Green franchising Eco-friendly opportunities

21st century businesses need not only to be financially sustainable, but also ecologically sustainable too. The Franchise Magazine invites three franchisors to establish their green credentials

Paul Fennell, Franchise Operations Manger of Safeclean

Over its 35 year history Safeclean has always been synonymous with safe, high quality cleaning of carpets and soft furnishings. Originally, in the 1960s we were hand cleaning with sea sponges and herbal foam. About 10 years ago Safeclean changed to a mechanical cleaning system. Thanks to modern bio-chemical technology were are now able to combine true organic cleaning with the latest in mechanical cleaning systems to offer cleaning that, when tested, out performed all other systems trialled. This new package significantly reinforces the Safeclean brand and firmly reinforces its position at the forefront of the industry.

Although the system is only three months old the benefits of going organic are already emerging. The network is already reporting major benefits. These include improved customer retention and referrals, increased order values and quote conversion rates. One of our franchisees has won a contract for a chain of five Nursing Homes based purely on the new system.

In addition to the environmental benefits domestic customers are particularly impressed with the added health benefits. These include the destruction of dust mites without the use of pesticide-based products. Guardsman, the world's largest furniture warranty company and Safeclean's largest national account, has also reported significantly higher customer stain resolution rates since the new system was adopted.

The benefits go beyond just helping the network. Since the launch we have increased recruitment interest in the network. High quality prospects that are looking to run a proven and ethical business are attracted by our 35 year track record and the new organic concept. To date going organic has only proven to be beneficial.

In order to avoid 'organic fatigue' it is important that any system or product that carries green credentials brings real and measurable benefits. Safeclean only adopted the new system once it was thoroughly tested and proven. Adopting a new system is slightly more complicated than just finding a new source of unique organic products.

Stage two is to identify new customer benefits, re-write franchisee point of sale and update all other marketing and recruitment material. Stage three is to address any network training requirements and implement courses that will allow the network to adopt the system as soon as possible. We are already planning further additions to the business format with a new organic allergen control system planned for 2008.