Q&A with Safeclean

Safeclean's new Franchise Operations Manager Steve Calvert talks to FDS Southern consultants Gordon Patterson and Gary Rigby about his experience in franchising and his plans for the future.

Question: Congratulations on your appointment as Franchise Operations Manager for Safeclean. When did you take it up and why did you join Safeclean?
Answer: I joined the Safeclean team on June 1 this year. I have worked in the franchise industry for over 17 years and gained a wide understanding of the industry, especially in the van-based sector.

The opportunity to join a franchisor with a 40-year heritage in franchising and one of the founder members of the British Franchise Association proved to be one I didn't want to pass me by.

Question: We understand Steve that you have plenty of experience in the franchise sector?
Answer: As you can imagine, with 17 years service in the industry I have gained an in depth understanding of the successes and frustrations of franchise owners. The industry has changed significantly in that time both in terms of the individuals looking at buying into a franchise and the level of support and training given. I see my role having two clearly defined functions. Firstly, to develop the network in terms of trading franchise owners and secondly in the ongoing support, training and mentoring of the existing franchise owners.

Question: Have you had the opportunity yet to consider any changes within the Safeclean franchise?
Answer: I have spent the first few weeks getting to know the company, the tremendous range of services offered by the franchise owners and talking to franchise owners themselves.

The area where I have focused - and made changes - is in the launch programme provided to new franchise owners. This was already a comprehensive package, but I felt that there was more that could be offered to ensure a franchise owner had a positive start to their business. I think everyone will agree that the past two years have proved to be challenging.

One thing that has impressed me is the structure of the franchise offering. The level of support given to new start franchise owners has to be among the strongest available in our industry. Having said that, there is always more you can do in going the extra mile. In addition to the franchise owners' six-month, fee-free period, we are also including a six-month free membership to the direct mailing scheme and their own website specific to their large exclusive territory.

This will enable the franchise owner to build a Google Adwords campaign and as we all know, this is now recognised as a significant marketing and business development tool.

Question: What do you see as the distinctiveness of the Safeclean franchise offering?
Answer: This can be broken down into different sections. The fact we have a proven system that has been operational for 40 years means we must have something right. There are not many franchisors with that heritage and experience. It is safe to say that the services provided and the way we provide them has changed significantly over the 40 years. Today, we are the only company in this industry that has introduced a unique organic system that has proved to consistently out-perform the traditional methods.

We have structured our investment to provide an enhanced launch package aimed at giving a new franchise owner the best possible start. However, the fact that a franchise owner can earn from day one is vitally important. This is achieved due to the franchise owner having access to a 7,000 plus database of Guardsman policyholders and the nationally generated leads and central contract work.

Question: What kind of support structure is Safeclean committed to delivering to its franchise owners?
Answer: There are not many guarantees that a franchisor can give to its franchise owners. However, we will guarantee to match the commitment to the franchise owner that they give to their business. I believe that is fair. There is nothing more frustrating than spending time worrying about a franchise owner's business while they are playing golf!

Question: What are your objectives for the year ahead?
Answer: To make a difference. I am looking to focus on two main objectives. To increase the number of franchise owners trading in the UK by appointing motivated, ambitious, tenacious and focused individuals who want to be in control of their own destiny and who want to receive a true reward for their effort. Once they have completed their in-depth and comprehensive training, I will work with them to identify ways to increase their turnover and profit.

After all, for the franchisor to achieve its goals in terms of meeting its financial objectives it needs the franchise owners to continue to build a strong and healthy business.

Surely that's what a true franchise is all about - franchise owner and franchisor working and supporting one another.