Murli Mulchandani and Rikesh Nichani

London-based business partners and brothers-in-law Murli Mulchandani and Rikesh Nichani, who own four central London stores, have been chosen as joint winners of Mail Boxes Etc.’s “Franchisee of the year” award in recognition of their business acumen and success as well as their significant contribution to the network as a whole.

Murli and Rikesh share the accolade with another franchisee who has stores in Watford and in Milton Keynes. The award winning franchisees were chosen from Mail Boxes Etc.’s network of over 135 High Street “one-stop-shops” across the UK and Ireland.

They were delighted to receive the award.Murli and Rikesh commented: “It really was unexpected, as we had won the award previously, in 2007.What made it even more special was that we received recognition from the network as well. It is very humbling to be nominated by our peers.”

Franchisees for 11 years, Murli and Rikesh spent a year seeking the right franchise and first met Mail Boxes Etc. at a London franchise exhibition where they had gone to see what was on offer and talk to franchisors face-to-face.

Before joining Mail Boxes Etc., Murli headed a company that imported and distributed children’s wear and Rikesh worked in the IT industry.They were looking for a business where they could work together and favoured franchising because it is a safer route to self- employment than starting a venture from scratch.

“There were many different opportunities but none really appealed until we met Mail Boxes Etc.,” Murli said.“We particularly liked the combination and variety of the different services and also we struck a real rapport with the people we met. We went to see some centres, in London, Oxford and Bristol and talked to other franchisees,” he continued.

“We were impressed with everything we were told and what we saw for ourselves.We had the support of our wives and families and plenty of advice and guidance to look forward to in the franchise, so we decided to go for it.We knew that Mail Boxes Etc.’s services meet a genuine need and ever since we opened our first centre we have discovered that the demand is constantly escalating, especially for courier services and mailbox rental. Our business has continued to grow, year on year,” Murli added.

“It is important to feel comfortable with the franchise you choose, so make sure you do your own research and thoroughly, and that you understand all aspects of the business, especially where your customers – and therefore your income - are likely to come from, which can vary enormously from one area to another,” stressed Rikesh.

They enjoy having their own business but also being part of a much larger organisation with all its opportunities for mutual support and meeting others in the network.Murli says: “Make sure you choose a franchise that compliments your skills and interests and which will keep you interested in the long term. Don’t choose purely on the basis of how much money you will make but what you will enjoy doing for a long time.”

Now with stores in Mayfair, Bloomsbury, the Barbican and Covent Garden and employing dedicated teams of people to serve all the different local needs in each area, Murli and Rikesh have a wealth of franchising knowledge and experience.They believe that choosing the right staff is key to the success of the business. “We are selling service and expertise, so our staff must inspire confidence and be knowledgeable about all the services we can provide,” Rikesh said.

Neither would ever want to be employed again.Rikesh said an emphatic “no” and “I couldn’t imagine it” and Murli said: “Never, if I can help it!!!”

Murli Mulchandani and Rikesh Nichani