Hargreaves Logistics is to adopt a franchise programme to boost subcontractor retention and create a more flexible fleet.

The operator is targeting its base of 200 dedicated subcontractors, with plans to take on an additional 100 franchise partners over the next three to five years.

The first five subcontractors have signed up to the franchise scheme as partners. They are contracted for five years with an option to extend or negotiate a new contract at the end of the five years.

The five new partners are running six Hargreaves liveried trucks with an option to run up to five trucks under the scheme. Franchise partners have injected new marques into the Hargreaves fleet, with all five choosing to run either Daf or Renault rather than Scania and Mercedes-Benz, which make up Hargreaves’ 150-strong fleet.

Hargreaves Logistics MD Andrew Spence-Wolrich said: “We offer franchisees a five-year deal with a guaranteed minimum earning of £300 a day. We pay for their unit to be put in Hargreaves livery and provide partners with a fuel card and access to insurance and funding through our independent partners.”

Subcontractors must meet a set of safety standards and specifications to qualify. They must join either the RHA or the FTA and agree an annual compliance audit.

Spence-Wolrich said: “We are careful about who we take on. Our objective is that customers should not notice any difference in service, quality or compliance.”

He said the franchise programme is aimed, in part, at increasing quality subcontractor retention levels. “In today’s market, drivers and subcontractors are a valuable resource. Offering a long-term relationship is a way of attracting and retaining the best subcontractors.”

Another key driver behind the programme is Hargreaves Logistics’ desire to use its own fleet more flexibly.

Spence-Wolrich explained: “It lets us use our own fleet as the cavalry. We can be very responsive to new business implementations and peaks in demand, allowing us to deliver a high level of service to our customers.”