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Network intensifies broker investigation

Date: 16 February 2009   |   Author: Tom Webster

Network has deepened the level of its auditing process for its brokering franchisees.

The company, a specialist division of Leaseplan, provides small businesses with leasing products through a network of franchisees, who are members of trade association the BVRLA.

However, Network has decided that BVRLA membership together with its previous questioning process is no longer enough to be one of its brokers, and now wants broker members to pass a more stringent examination before being allowed access to its products.

"The BVRLA audit didn't go far enough for us so we go into a lot more detail in ours," said Jo Elms, Network's brand director.

"We are trying to raise the bar with brokers and their standards," she said, saying also that potential Network brokers must fulfil three major requirements.

"They have to have office premises - we are not interested in people trading out of their back room or the garden shed," she said.

Financial solidity and background is also a must. "Businesses must be solvent with no disqualified directors," said Elms.

Professional accreditation is the third of Network's three requirements. "They must have BVRLA membership. Our franchise base must adhere to the same code of conduct."

Elms also restated the company's refusal to enter into brokers involved in third-party dealing, saying: "We are not interested in multiple dealings or contacts."

As part of Network's major revamp, which went live at the beginning of the year, the company has restructured its training programmes. Particular focus has been given to telephone sales and IT training.

A greater degree of flexibility has been brought in. "If the company requests it we can send a trainer to the business to work with the entire sales team rather than just on a one-to-one basis," said Elms.

These changes have been based largely on feedback from the franchisees.

"We had a series of focus groups, and they gave it to us warts and all," continued Elms. "We then went back with a framework and it was all done with their input."

This input will continue going forward.

"We intend to set up a council meeting for our platinum franchisees - those that do in excess of 100 units a year," concluded Elms.