From Sandwiches To Solid Foundations

From Sandwiches To Solid Foundations


Building a property portfolio: Find out why former Subway franchisee turned to property

After taking a year out from his career in IT to go travelling with his wife, Debbie, Mark Greening couldn’t help but notice how many Subway outlets there were all over the world. Part of the reason they were taking time out, was because they were thinking of starting their own business, and maybe a Subway franchise was the answer.

On returning home to Cambridgeshire, the couple went to a franchise show and spent the next 13 years as Subway franchisees, running five of the fast-food outlets. However, there came a point where Mark didn’t want to manage huge numbers of staff and spend seven days a week working, especially when he wouldn’t be left with much at the end of it.

“Subway became a great source of income for us and without the strength of the brand behind me, I could have failed, so I understood the benefits of franchising,” said Mark. “But it was a very time-intensive business. My bank manager made me realise that if I turned my business upside down and gave it a shake, I’d have nothing left – no assets to speak of and the income would stop.”

This led to the couple putting the Subway franchises on the market and looking for an alternative business where they could own assets and not have to manage employees. A regular at franchise shows, Mark had already heard about Platinum Property Partners (PPP) and had read a book on property investment written by founder, Steve Bolton, who spoke about his journey when he was building a property portfolio.

Despite having no property investment experience, other than renting out their home while they went travelling, and only just enough money to get started providing they sold their house, they felt PPP ticked all the boxes.

Collaboration and community

Following the completion of their first HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) in 2016, Mark formed a joint venture partnership with a fellow Franchise Partner and has since completed an additional two properties on this basis – which are both achieving a 15-20% return on investment.

With Mark taking on full responsibility for tenanting and management, and then sharing profits on a 50/50 arrangement, they are half way to achieving their net income goal of £5,000-6,000 per month purely from property. They hope to achieve this in the next two years with another two or three joint venture HMOs.

Mark has also been considering managing portfolios for other Franchise Partners who are more time-poor, which will provide another source of income. He adds: "This means I am well and truly working in the ‘gig economy.’ I won't have all my eggs in one basket.”

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