A law firm in South Wales has reported an upsurge in enquiries in recent months around creating or investing in franchises – a phenomenon it believes is driven by the economic dislocation caused by COVID-19 fostering an entrepreneurial spirit in society.
Hutchinson Thomas Solicitors is one of the few law firms in Wales with specialist expertise in this area of law. Darren Davies, the head of its Franchise Law Department, is one of the few solicitors in Wales to have completed Qualified Franchise Professional (QFP) status.
The QFP status was obtained by Davies as formal recognition of his professional knowledge and experience in franchising – one of very few business sectors that have seen growth during the pandemic. The award is currently held by only a handful of legal professionals in the UK.
The qualification is awarded by the British Franchise Association (BFA), an organisation which has been responsible for setting quality standards for UK franchising since 1977, and demonstrates extensive understanding of the complexities of, and best practice in, franchising. The BFA delivers a world-renowned education portfolio and provides a value rich platform for franchisors, franchisees, and professional advisers to connect.
Contrary to the negative effects felt by many business sectors during the pandemic, there has been a marked increase in people considering franchising as a potential business opportunity.
According to one leading franchise directory, demand for investments within franchising are at an all-time high, with a huge 35 per cent rise in enquiries from people seeking self-employment through franchising during the pandemic.
The reasons behind this upsurge are believed to be because the pandemic has made many highly skilled and experienced people redundant, or in fear of losing their jobs, creating a well-qualified labour pool of prospective franchisees and employees for those franchisees. Becoming a franchisee also allows people to set up their own business to a tried-and-tested formula, avoiding many of the difficulties and risks that come with a brand-new start-up.
Davies’ recent qualification, therefore, comes at a perfect time for those looking to become franchisees, and reinforces his commitment to support existing clients that are involved in franchising.
Darren Davies, head of the Franchise Law department at Hutchinson Thomas, said: “I’m very proud to have gained the Qualified Franchise Professional qualification from the BFA. The BFA is the go-to organisation for all matters relating to franchising in the UK. The course, which I undertook over three years, has increased my knowledge and understanding of franchising and demonstrates my ability to advise clients in all areas relating to that sector of business.
“During the pandemic we’ve seen a noticeable increase in the number of individuals considering a change of career to become a franchisee. My QFP status should reassure people that when they come to Hutchinson Thomas for advice on franchising they are in qualified and experienced hands, and we are best placed to guide them through the legalities necessary to establish a successful franchise business.”