Signs Express: Sign up to Success

Signs Express franchisee Richard McGonigle opened his production centre in Derry after previously working as a Software Developer. Richard wanted a change and had always aspired to start his own business so looked at franchising as a way to achieve this.

Leading signs and graphics franchise, Signs Express is the UK & Ireland's largest sign company with over 80 centres. Exhibiting at the forthcoming Irish Franchise Exhibition on stand C20, Signs Express offers a B2B management franchise package with comprehensive training and ongoing support. Full members of the Irish Franchise Association and British Franchise Association, Signs Express franchisee Richard McGonigle talks about his franchise decision and development of the business.

Signs Express franchisee Richard McGonigle opened his production centre in Derry after previously working as a Software Developer. Richard wanted a change and had always aspired to start his own business so looked at franchising as a way to achieve this.

He said: 'After looking into a few businesses that were for sale in the local area, the costs involved made it unviable. I then decided that a franchise was the best option to suit my needs as it was a tried and tested idea and could provide me with the vital start I needed in business. The signs business interested me and I contacted Signs Express to find out more. After seeing the Head Quarters and the amount of support that was offered, I was delighted to be awarded the franchise for the Derry area.'

Each Signs Express franchisee takes part in a comprehensive training course covering all areas of the business and receives ongoing support and advice from a dedicated team of over 20 industry professionals at the Head Office; covering all disciplines including technical support, accounts, marketing, IT and operations.

Each centre operates from a custom-designed light industrial production unit with dedicated vehicle application bay, experienced signmakers and specialised equipment to complete client requests to the highest standards.

Richard continued: 'We have only been up and running for a short time but are already finding a lot of customers are coming back for repeat or similar orders. The brand image is what gets us a lot of our jobs, people recognise the brand and realise that they are not working with a 'fly by night' company but a reputable business.

'Since starting the business, the hardest part I have found is organizing your day and your staff so that everything gets done. It's a bit of a challenge at the beginning as you tend to have a million things to do!

'The business is still in its infancy yet I have been able to achieve great sales so far and have been involved in a number of exciting projects for clients. The biggest satisfaction I get is driving about the city and seeing more and more vehicles and signage we have produced. Every day is different too, which is very challenging yet rewarding.

'My lifestyle has changed since starting the business as I now use every opportunity to promote Signs Express. I will be looking to take on an additional staff member shortly to cope with increasing demand and I would also like to be in a position over the next year to purchase a wide format digital printing machine, benefiting our profit margins and developing our in-house capabilities.

'In the future I hope to have Signs Express (Derry) fully established as the place that people go to in the NW of Ireland for all their signage requirements... and I can see no reason why this will not be possible!'