2017 was a bumper year for the Digit team, as they celebrated not only ten years in business, but also their largest growth year yet. And, with FASA (Franchise Association of South Africa) accreditation as well as PSiRA (Private Security Industry Regulatory) recognition as further recent endorsements for the brand, their 2018 looks set to soar. “We plan to grow internationally this year, and open master franchisees in key countries in East and West Africa, as well as in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and India,” says Lee Bester – Franchise Development (HQ). Closer to home, there are numerous opportunities available countrywide, with some urgent hotspots waiting for self-motivated, target-driven entrepreneurs to take up the business on offer.
Bester emphasises that Digit is the first vehicle tracking company of it’s size and installation base that offers investors 100% independent ownership. “No royalties, marketing fees or management fees…and no previous experience required, just a passion for building a successful business and for the Digit brand. We teach the rest.”
Becoming a market leader
Digicell founder and CEO Rordon Cowley entered a well-established vehicle tracking market in 2007 but felt that there was too little emphasis on vehicle telematics for fleet management. The Digit product was developed with the objective of addressing the need to give fleet owners their own platform to manage vehicles live, instead of relying on historical manual information, obtained from log-sheets. He teamed up with the right people in the industry, determined to become a leader in vehicle solutions to reduce loss or mitigate risk. Digicell has expanded capabilities to include the renowned DFuel system which is a comprehensive fuel measuring solution. The company also supplies a range of Mobile DVR systems to allow video recording and live streaming of vehicles, drivers and occupants.
From day one the business was started with a distribution and franchise model, and, with 80+ franchisee’s now forming this dynamic network, the plan is to push the business to new levels, a move which is being welcomed by entrepreneurs who are keen to become part of this success story. With its proven exceptional growth and unique business model, it is possible for a successful structure to be leveraged to the prospective investor’s advantage. Each franchisee procures products from Digicell (HQ) (who develop and manufacture the products and own their trademarks) and then re-sell them together with installation and support to their customers.
The bottom line
The cost of a turnkey franchise is R513 000, including Vat. This investment includes the right to use and operate under the Digit name and concept, access to Intellectual Property & Information, full owner and staff training and training content, initial legal costs, full Digit vehicle branding for two vehicles, a fully operational website and email domain, a laptop, a marketing kit including two sets of business cards and various items of apparel and collateral, a standard installation tool kit and start up stock.
Investors should make provision for working capital of approximately R60 000, (estimate) and simple formulas are provided which assist in calculating the viability of the business plan.
Each dealer needs to decide what quantity of sales they can realistically achieve, depending on the number of staff, the area, resources and skills on hand. A substantial return-on-investment (ROI) is possible, with the most important factor when calculating the viability of the business plan being the ability to maintain operating expenses while still making sufficient profit.
With their passion for quality and by partnering with high-end suppliers who are the best in their field, Digit delivers products that offer great features, excellent reliability and a long life expectancy.
While Digicell has opted to manufacture their own high-spec tracking and fleet management devices, some products and components are imported, either because of the cost implication or technological advances that cannot be matched locally. Manufacturing locally enables them to control and manage the design and development of their devices whilst contributing to the economy through their support of local component suppliers.
The support you need
Today, GPS and cellular communications form part of everyday life, so understanding the basis of the technology employed by Digit is not rocket science, but it is the advanced features they offer that place them at the forefront of this ever-developing technology. Heading up the training and dealer development department, Bester prides himself on the level of training and support offered to new dealers. While the company encourages a culture of learning, the extensive network of distributors and installers means that it is not necessary for distributors to complete all the training on offer. For distributors who want to specialise in some of the more advanced aspects of fleet management, specialised training courses are available. To further assist dealers in building their business the company employs lead generating systems that identify customers by area. The annual conference held in the first quarter of each year offers an opportunity for networking and it is here that friendships have developed that extend beyond business.
“Honesty and professional business ethics are of the utmost importance and are considered the most important qualities in the Digicell family,” says Founder Rordon Cowley; and members of the network can attest to these values being the foundation upon which the business has thrived. With the current lack of job prospects in South Africa, self-employment or entrepreneurship becomes a solid option, even for those who did not grow up thinking that starting a business was for them. Joining a tried-and-tested model makes building a sustainable enterprise a lot simpler. “The Digit solution continues to evolve, in keeping with changing trends and market developments. Your business career can grow with us and we look forward to meeting with you to discuss your future with the Digit team,” ends Bester.