Joining Chemex is the best decision I ever made

After 20 years as a Chemex franchise owner, Charles Williams continues to enjoy varied work, a higher wage and a better work/life balance

With his business generating an annual turnover of £400,000 and an extensive client base built on repeat business, seasoned Chemex franchisee Charles Williams' Cheshire-based business continues to beat the recession. A former farmer, Charles joined the Chemex network in 1989 when profit margins in the agricultural industry nosedived and he was unable to maintain a comfortable lifestyle for his family. Eager to re-train and to continue working for himself, Charles decided to explore franchising.

'Franchising appealed because I knew it had a good success rate compared to standalone business owners,' recalls Charles. 'I also liked the fact that as a franchise owner I would have access to a tried and tested business model and an ongoing training and support package, which would help to make the transition from the farming industry to a new one smoother. Business-to-business cleaning and hygiene supplies franchise Chemex caught my eye because its business model, which involves selling essential cleaning products to companies from different industry sectors, was relatively recession proof.'

Every Chemex franchisee is put on a comprehensive initial training course where they are taught about the products, how to operate the franchise and different sales techniques. While the support is ongoing, franchisees can contact head office for advice or speak to their Franchise Support Manager.

Charles continues: 'The support has been brilliant. Over the years I have needed it less, although it is nice to know that if you have a query there is someone on the other end of the phone to help you out. I try to keep in touch with my Franchise Support Manager on a regular basis to let him know how the business is doing.

'Since becoming a franchise owner my work/life balance has dramatically improved. As a farmer, I had too many responsibilities to even consider going away on holiday. Now my family and I try to go away at least twice a year for a break.

'Joining Chemex is the best decision I ever made. My salary is better, the work is varied and I really enjoy being out on the road, meeting new people and building relationships. Over the years my social life has improved dramatically - with some of my loyal customers becoming good friends of mine. I won't lie, running your own business is not easy, especially since the credit crunch took hold of the UK. However, it can be very rewarding.'

At the moment Charles has two vans on the road in his territory and one employee who delivers the products. In the near future, Charles hopes to purchase another van. Long term, his aim is to continue building up the business until he retires.

Interview by Jess Sturman