Kick start your business dreams with Chemex

By giving up a very well paid management position to become his own boss, John Bennett has achieved his dream of working for himself while enjoying the close support of a dedicated Chemex Franchise Support Manager

After moving from managing a multi-million pound business in agriculture to operating his very own Chemex franchise, there's no doubt which career John Bennett is happier in. "I have a strong work ethic and a background of working very long hours...and now I'm working for my own benefit instead of someone else's," he confirms. "It's still early days and it's not like there's less hours, but I am enjoying the flexibility of working when I want."

John earned a degree in agriculture before spending 16 years in the sector. "I was in my final job for 10 years and was stuck in a rut," he reflects. "I'd toyed with the idea of doing something on my own for a while, but was snookered in farming due to the high cost of setting up. I wasn't brave enough to chuck it all in and go it alone in another sector, so franchising presented a way into business that is a lot less lonely - if you hit a challenge you're able to pick up the phone to someone who's seen it all before."

A two year involvement with a gardening franchise followed, with John exiting the franchise after being disappointed by the support provided. "Although I had a bad experience, I liked the franchise format," he explains. "By then I'd met Chemex Founder Melvin Lusty, who actually lives in the same village as me, and decided to take up an opportunity with a brand I already knew I could trust. I signed up in April to take on part of an existing territory in Nottinghamshire which has provided me with immediate business."

Chemex's network of over 80 franchise owners across the UK operate as mobile sales and delivery operations with a product range of over 400 cleaning and hygiene products. All businesses need to purchase its products, and Chemex customers benefit from convenient and quick delivery as well as specialist consultancy and advice to assist in selecting the right products for the right jobs.

John went through Chemex's initial franchise owner training programme, which he describes as "well structured and put together", before visiting his clients with the previous franchise owner to effect a hand over and start trading in June. "Chemex provides 'kick start' support for the first 12 weeks with one of the network's four Franchise Support Managers on hand to make weekly visits and assist in winning new business," John says. "We've built a close professional relationship and the support has been really, really good. Some days I ring him three or four times!"

With 100 per cent retention of the customers passed over from the previous owner, John has set about adding to the business with new customers already signing up. "Working from home the overheads are very low to start off with and I'm currently turning over £5,000 per month," he reports. "By the end of my first year I want to be at £8,500 per month. I didn't pack in a very well paid management job to drive round selling cleaning products so my aim is to move into premises, recruit drivers and eventually take on a full-time management role in the business."

Interview by Stuart Anderson