More “Man-in-a-Van” Wanted

Earlier in November, Nedbank hosted a Franchising in South Africa roundtable in which issues including unemployment featured prominently.

More “Man-in-a-Van” Wanted

Eric Parker, co-founder of Nandos and senior partner at Franchising Plus, described how franchising could help alleviate unemployment – but the concept rested on more “man in a van” franchises.

“South Africa has approximately eight million individuals seeking employment with very limited education. But they do have specific skills, like painting, cleaning, building, operating spaza stores, and gardening.”

Giving workers a makeover

Unfortunately because of the security concerns of South Africans, Parker explains that individual casual labourers looking for painting or carpentry jobs outside of DIY stores are overlooked. “What people don’t realise is that there are many companies out there where a man with a nice face presents himself to customers, gets the job, and then picks up the same guys on the side of the road that you overlooked. Only this time, he exploits them for a day’s work at R80.”

The solution, according to Parker, is to create more small scale franchises with low barriers to entry that can put each skill set to use. “There are very successful models internationally under the term ‘man-in-a-van’. By using this model, for example a gardening service franchise, a painting franchise, or a house cleaning franchise, 700 entrepreneurs have the ability to create 6 000 permanent jobs in three years.

“Man-in-a-van franchising really offers the opportunity for entrepreneurs to operate under a successful brand and with the support of the franchisor. But most importantly, if offers many people the opportunity to find permanent work even if they don’t have the skills or experience to be employed or the capital to upskill themselves.”

Tracy Lee Nicol
About the Author
Tracy-Lee Nicol is the managing editor of Franchise Zone Magazine and deputy editor of Entrepreneur Magazine. She studied her Masters degree in Art History and Visual Culture at Rhodes University and spent the next two years working and travelling in Asia. Her love of people, business and teaching is reflected in telling the stories of entrepreneurs, franchisees and franchisors, inspiring others to take the leap to being their own boss and bringing about positive change in South Africa.

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