Spotlight: Owning a franchise with Vodafone UK

A big brand retail franchise could be more within your reach than you think.

According to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics, the general trend in retail is one of growth[1].

Owning a retail business within a local community holds appeal to many people with an entrepreneurial spirit, but the challenges associated with opening a new shop of any kind often become a barrier to entry.

Having to create a brand, find premises, kit them out, buy and manage stock, and promote a business long-term are just a few of the factors that put people off trying to launch a retail store.

The franchising model overcomes many of these hurdles. Franchisees benefit from a great deal of practical support from the franchise brand, from help with finding a retail unit and negotiating its lease, to equipping it and providing access to backend systems, as well as the promotion of its launch and then ongoing marketing.

In many cases, however, significant up-front capital is required to cover the high initial costs of these franchises – and this thwarts the ambitions of those without access to substantial levels of funding.


A different approach

Recognising the advantages of handing over the reins of their existing stores to motivated entrepreneurs, telecoms giant Vodafone started franchising their UK shops in 2017. Fully furnished and equipped Vodafone stores were made available as franchises via the company’s Partner Agent programme.

Significantly, the cost of taking on a Vodafone franchise as a Partner Agent is low compared to other retail franchises. There is no up-front cost, nor any ongoing management fees. The capital required is for operational cashflow – typically £60,000 to £100,000 to run the store for the first few months.

Sandeep Dattani had long held ambitions of being his own boss. He had more than 15 years’ experience in the telecoms industry but setting up his own business in the field always felt out of reach financially. When he learned of the Vodafone Partner Agent programme, he leapt at the chance and is now the Partner Agent for Borehamwood & Hemel Hempstead. Sandeep comments:

“Because of the low cost of entry, the Vodafone Partner Agent programme removed the block that was stopping me from becoming my own boss in the sector I know and love.”


Own a local business but get big business support

Today there are 174 live Partner stores, with franchisees benefiting from a range of support, training and assistance from the Vodafone’s dedicated Partner Services team, not to mention the overall brand awareness and marketing campaigns that Vodafone UK undertakes.

This support and ongoing promotion allow Partner Agents to focus on the people element of their business – both employees and the local community.

With nearly 20 years’ experience in the mobile phone industry, Andy Wyness saw the opportunity to run his own business with Vodafone in his nearby town of Devizes. He comments:

“The Vodafone Partner Agent programme has enabled me to open a business in my local community which uses my expertise and allows me a lot of autonomy. I’ve become part of the local business community and I enjoy leading and developing my team as well as building customer relationships.”

“I am a small business owner who has really benefited from the support that a large company like Vodafone can offer – for example when they laid on high quality staff for the first two weeks of my store being open under my management.”

“The Vodafone retail systems we use are very slick and the stock management is spot on. As Partner Agents we are supported really well, with the area manager and the team at head office always being available to answer any questions we might have.”

Sandeep also recognises the advantages of being part of a global brand, and comments: 

“I’m really seeing a positive effect from the amount of marketing Vodafone is doing across the UK – it’s the sort of publicity only a world-class brand can generate and I’m benefiting as a small business owner; it’s driving people to my store!”


Interested in finding out more?

If you are a results-driven leader with excellent communication skills, visit the Vodafone Partner Discovery Zone at The National Franchise Exhibition at the NEC, Birmingham, on 4 & 5 October and find out what it takes to become a Vodafone franchisee.

You can network with the Vodafone team and listen in to a series of discovery sessions including a useful Q&A session with existing Partner Agents. Register here for your complimentary pass to the Vodafone Partner Discovery Zone.

Register free here for the exhibition, which also gives you access to more than 100 franchise brands and a goldmine of expert advice and support.



[1] Source: ONS; Retail sales, Great Britain: July 2019

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