Make a clean sweep with a franchise

The benefits of owning a cleaning franchise are that virtually every home and business in the UK has the need for a cleaning service – so please your clients once and the chances are they’ll use your services again and again.

What’s more, dirt doesn’t diminish in a recession. In fact, savvy business owners tend to discard less during difficult economic times – meaning their aging possessions will require maintenance and a spruce up.

When considering a franchise, perhaps domestic cleaning is not necessarily the first sector that most people would consider until they step back, research the market, realise the levels of profitability and fully understand what the business entails.

Cleaning and maintenance business opportunities often have low overheads and are often operated from home. The fact there is no need to buy a lot of stock means investing in this kind of franchise – and follow the franchisor’s business model – will often operate at a profit faster than with other opportunities and has relatively few cash flow problems.

The UK cleaning industry is worth billions and there are a large variety of different franchise opportunities in the sector, mainly domestic and commercial cleaning.

Growing market

A MORI poll, commissioned by Molly Maid last year, found that a staggering six per cent of households were amenable to employing some sort of cleaning help in the home.

Research organisation Key Note estimates that the annual UK contract cleaning market will reach £7.13 billion by 2015. That’s good news for anyone thinking of taking on a maintenance or cleaning franchise.

However, remember that you should not only look at the brands track record and how strong its ongoing market support is, but also look carefully at the market size and market potential.

Which is exactly what business graduate Pardip Thandi did before he decided to establish a Daily Poppins domestic cleaning franchise in North East Birmingham.

From small beginnings 15 years ago, Daily Poppins’ first franchise territory in Reading is currently turning over the equivalent of £1 million. Across the UK this figure exceeds £3 billion per year.

Daily Poppins Managing Director Nigel Bearman says the number of territories it covers has quadrupled in the last five years.

This growth, alongside Nigel’s claim that individual franchise owner performance averaged a 22 per cent growth rate year-on-year, proved so attractive to 23-year-old Pardip he decided to take the leap.

For Walsall-based Pardip, the prospect of running his own business was spurred by his father’s success with a taxi firm coupled with a general dislike of the 9 to 5 grind.

“Since graduating I’d been doing different jobs and eventually settled in as a trainer of staff and management at the Royal Bank of Scotland,” he explains. “While working at the bank, it was obvious I was restricted in what I could do, where my career would ultimately go and the inflexibility of 9 to 5 working hours.

“Gradually I realised I wasn’t really appreciated and felt more like a number. I was really becoming frustrated and while I enjoyed managing people within the bank I decided the only way forward was self-employment.”

Pardip researched various markets before deciding upon domestic cleaning due to its continued growth then spent three months researching specific cleaning companies.

“I knew there would be more opportunities for growth and I wanted a business that would allow me to expand and be more management based,” he says.

“With hard work, I know I will be successful and look to expand my territory as much as possible. As you can imagine, I am really excited about starting my franchise.”

Shining examples

Pardip will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow Daily Poppins franchise owner Agnes Gasecka.
Despite having two children since starting the franchise, Agnes continued to develop her business and she currently has 13 staff in five cars with a turnover exceeding £350,000 per year.

She says: “I can only see this getting bigger and bigger.”

Similar success stories have emerged over Ovenclean’s 20-year history – a business model underpinned by a general aversion to cleaning one of the kitchen’s most-used appliances. For an investment of just £16,995 + VAT, you can can generate an earning capacity of more than £1,000 a week.

The company also says that appropriate franchise departments of any UK bank will confirm Ovenclean as an approved business opportunity. With its recognised, tried and tested formula, it says prospective franchise owners will find banks delighted to support them.

Increasing numbers of companies are looking at franchising their business models, so there’s a wealth of opportunities for potential franchise owners looking to establish a business in this market. London-based ACT Clean, which concentrates on the upscale hotel and restaurant market, is due to launch its franchise opportunity in September 2012.

Become a millionaire

ACT Clean will doubtless be buoyed by the success of similar concerns such as Minster Cleaning Services – which claims to have a ‘Minster Millionaire’ in nearly one out of five of its franchises.

Minster Cleaning Services franchise owner, James Lofthouse is a shining example of the success that can be achieved by opting for a cleaning or maintenance franchise.

According to the company, nearly a fifth of its 40 branches have topped the £1 million turnover mark and average annual sales stand at more than £700,000 per branch.

James, who runs his Minster franchise in the Sheffield area, has a turnover of £1.5 million and says he expects to reach the £2 million mark within the next two or three years.

The company was established in 1982 and, with an annual turnover of £30 million, is the UK’s biggest commercial cleaning franchise.

One thing that really makes a cleaning or maintenance franchise an attractive option is the fact that once established there are no limits to how large a franchise owner may want to expand their business.

Last year, Molly Maid’s most successful franchise owner enjoyed a sales turnover well in excess of £660,000, had 14 cars and more than 30 members of staff.

So if that sounds like an appealing track record to follow and build on, what are you waiting for?

Written by Jane Denny