With a successful track record of more than 25 years of operation in Southern Africa, and over 30 years globally, the Cash Converters franchise continues to provide entrepreneurially minded people with the infrastructure and support to become financially independent and thriving business owners.
The Cash Converters success story starts with Brian Cumins, who in 1984 in Perth, Western Australia, saw an opportunity to package pawn-broking and second-hand retailing services into a mainstream, professional operation that has since evolved into a globally successful franchise operation. As Richard Mukheibir, CEO of Cash Converters Southern Africa explains, “Our group founder, Brian Cumins, describes it as taking the sector out of the steam-driven era and propelling it into the supersonic age.”
Fast forward to 1994 when Mukheibir and his business partner Peter Forshaw (current Chief Financial Officer) established the Southern African wing of the brand. It was a time of tremendous change in the country; Nelson Mandela, having been released from prison in 1990, won the landmark democratic election of April 1994 and swore in a new post-apartheid era. “It was a time of post-isolation optimism that matched my entrepreneurial desire to build my own venture,” Mukheibir elaborates.
Today, the company has over 90 franchisee-operated stores across Southern Africa, with ambitions to grow to 130 stores in the next 18 months. Collectively, Cash Converters’ franchises employ nearly 1,500 employees, and by the end of 2019, will have processed around three million transactions across its retail, pawn-broking and micro-finance business units.
Progressive business model
Cash Converters’ unique three-in-one business model (buying and selling pre-loved goods, secured and unsecured money-lending) creates three times the opportunity to generate sustainable profit. In fact, the three different businesses under one roof creates a recession-resistant opportunity.
The retail floors offer customers the opportunity to purchase quality pre-loved goods at great prices. Stock changes daily, so a trip to a store means a thrilling treasure hunt for buyers. Furthermore, all stores comply with the Consumer Protection Act, and most of the merchandise comes with a six-month guarantee.
For sellers who are looking for a risk-proof, hassle-free way to sell items they no longer need or use, Cash Converters stores will purchase almost anything. They are always on the lookout for phones, laptops, consoles, cameras, coffee machine, microwaves and much more. Cash Converters businesses adhere to a strict zero-tolerance policy on stolen goods, and are governed by the Second-hand Goods Act. All stores are monitored by off-site CCTV footage, and each transaction is recorded on a point of sale system – all to give their customers piece of mind when transacting with them.
With the advent of the National Credit Act in 2007, Cash Converters expanded its money-lending remit (via pawn-broking) to include micro-finance services. Customers are able to access cash using their salary slips. Ethical and responsible business is a cornerstone of Cash Converters, so all the stores are registered credit providers with the National Credit Regulator.
Leading with technology
In line with doing business ethically and professionally, Cash Converters is serious about staying current and relevant. The franchisor has focused their energy and expertise on using technology to streamline the business for the future, ensuring connectivity between head office and the network of stores.
All transactional data is available via Cash Converters’ world-class point of sale system, a bespoke platform that has enabled them to have a single view of each of their customers, and understand what customers do in each of the stores. For Mukheibir, data is a new form of currency. “We have the ability to manage and monitor what customers are doing in our stores, which clearly gives us a distinct advantage,” he says.
The benefits of this system extend to a myriad of other benefits. For example, stores are able to manage debit card-based loan applications, further increasing customer service levels. Inventory is visible across their entire network, which allows them to monitor sales and the demand for various categories, and is the basis for the buildout of their data warehouse.
Cash Converters is also leveraging this system to build out their webshop, so that customers can easily access any of the quality products online.
Furthermore, the bespoke PoS enables Cash Converters to fund a R1-million credit line to each of their stores. This is crucial as it allows franchisees to build their loan books as quickly as possible – with no risk of insufficient cash to lend.
Comprehensive, ongoing training is available via the e-learning system, ensuring all stores have access to the same quality and quantity of Cash Converters-related education.
Cash Converters is also in the process of establishing a centralised jewellery processing centre to refurbish the pieces bought into stores. Similarly, franchisees are able to plug in devices at their stores and connect to a team at head office who will validate software and data.
“Our successful operation for over 25 years bears testament to the importance of being uncompromising in our standards and values.”
Franchising with Cash Converters
Cash Converters’ shared values – professionalism, passion, integrity, collaboration and respect – are the basis for an ethos shared by every member of the Cash Converters team and family, both at head office and across their store network. This contributes to a consistent customer experience across the board. Individuals must share this common value set in order to be considered as a potential franchisee partner.
“At every step of the process we look to these five characteristics and for ‘people person’ individuals. Our successful operation in Southern Africa for over 25 years bears testament to the importance of being uncompromising in our standards and values,” expands Mukheibir.
Potential franchisees are invited to participate in a face-to-face interview as the first step in the vetting and onboarding process. Successful applicants are then invited on store tours and shadowing sessions with existing franchisees before a franchise is awarded. “This is really important as it gives the prospective owner a feel for what the day-to-day will look like,” Mukheibir continues. “We are an owner-operated business, and don’t sell our franchises to managers. The owner opens and closes the store, and we have found this to be a very successful model and a differentiator for us.”
Post successfully completing these steps in the process, new franchisees must attend an intensive two-month training program prior to opening their doors. The support doesn’t end there though, as the franchisor’s Training, Marketing, IT, Accounting, and Operations teams offer on-going support and assistance to franchisees.
The start-up costs for a Cash Converters store is approximately R3 million, depending on the size of the respective site. Franchisees are required to have half of the total amount in cash, upfront. The balance can be financed through an institution of the franchisees’ choice, while the dedicated franchise team will assist with the compilation and submission of the business plan. Cash Converters also have dedicated site selection and property management specialists to help new franchisees locate a site and negotiate the lease.
How to get started?
Purchasing a franchise and being your own boss affords you the kind of freedom and flexibility you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Cash Converters provides an ideal opportunity to build sustainable wealth for you and your family.
Ambitious, hard-working, passionate and driven individuals who would like to join our Cash Converters network, are invited to complete a Franchisee Application form here.
Alternatively, email Ilsé Murray, Franchise Sales Team Leader: firstname.lastname@example.org.