basis. Head office needs to ensure that the franchisee is able to do so consistently.
How has your franchise model worked in favour of the success of the group?
Our Franchise model is based on ensuring profitable franchisees. We have negotiated materials and subcontractor pricing to ensure that it fits into our costing model and this ensures a minimum profitability.
What are some of the attributes required from franchisees?
We are constantly recruiting franchisees who understand the construction industry and who have previous medium to large construction experience. We convert conventional building contractors into Light Frame Steel contractors.
How would you describe the overall relationship between the group and its franchisees?
The relationship is one of teamwork and interdependence. We realise the importance of walking together and the success that can be achieved by working together. Most of the work that franchisees are doing is sourced by the head office marketing department.
What kind of training and support are franchisees given?
Training and support is ongoing, it starts off with a week training at the Silverline Group Academy where we train franchisees how to manage a construction business, from sourcing leads, making deals, marketing, business administration to costing, quoting, business documentation and offering them a total business solution. The other part of construction is managing a profitable business. Thereafter our franchisees attend a week’s training at SASFA which is the South African Steel Framing Association of which we are a member. Here training is specifically focused on the actual erecting of structures according to the building code. This ensures compliance and standard practice. Silverline Group further offers franchisees updated business documentation, contracts, operating manuals, on-site training manuals, on-site training as well as continuous site visits from head office ensuring quality control. We also do quarterly newsletters and an annual two day conference focusing on new technology. Our franchisees receive all their marketing material and manuals on-line via our website and the franchisee portal.
Which factors are paramount for sustained future growth within the group with specific reference to its present and future franchisees?
Our focus is to ensure that our franchisees are profitable and that their businesses are sustainable over the long term. We are constantly adding value and creating additional income streams for our franchisees within the parameters of the construction industry. A happy franchisee does not mind paying a small royalty.
Where to from here and into the future?
Silverline Group is en-route from local to global. We have just signed a Memorandum of Understanding with two very large companies in the construction industry giving us immediate access to supply of material and factories in 60 countries across the world. We are already represented and going on-site in Perth Australia, Nice in France and Mauritius in the next month.