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Signs Express
Signs Express is an extremely successful and lucrative Sign and Graphics Business. Established for more than 25 years and with over 65 successful franchisees already in operation, Signs Express is one of the leading franchisors in the UK and Ireland. There’s no need for experience as full training is provided.
Franchise Information
  • BFA Membership StatusFull
  • UK Years Established21 years
  • Current UK Coverage60%
  • Franchisee Support Staff19
  • Personal Investment Req.£45,000
  • Total Startup Cost£120,000
  • Territory-based business locationYes
  • Business to business servicesYes
  • Franchisee employs staffYes
Next Steps

Introducing Mark Kendall from Signs Express Southampton

Mark Kendall took over Signs Express Southampton as a franchise resale, for a career change. In two years he has almost doubled the turnover of the centre. We caught up with Mark to find out what inspired him to become a Signs Express franchisee and unearth his tips for running a successful business.

Signs Express - Mark KendallFor 28 years I worked in aluminium stockholding; completely different to the world of signs and graphics that is my passion now. However working for myself had always been a personal goal explains Mark.

I relocated from Bristol to Southampton almost 30 years ago, aged 21, for a sales job in a small organisation, then went on to became a shareholder of a larger company. When that relationship ended I set up an aluminium stockholding business of my own. In 2007 that business was sold as a Management Buy Out.

So what motivated Mark to change career?

Selling my aluminium stockholding business was the catalyst for my career change. I had acquired a range of transferrable skills, like sales, marketing, people management, IT and so on; and my network of professional contacts in Southampton was really strong. I wanted a new challenge but still wanted to be my own boss.

What appealed to Mark about franchising?

I had never really considered franchising as I didn’t know much about it, so went along to a franchise show to learn more. It was there I heard that the Signs Express franchisee in Southampton was looking to emigrate and so the business was for sale. As we talked, the possibilities of the signs industry became clear to me. I realised that my breadth of contacts were a ready-made potential client base. People from all walks of life need signs. By applying the same skills, I could sell signs in the same way that I had previously sold metal.

Mark explains how changing industries has worked for him:

My proven business management, sales and team leadership skills have laid the foundations for building a successful Signs Express centre; the team around me are the technical experts on the production side of things. Being part of a franchise provides peace of mind as support is always available on all aspects of running a business. As well as head office, the network of more than 70 franchisees provides plenty of first-hand experience to draw on.

In my view, the two most important skills for a franchisee to possess are, 1) being prepared to get in front of people to talk about your business and, 2) being good with people. My advice is, listen to people, let people manage themselves, make people feel important, and be reliable – direct these principles to both your customers and people within your team.

So what are Mark’s goals for the future?

I am proud to have doubled the turnover of this centre within two years of having taken it on; though increasing business and becoming more profitable is always going to be a goal. I think Signs Express Southampton has built a reputation for excellence and quality. In ten years time I’d like to be in new larger premises, have a bigger team and see people around me who have helped build this business up taking on more prominent roles.

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New Owner for Signs Express TelfordNew Owner for Signs Express Telford

Martin Geddes-Smith is the new owner of the existing Signs Express business in Telford.

Janiv Patel - Under 30 and a Signs Express FranchiseeJaniv Patel - Under 30 and a Signs Express Franchisee

At 29 Janiv Patel is one of the youngest franchisees in the award winning Signs Express Network.

Ray Allenby and Jane Wiles are sailing into pastures newRay Allenby and Jane Wiles are sailing into pastures new

Ray Allenby and Jane Wiles have recently taken over the long established Signs Express business in Cosham, Portsmouth.

Introducing Ken Bevis from Signs Express GrimsbyIntroducing Ken Bevis from Signs Express Grimsby

Ken Bevis is one of the first members of the Signs Express network he has successfully owned and operated Signs Express in North and North East Lincolnshire for the last 20 years

Introducing Anne Hitch who is Managing Director of Signs Express in PeterboroughIntroducing Anne Hitch who is Managing Director of Signs Express in Peterborough

We spoke to Anne Hitch about her career path and what qualities she believes makes her successful in her Signs Express business

Meet Signs Express Franchisee (Exeter) Nick Baxter-SibleyMeet Signs Express Franchisee (Exeter) Nick Baxter-Sibley

Originally opened in 1995 husband and wife team Nick and Marion Baxter-Sibley now employ ten staff at their 2000 sq ft unit based on Waterbridge Court on Matford Park Road.

Meet Signs Express (Gateshead) Franchisee Malcolm LantMeet Signs Express (Gateshead) Franchisee Malcolm Lant

Originally opened in 1998, Malcolm has been Signs Express centre owner since 2005 and now employs six staff

Meet Signs Express Franchisee John Miller-Wilson (Bristol)Meet Signs Express Franchisee John Miller-Wilson (Bristol)

Originally opened in 2004, John has been centre owner since 2007 and now employs seven staff from his 2200 sq ft unit based on Avonbank Industrial Estate.

Meet Signs Express (Birmingham SW ) Franchisee Joe SmithMeet Signs Express (Birmingham SW ) Franchisee Joe Smith

Joe Smith opened the doors of his custom designed sign making centre back in June 2006 at the age of 29.

Meet Signs Express (Twickenham) Franchisee Jayesh PatelMeet Signs Express (Twickenham) Franchisee Jayesh Patel

Signs Express (Twickenham) Franchisee Jayesh Patel Originally opened in 2003, Jayesh employs four staff at his 3000 sq ft unit based on Vector Park in Feltham

Meet Signs Express (Leeds) Franchisees Dave & Kim NurseMeet Signs Express (Leeds) Franchisees Dave & Kim Nurse

Signs Express (Leeds) husband and wife team Dave and Kim Nurse now employ six staff at their 1981 sq ft unit in Leeds.

Meet Signs Express (Ipswich) Franchisee Nick DawesMeet Signs Express (Ipswich) Franchisee Nick Dawes

As one of the first franchises to open Nick has been centre owner since 1992 and now employs six staff


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