£1m sales surge leads to franchise launch for decking specialist

Greg Kane, left, and Russell Milburn

A Preston-based decking specialist is gearing up for national expansion after recording a 33% increase in sales.

Lakeland Verandahs designs, supplies and installs maintenance-free decking and fencing.

Founded in 2008 by industry specialist Russell Milburn, it has tapped into the growing desire from homeowners to make the most of their outside spaces by posting £4m of orders over the past 12 months – a £1m increase.

The company has now launched a new franchise offer to help it increase its geographic coverage to all parts of the UK and Ireland, with four territories already signed up and beginning to trade.

These include representatives in East Anglia, Northern Ireland, Northern Scotland and West Mercia, with seven more areas currently in final negotiations.

Russell said: “Lockdowns have seen people spend more time in their gardens and this has definitely led to greater investment in outside spaces and, in particular, our uPVC decking solutions.

“The growth in the North West made us think about how we could take the Lakeland Verandahs brand into more areas and the fastest way we can do this is through a franchise model that gives potential entrepreneurs all the tools and support they need to go from a start-up to a £1.2m business in just three years.”

He added: “In total, we’re looking for 35 to 40 different operations. With four up and running and seven close to completion, we’re six months ahead of schedule.”

Primarily aimed at the residential marketplace, the modern, natural look uPVC decking enhances garden or patio areas, with clients able to customise the design to make the most of their outdoor space. This includes contemporary and traditional solutions, nine different colours and a host of wood-effect imprints.

Greg Kane, director of Lakeland Verandahs Franchising and owner of Wakefield-based Conservatory Outlet, said: “We’ve spent a lot of time capturing what makes our business special and transferring it into the franchise model.”

“Everyone who signs up will get extensive induction and training sessions on how to install the product at our HQ in Preston and then access to dedicated training and sales specialists for technical questions, lead generation and day-to-day support.”

He added: “We initially projected sales of £1.2m for each franchise holder by year three, but, the way the digital lead generation is going, we believe this could be achieved within the first 12 months.”