Contract Manager

Providing insights into the forecourt world

EU Migrant Workers Are Important To The UK

In or out of Europe, as long as it remains buoyant Britain will always need a huge amount of Migrant Workers. The economics of labour supply is simply based on demand and supply. The working population of the indigenous British is in decline because as the “Baby Boomers” generation of the post World War era retire they are not being replaced in adequate numbers by a declining birthrate of the next generation. In the post war years birth rates in the UK boomed but then declined rapidly by almost 25 percent which in terms of demographics is massive. Europe will always be the natural place to turn to to meet this labour shortage due to the fact it is our closest neighbor, both logistically and characteristically. After all Flights are cheap and only take 3 to 4 hours. East Europeans have an excellent reputation with UK Employers. They are widely regarded as conscientious and reliable. As well as needed, they will always be welcome. Whilst control of UK borders is a key desire of the British people it is not the closure of UK borders. Genuine workers from all parts of Europe should not have concerns about prospects of working  in the UK. Register your membership to receive new...
Is It a Franchise

Is It a Franchise

In a word NO! There are few similarities between the structure of fuel forecourt management by Contract Manager/Commission Operator and that of a genuine Franchise. MRH Retail/Malthurst do not refer to their operating structure as a Franchise. However MFG and Rontec and a few others do. They are wrong to do so. It is misleading. Franchises are far more secure. The most fundamental feature is they have a defined period of contract; normally a minimum five year contract rising to longer contracts which can be up to 25 years and more. In most cases they have renewal options and conditions which can add to the security. In almost all cases a franchise is an asset which you buy and you have rights to sell it at a market rate although there maybe conditions attached. Your deal with the fuel forecourt company will have a notice period similar to an employment contract of something like 3 months. If the fuel company decides to change its management policy to direct managed sites, officially employing their site managers then they simply give you all 3 months notice and you’re gone. A franchisor cannot do this. They would have to buy you out. A few years ago TOTAL and ESSO did this leaving a lot of business persons high and dry. We say “officially employing their site managers”. Well in our opinion and that of many of MFG’s managers, is that the arrangement between Murco as it was (now MFG) and its contract managers is “direct management by any other name” (a quote from Andy Edwards an Area manager at the time). As...
MFG Milk “Scam”

MFG Milk “Scam”

MFG operate what can only be called a “milk scam”. As we have said all the Companies negotiate the prices for almost all the products supplied to their sites. Milk supplies are no exception. MFG have negotiated milk prices with West Country Milk Consortium. The Contract Managers are invoiced 30 – 40% more than the prices MFG have negotiated. At one time I calculated Contract Managers were paying 50% more than the general market price for 2litres milk. It doesn’t take a genius to guess where the difference goes. This policy is apparently legal but is it ethical or morally correct? It surely isn’t beneficial for what they call your business. How can this help your footfall? How can this be good for your business? Answer it can’t be! One of the most basic, fundamental products if not THE MOST basic fundamental product and you have to charge your customers way above the market price. We could understand a 10% differential but 34-40%. NO WAY! Within MURCO as it was, this was known as Tony Walker’s baby. We can think of a better phrase – more like “con” What are you paying today? If you don’t believe me look at this invoice from West Country Milk for a small purchaser in January 2015. How much more are you current Contract Managers paying? What are you paying today? Example:- You will notice that these prices are for very small quantities and that because of this even better prices are available from West Country Milk. Ask Gary Pearce, who has worked for all the suppliers in this chain: Costcutter, Murco/MFG and...
Running your own business

Running your own business

Below is a “Linkedin” entry of a fuel forecourt Area manager (Personal) Summary • Responsible for 21 forecourts within UK, predominantly based within the Midlands. • Providing training, guidance and problem resolution to self-employed site franchisees on a round the clock basis, 7 days a week. • Responsible for all aspects of site procedures including cash management, health and safety requirements, valeting sales, shop management and purchase requisitions. • Enforcement of commercial awareness and best practice to Franchisees, through regular site reviews and official audit processes You will note the use of the word “Enforcement” which expresses the company’s management style and the control its management maintain over “YOUR” business. What it doesn’t say is the Area Sales Managers are responsible for the company’s profits from the site. They are, as I have stated, there to ensure “the company” makes money out of YOU. They monitor your every step except the relationship between you and your employees. Firstly this “great business opportunity” is NOT a franchise – A COURT JUDGE has said so. It bears few if any characteristics of a genuine franchise. In truth the forecourt site you run or will run is not your business. You are little more than a labour master supplying and managing the staff to run the company’s site. You are expected to work as many hours as you physically can, manning the till, serving customers. You will need to employ people to do the work you can’t cover. The deal you are offered will be so tight and to the fuel companies financial benefit that to make a wage of any description you will struggle....
Fine System

Fine System

Some operators are increasingly promoting a harsh fine system. Fines are imposed for a wide range of “offences”, non compliance, failures etc. Call them whatever you like. In your interview fines are most likely mentioned, but in my experience made light of, even laughed and joked about. They are written into your contract in a way that they are referred to in your interview, very much played down. Fines or debits as they are often referred to are no joke. However the contract expression allows the Company to fine you for almost anything they want, at any time they want. There is little or no recourse to object or appeal against the fine and the direct debit commitment to the company that you agree to when you sign the contract. Failure to return or honour a direct debit is against your contract and to do so is a breach. This method of punishment is totally unfair and against all our understanding of natural justice in the developed world. The fining/debiting system is clear evidence of the company doing what they want when they want and making money out of you. They may tell you your non compliance with their desires costs them the value of the fine/debit. What nonsense! Fines or debits for as much as £150/200 have been charged for opening 1 minute late. Believe you me they have sophisticated methods of monitoring this; ranging from ringing from the shop land line phone, to the alarm company monitoring the times of switching off the burglar alarm at your site. Here is a list of examples of fines: Opening...