Paul and Carol Watson from West Byfleet run their franchise in the Surrey area and joined PPP in January 2014.

Why did you decide to become a franchisee?

It was the second time in five years that I was facing redundancy, albeit voluntary on this occasion. It made me and my wife, Carol, realise that we wanted to be in control of our own destiny.

I took a month to recharge my batteries and weigh up my options - another corporate job, self-employed consultant, or franchising? I knew that I was interested in finding a business that Carol and I could run together, but also didn’t want to be completely on our own. Franchising would offer us systems, structures and support.

Why did you choose PPP over other property investment franchises?

I wasn’t looking for any particular type of franchise, I just knew I didn’t want to buy a job, so decided to subscribe to the bfa monthly magazine for inspiration. I literally stumbled across an advert for PPP in the first issue.

The property element stood out - property is a solid and safe investment vehicle and I wanted to understand what they could teach me. We already had three single occupancy buy-to-let properties but we realised, having looked at the figures, that they weren’t going to provide a big enough income for us to live off, which was essentially our goal. So, the curiosity factor for us was how could we achieve such an impressive rental income with PPP?

We attended a Discovery Day in November 2013. We liked what we saw and the people we had met and decided that PPP and its proposition ticked all of our boxes – income to replace our salaries, income in retirement, a passive income, a business we could build together and a chance to boost our children’s inheritance.

Has the business been successful so far?

We have two Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) up and running and have completed on our third property. We have 12 happy housemates and are just waiting to get local authority approval for a seventh bedroom in each property which will increase our annual rental income by around £12,000. Using a financial analysing tool from PPP, we can evaluate the potential profit of a property before purchase and in fact, both HMOs are producing higher rental yields than we anticipated which is great.

What kind of training and support have you seen in return for your investment?

PPP run a structured programme of initial training which is basically the A-Z of how to run your business. It covers everything from tax-efficient business structures, accounting and legal requirements to planning, licensing, tenant management and best practice.

You are also teamed up with two mentors during your first project who spend a lot of time teaching, guiding and coaching you on what and where to buy and how to carry out a cost-effective and high standard refurbishment.

There are also quarterly regional workshops and two national workshops each year that provide important industry and legislation updates, additional training and give you the chance to network with the rest of the Partners.

Over and above all of that, you have access to an intranet that contains all of the documentation and learning manuals you need, the team at head office that is always on hand to provide additional support and of course, the knowledge and expertise of the other 200+ Partners.

Has franchising changed your life?

We are now in control of our own future. We aren’t at the beck and call of someone else. Despite being quite hands-on, both Carol and I only work part time hours, even at this crucial stage where we are still developing our business. As the business grows and income increases, we will have even more freedom to make choices – I will be able to decide whether I want to work rather than having to.

In addition to that, it’s something that Carol and I have been able to do together as a team, which is an intangible benefit that we would find hard to achieve in the corporate world.

PPP has also educated us in other areas of investment and personal development which has given us the opportunity to branch out and work on other projects with some of the other Partners in the network.

What are your plans for the future?

We currently plan to have five properties in our portfolio by the end of 2016, which we are on course to achieve, and that will provide us with the same household income that we were achieving when I was working full time. However, we will have significantly more time for ourselves, even more so than now, and the consequence of that is that we will be able to travel and do more things together as a family.