Roy Cokayne

The Silverline Group, which claims to be the only franchised construction company in South Africa and one of only a few in the world, won the Franchise Association of SA (Fasa) franchisor of the year award earlier this month.

With 30 outlets and growing at a rate of 25 percent a year, the group specialises in light steel frame construction and high performance alternative building solutions.

Silverline chief executive Jonathan Pepler said it offered a low initial franchise investment opportunity with an exceptional return on investment and a unique offering, with its business model teaching “building contractors to become business people”.

“As a Silverline Group construction franchisee they do not need ‘traditional construction’ equipment, vehicles, staff and set-up costs,” he said.

Pepler said the group had set up a national infrastructure of approved and accredited subcontractors who did most of the construction work on an outsourced basis.

These subcontractors had the staff, the equipment and the vehicles, which made it very cost effective for franchisees to enter the construction business, he said.

Pepler said the group had also negotiated national supply of material for construction projects based on bulk buy discounts on behalf of franchisees, which meant they did not have to shop around for the best prices and building materials were readily available at discounted prices.

He said the group’s bulk buying power with suppliers meant it was more competitive than its opposition even with its royalty structure.

Franchisees also had a money back guarantee after 24 months if the group was unable to meet its guarantee of R3 million worth of projects within 24 months, he said.

Projects completed by the group last year include McDonald’s outlets in East London, Pretoria, Cape Town and Somerset West, as well as the General Motors dealership in Cradock and many residential projects across the country.

Ian Jacobsberg, the chairman of Fasa, said it was the first time a franchise company in a new business category had won the top award.

Silverline won the Sanlam/Business Partners emerging entrepreneur of the year award last year.