Andy Kilby, Poppies, Reigate

While most Poppies franchisees have been established for over 10 years, a relative newcomer is Andy Kilby who owns the Poppies franchise in Reigate. Before joining Poppies, Andy was a manager of a large branch of Sainsbury's. He was looking for the opportunity to use his skills and experience working for himself.

Not afraid of hard work and with good experience in people management, once he joined Poppies Andy was soon on the path to success. After receiving full training on all aspects of the business as well as help with business and promotional planning Andy opened his business in September 2003. He now employs 30 staff and has a healthy turnover of £221,000. 'I am very pleased with what I have achieved so far, but I know that I still have a long way to go,' he offers. 'I trained in one of Poppies' largest businesses and it is my ambition to continue to grow to at least the size of that business.

'A key step for me now is to recruit the right management staff so that I can concentrate on taking the business forward. Poppies is a great business in that you set the level of your own ambition and receive the right help and support to achieve those goals.'

For over a quarter of a century Poppies has been providing high quality domestic services through its franchised network. Poppies franchisees, who include equal numbers of men and women, come from all backgrounds including teaching, banking, IT, management services as well as people who have previously owned their own businesses. The oldest franchise is 23 this year and the business has always been in the same ownership.

What all franchisees have in common is a desire to work in a 'people business' and the ambition to own and operate a very successful service business. Poppies reports its most successful franchisees have turnovers well in excess of £350,000.