There's no limit to your potential earnings

Independence, flexibility and earning a good income are high on the checklist of most people looking into franchising. Three years since launching her NIC business Charlotte Eccleston has achieved all three

Since launching my NIC franchise in February 2006 my lifestyle has definitely improved,' says Charlotte Eccleston who, despite the recession, is aiming to achieve a turnover of half a million pounds by the end of 2009. 'My silent partner Kerry Miller has now come onboard full time so together we are looking to double our current turnover of £250,000 by the end of this year.

'I've bought a buy-to-let flat that I am currently renting out and I go on five star holidays. In addition to the financial benefits my lifestyle has improved in that I don't work as hard as I used to and my hours are flexible.'

Charlotte first began looking into franchising when she was made redundant from her previous job. She recalls: 'I worked in sales for TNT and when I was let go I took a few months out to decide what I wanted to do. I began to look at commercial cleaning franchises, a sector that stood out for me because there's no limit to your potential earnings and the service is essential.

'During my research I saw an advert for NIC and I got in contact with head office. I met with senior members of NIC and was impressed with the back-up and support they provide to franchise owners, which is important because I had no previous experience of running my own business.'

NIC is a commercial cleaning business that offers a management franchise opportunity. As part of the franchise package franchise owners are provided with comprehensive training and ongoing support. 'In addition to the induction training I received at NIC head office I have also had ongoing training,' Charlotte reports.

'Furthermore the support NIC has provided has been excellent. I have a good relationship with head office and they assist me in producing contracts and putting quotes and proposals together. They also sort out my staff wages and collect payments, which allows me the time to concentrate on building up my business. However, I do feel that although NIC are in the background offering support, they will also leave you on your own to run your business.

'I really enjoy running my franchise, especially being my own boss and the independence that brings. I am a much more relaxed person now and I hope that I never have to go back to working for someone else. I want to keep developing my business to the point where I can sell half of it.'

Interview by Derin Ibrahim