Tom Skelding, franchise owner, Easy Living Mobility
What is your background in the mobility industry?
I’ve grown up around the industry so it was a natural progression to move into the mobility industry. I have worked for dealers in the past and enjoyed their training and way of being with customers. I have sold a wide range of mobility equipment and also surveyed and fitted stairlifts. I love the rewarding feeling of helping people. It’s what companies like ourselves are here to do – to give people their independence and allow them to live every moment.
How does it feel to be Easy Living Mobility’s first franchisee?
It’s such a pleasure to be part of Easy Living Mobility. Being the first franchisee is an honour.
What are you most excited about in regards to being Easy Living Mobility’s first franchisee?
I’m excited to be my own boss and take on the challenge. But the most exciting thing is to be able to help people in their daily lives, whatever the need.
Do you feel any pressure as the first person to try this model?
Any new venture can be daunting for anyone. Running my own business is a completely new experience for me so I feel personal pressure to get everything going and running right.
What kind of support have you had in opening the business?
I couldn’t possibly fault the support I have received. Someone has always been on hand with kind words and support to help me with anything I have needed. It has put me at complete ease knowing that support is there whenever needed.
What has been the toughest thing so far about starting up?
The toughest thing, that’s tricky because nothing has been a burden. Probably getting the store keys as that is out of our hands. It just meant pushing to get them so I could get my store up and running.
What are your plans for the business?
I have no end-goals for my business as such. First off is to get my Wolverhampton store off to a fantastic start and running for the future. I want to enhance my business by being able to offer more and more complex products, firstly with support from the Easy Living Mobility specialist teams and then self-sufficiently. Finally, I’d like to own further stores.
What would your message be to other individuals considering applying for a franchise with Easy Living Mobility?
If you’re looking for an opportunity you will love and feel so good about doing, don’t hesitate! You will have no end of support and guidance. There aren’t many places where you can learn so much about every single part of the industry. Just do it…
Darren Legg, Franchise Development Manager, Easy Living Mobility
What made Tom Skelding the right fit for Easy Living Mobility’s first franchise?
We’ve known from the start that we have to find the right people to fit within our business to make our franchise opportunity successful. Tom definitely brings all of the right characteristics to be successful and also the willingness to learn and develop as his business grows.
What will the next few months be about for Tom’s new business?
The main priority will be establishing his business in the local area through engagement with customers and other local opportunities that he will look to proactively target.
Now that one person has taken the leap, do you hope that others will follow?
We would certainly expect that to be the case as people can visualise the opportunity more so now that we have an operational franchise and someone to talk to who has already taken up the opportunity.
The new franchise sees Easy Living Mobility expand its presence in the Midlands. Which areas is the company targeting next?
We are a very focused business and certainly have a plan based on our knowledge of areas that we know will work very well for us. Having said that, we are also a very dynamic business and will look at every franchise enquiry on its own individual merits and make a decision from there.
What interest have you had in the franchise proposition so far?
We have a number of ongoing enquiries and are sure that we will see others follow in Tom’s footsteps fairly soon. Since we announced Tom’s franchise, we have had an increase in the number of people from within industry making contact, so I am sure they are seeing the opportunity as a way of furthering themselves but also keeping their existing industry experience and skills. In addition to this, our easy payment plan is making a franchise more accessible for any individuals who may have seen the initial costs of starting their own mobility business as an obstacle.
How has the launch of Easy Living Mobility’s franchise model been received by individuals within the company, for example branch managers of company-owned stores?
I’m really happy to be able to say that every single individual in the business is 100% behind making the franchise model successful. We have the right people and they want to help any franchisee who comes on-board in any way that they can.
Where do you see Tom’s business five years from now?
I am certain that Tom will deliver a very successful and profitable business over the coming years. In five years’, time that can be a number of things – development through more complex product offering, more stores, even both of these.