Countrywide Signs Franchise Review

Countrywide Signs offer franchise opportunities for those who wish to start a business putting up and managing estate agency signs.

The Company

Countrywide Signs is relatively recent company and was born from the remains of Agency Signs, a previous company who operated the same kind of business. Countrywide Signs was founded by three of Agency Signs top franchisees after taking control of what was left of Agency Signs. This means that Countrywide Signs is well positioned to provide a great franchise service, especially as the company is ran by former franchisees. This is reflected in the fact that Countrywide Signs were a finalist tor HSBC Franchisor of the Year in 2012.

A Little Background

Countrywide Signs are keen to bring in franchisees that are self-motivated, enthusiastic and dedicated. You should also have good people and organisational skills as well disciplined enough to follow a system. Because of the nature of Countrywide Signs, a driver’s license is also a must in order to operate your business. Countrywide Signs is also the only sign erector in the UK to be registered as an ISO 9001 firm which means that the company meet the criteria to be considered as a quality management system.

The ultimate goal of Countrywide Signs is to grow your business from a one van business to multiple cans operating simultaneously. Countrywide Signs also provide full training through one of their team members with sales, marketing and operational support in place for the first 18 months.


It is recommended that in order to start your Countrywide Signs business you will need to invest over £30,000 over the first year. Fortunately Countrywide Signs business model is approved by major banks so you can turn to them for as much as 70% of the cost. Further to this Countrywide Signs include the services of Chris Roberts of Franchise Finance.

Earning Potential

Countrywide Signs claim that after 12 months you will average £3,000 per van with large franchisees who operate with multiple vans pulling in turnovers of £400,000-£500,000. Using a target of erecting 17-20 signs per day will provide an achievable turnover of £5,000+ per van.


Countrywide Signs is a very plausible business set up for anybody who wants a reasonably low investment franchise. The fact that the company is operated by ex-franchisees is reassuring and the credentials of the company seem solid. The business has almost limitless potential depending on your region and based off the testimonials of franchisees, this is viable.

Comments (18)

Be very very careful before ‘investing’ in this franchise. The have a very high failure rate and are far from being the market leaders as they state.

Could you give me more information on your experience with Countrywide signs.

Tommy Piercy ( interested in a franchise with these)

From my very personal experience this Franchise company is not a viable business opportunity. They take your money, give minimal training or support. There is never anybody you can contact as they are always off sick or on holiday. The senior staff hide behind their admin staff and never return calls.


I am thinking about taking out a franchise can yoiu please tell me more around your less than postive thoughts as it mak ethe differnce for me.

Your M.S

Sorry for the late response. The problems my partner faced after investing in a franchise started from day one. The email setting were incorrectly supplied so he was unable to log in for a few days putting him behind from the start. The area he purchased was too large for one van to manage but not busy enough to sustain two vans. A third of his work came from a company called Cannell. As they work in partnership with CWS the price per board erection is reduced but no cut is charged by CWS. Saying that when his business folded they tried to charge him a service fee for work for Cannell. Initially the board management for Cannell & CWS were not integrated making it almost impossible to plan effective routes. Cannell treated him like an employee not a partner and were overly rude. It was a relief to get rid of the business even if we were left out of pocket.

I have investigated the company in some depth as l was considering taking up a franchise. They describe themselves as the market leaders, when they are nothing of the sort and the market is dominated by a company called Agency Express based in Norwich but with total UK coverage. Beware!

Does anyone now if the company is still trading?

I looked in depth at taking a franchise with this company. They told me they had 70 plus franchisees, running 300 vans. This was a total lie … they have only 43 franchisees, the vast majority only running one van and, when you speak with them, most complain about the lack of support they receive.

Do not under any circumstances go near this company. I had a franchise with them and was left with massive debts. They promise the earth but leave you to get on with it on your own. No support, no communication only when they want something. I am in the process of taking them to court to recover my losses.

I was one of their franchisees a few years ago and it is good that there is a review site now that I can leave my comments on. The territory I purchased was so large geographically that I spent all my money on fuel every month. They also promised that they had a large amount of national account business in the area for me but nothing much materialised. They did all the invoicing but I had to chase the payments which then into their account! However, the biggest problem was that I was the 4th franchisee for the area, the previous 3 having gone t*ts up, as did my business. They have now re-sold the area once again!

Most of the comments on here are misplaced and misdirected because they are either aimed at a company called ‘Countrywide’ which is not related at all to Countrywide Signs, or are people actually talking about Agency Express.

Agency Express are the company that claim to be the only national company and the market leader, when it’s actually an impossible statement to make for lots of reasons.

I’ve been a franchisee for over 5 years and can say that I’ve had nothing but great support and help when required, and have grown my business consistently in a difficult territory with lots of competition.

If you work hard, build great relationships with estate agents, whether they are customers or not, and admit your mistakes (when you make them), then you will be able to build a great business.

The reason people sometimes fail in this franchise (and some people always fail in very good franchise systems) is down to them and no other reason.

Happy to talk to anyone and answer any questions because there is a lot of false negative publicity put out there by the competition and ex-franchisees who have failed due to their own mismanagement of their business.

In franchising, if you think that the franchisor will do everything for you (including chasing all the money that is owed to you), then you are mistaken. Franchising provides a great way to get into, and own your own business, but it is still ‘Your Own Business’ and if you don’t do the right things to run that business, then you could well fail.

It is too easy to blame the franchisor for any failure when a good, long and hard look in the mirror would provide a better answer….

Hi, how long did you, or have you had your franchise with country wide signs? I am interested in possibly applying for one but I haven’t really heard much positive feedback.

I to made to big mistake of purchasing a Countrywide Signs franchise – please be aware that Countrywide Signs have nothing to do with the large Countrywide Estate Agency chain, nor am I mistaking COUNTRYWIDE SIGNS with Agency Express, or any other company. COUNTRYWIDE SIGNS is an appalling company, who moto is ‘take take take’ whilst providing next to no support and lying though their teeth. Yes, they do have a handful of successful franchisees that they show on their website and on videos but the vast majority struggle, with poor margins caused by contracts arranged a rock bottom prices, as this is the only way they can get business. They are more concerned about trying to recruit new franchisees, rather than supporting their existing network and their IT systems are rubbish. I got out as soon as I could. Avoid at all costs.

Further to my previous posting, I understand from my fellow former franchisees, that the management of Countrywide Signs are now in total disarray, with the directors at war with each other and only speaking to each other via solicitors. At least one director has left, along with other members of staff and contracts are being lost due to poor service & lack of support. It can only be a matter of time before it all goes t*ts up.

As a further follow up …. just heard that another Countrywide Signs franchisee has gone t*ts up, this time in Colchester, which is a little surprising as he was related to one of the Directors!!!

Latest news – a record month for Countrywide Signs with four franchisees stopping trading.

Further news – latest Director jumps ship! Nigel Johnson the company accountant of Countrywide Signs has resigned …. does he know something we don’t know? Is the company about to go under? Only one director left!

I understand that they don’t even have their rented ‘Head Office’ any more, as they can’t afford the rent. They are now based in a rented warehouse – hardly a stunning success story for a franchisor.

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From: Simon Roberts