Frequently asked questions Below are the most common questions and answers that people ask us when considering buying an Mail Boxes Etc. franchise. If you have any questions that don’t appear below, please call our head office on 1800 556 245. Agreements/Conditions/Obligations What is my financial obligation to MBE in return for a franchise? A royalty fee and advertising levy are payable each month based on a percentage of your gross sales. Can I take a franchise outside Australia? Yes. MBE operates in over 40 countries and enquiries are welcome. Do I have to use the equipment you specify or can I source my own if I can save money? There is no objection to owners who can save money on equipment purchases. It is advised that owners seek reputable dealers and also seek the advice of their local support staff. MBE thoroughly test and provide assessments on many pieces of equipment and make recommendations as to price, suitability, performance etc. It must be remembered that if you purchase equipment which is neither familiar to MBE support staff nor other franchise owners, this limits the amount of advice and assistance that we can offer during times of technical difficulty. Why should I pay MBE a Royalty Fee? This gives you the right to use the MBE name and operational systems. We have ongoing field support programs backed up by local experienced support staff who are immediately available through e-mail. We have buying arrangements with all suppliers at preferred rates both for raw materials and equipment. We have developed our own computer system called PoSSE for quoting, pricing, invoicing etc., which can be integrated with marketing and accounting uses. We have a protected territory that is granted to you as part of your franchise agreement and as a result of which we undertake not to open another MBE Centre within your territory during the life of the agreement. Our training program is based on the Australian marketplace rather than overseas systems. Our research shows that MBE is the recognised market leader in the office services sector in Australia and throughout the world.. Do I have to stick to MBE's recommendations? No, although as you are paying for our advice from over 30 years worldwide and 25 years in Australia of experience with 2500+ centres operating throughout the world, MBE would strongly advise that you do. However, you are required to adhere to items such as corporate image and other matters as detailed in our franchise agreement and Operating Manual. The strength of joining a franchise chain is to adhere to the proven systems if you wish to emulate the successes of other successful franchise owners. Can I have more than one MBE Centre? Yes, there is a written policy with respect to multi centre ownership and there are certain criteria that must be achieved in the existing Centre before approval would be given to open a second Centre. Multi-centre operations is considerably different than single centre ownership. There are already a number of MBE franchise owners who are multi Centre owners. Can you guarantee I will be successful? No. As a new MBE Centre owner, you will be making an investment in your future. Your investment will also make you an important link in our growing network. We cannot guarantee your success: your own commitment, capabilities and business skills will play a significant role. Your choice, however of a franchise business over a similar type of independent business would put the odds in your favour. How can I qualify for a MBE franchise? There are three basic requirements: Have the finances to make the required investment. Have the desire to create your own business with a challenging future. Be willing to learn and follow the proven MBE System and accept opportunities as they arise. How soon can I get started? Depending upon the location, you can usually be in business within 90 days after you have met the requirements for an MBE Franchise. Support by Franchisor What support do I get from MBE? MBE offers an integrated management support system, including a specialised Point of Sale and Franchise Management Software Package, PoSSE, comprehensive in-centre and classroom training, online training, regular webinars and email updates and newsletters to help you implement best practice in your business. Does MBE offer training for my staff once my Centre is open? A comprehensive range of training for owners and staff is arranged through MBE Head Office in Sydney. Does MBE supply the basic materials such as equipment, paper, courier services and take a margin from these for itself? No. The franchisor negotiates prices with a group of proven, reliable, recommended suppliers on behalf of the group, but MBE Centres deal direct with these suppliers. What sort of support would I get in a country franchise? MBE aims to provide a similar amount of support metropolitan owners receive. However, it must be understood that in some cases servicing of equipment such as presses and photocopiers may not be as readily accessible as in the metropolitan areas. Why should I buy a franchise business when I might be able to open an independent business of my own? According to a U.S. Department of Commerce survey charting the success rate of small businesses, franchised outlets showed a significantly stronger survival rate than those choosing the independent route. In comparison, five years after opening, 77% of independent outlets had failed, whereas 92% of all franchised businesses were still in operation. Operation of a MBE Centre Where will my MBE Centre be located? This will be determined between yourself and MBE as the selection process proceeds. However, our services are, for the most part, business to business and are not suited to shopping malls. Most commonly they are street level in commercial, suburban areas and CBDs. Do MBE Centres sell ‘non-business' products? Centres are discouraged from retailing items that are not in our core business to business of office supplies and outsourced services. Do I have to wear a uniform? Yes. Being part of the MBE franchise chain, it is a requirement that you are correctly dressed. It is our view that looking professional is an important part of being professional and a uniform is important Can I put a manager in and just have the MBE Centre as an investment? No, this is not permitted. An MBE franchise will only be granted on the basis that it is owner operated. We know from experience that owner-operators achieve significantly better results than investors. What if I want to sell my MBE Centre? MBE will give assistance to you in selling your Centre and will offer advice on valuations. However we do not become involved in the commercial transaction between you as the franchise owner and the prospective owner unless you so nominate. It is necessary that MBE approves any prospective purchaser and we reserve the right to veto the sale if the proposed purchaser is not acceptable. Is it necessary that I know computers or the printing business? No, it is not essential. The MBE franchise concept is based upon devoting your time to managing and developing the business throughout your market. You will employ the necessary people to handle the day-to-day printing and computer operation. The amount of time spent in your Centre for supervision and day-to-day operation will vary depending upon your management abilities, employees and methods of operation. Marketing Will future technology reduce the need for outsourced office services? The MBE model continually adapts to current office trends. Indeed, what you find inside an MBE centre today is radically different than 10 years ago. MBE is not a single product franchise, that’s one of its great strengths. What do I get for the advertising levy? This levy funds a number of marketing and advertising strategies to establish branding and support local marketing by MBE Centres. Access to a wide range of mailers incorporating a monthly marketing program. Creative consultancy and production of all media and promotional items. Sales promotions including promotion people, market research, etc. National media campaigns to establish branding, P.R. and extensive sales systems are also provided. Do I have to spend a percentage of my sales on local advertising? Yes. It is in the MBE Centre owner’s best interests to gain maximum local business exposure and this can be best done through direct mail, letterbox drops, sales calls, personal sales efforts, etc. It is important to maximise the impact of the corporate advertising program to inform the local business community that there is an MBE Centre convenient to them.