Franchisee Diary: Dave Canderton, Leicester

Next, Laura Ashley, Habitat, House of Fraser and Harrods are examples of the blue chip companies that use my furniture restoration services, as well as insurance companies, loss adjustors and restoration companies.

Furniture restoration is a very disorganised and disjointed industry with lots of one man bands - being part of the ServiceMaster group provides Furniture Medic franchisees with the ability to work for larger clients, who know they'll get the same level of professional restoration anywhere in the country. It's valuable because this work is provided by ServiceMaster head office and accounts for about a third of my business. For new franchisees this is often up to 90 per cent of their business in their first year, this percentage decreases as they generate more local work from recommendations. Furniture Medic gives you work from day one.

I was previously working as a commercial manager for a print company, but I got sick of earning money for somebody else and started looking for something I could do for myself in 1999. I was aware of ServiceMaster which operated its cleaning business in Leicester, and the group was launching the Furniture Medic concept which it had brought over from the USA.

I launched my franchise in Leicester towards the end of that year, and marketed the business quite heavily because it was a new brand. I started off working off from my front room, and soon built up interest from lot of stores, some of whom we're still working with which is a great accolade because we've obviously given them good service over the years.

My business now operated out of a unit in Leicester town centre, with a manned office and workshop. I've got three staff working with me, and I still have a hands-on role doing everything - I need to be able to make decisions on what goes out at what standard. It's a team effort here and in the end we've all got customers' needs at heart.