"Now we work the hours that suit us!"

By joining NIC, Brian Pestana is now able to spend more quality time with his family and has the satisfaction of building a profitable business he can call his own

In his first year with NIC, Brian Pestana has successfully doubled the size of his West Midlands-based franchise through the acquisition of a neighbouring franchise owner's business, increasing his annual turnover to £200,000 in the process. "I run the business with my wife Carola," explains Brian. "We are really pleased we decided to work for ourselves, because for the first time in our lives we have complete control of our work/life balance.

"Before I joined NIC I had been a Managing Director in my previous two jobs, but grew tired of working long hours for corporate gain. Working long hours meant that I was rarely able to spend any quality time with my family, so we discussed starting up our own business."

The couple decided franchising would be their best route, because it would provide the established company image and support that would otherwise not be available in a start up situation, thereby reducing the risk of a new business venture. Commercial cleaning franchise NIC caught their attention because it is a reputable and long-standing management investment opportunity enabling them to concentrate on managing the business rather than the actual cleaning. This meant Brian would be able to put his existing management skills to good use and Carola her degree in business.

"We spoke to existing franchise owners and their comments were very positive," continues Brian. "This encouraged us to invest in the business. Our aim was to turnover £125,000 under the NIC guaranteed sales lead scheme and our initial target area was the west of Birmingham. However, a few months ago a neighbouring franchise, which covers central and south Birmingham, came on the market. As business had been going well and NIC had already found us £125,000 worth of business, we decided to seize the opportunity to expand our business increasing our client base and turnover in the process."

In terms of training and support, all NIC franchise owners receive a comprehensive training programme before they launch. They are taught everything they need to know in order to run the business from the different cleaning processes and chemical usage to accounts, selling and managing the business. Support wise, franchise owners can phone head office at any point for advice and guidance.

"Joining NIC has had a positive effect on our lives," enthuses Brian. "Although we still work very hard, we are more flexible in the hours we work during the course of the week. Working from home also keeps cost to a minimum, a critical issue for any start up business. And, more importantly, we are able to take time out on a regular basis to spend more quality time as a family."

Interview: Jess Sturman