A cleaning franchise with a competitive edge

Within six years of taking over the Safeclean Stamford territory franchise owner Mike White has more than trebled the size of the business and is aiming to expand it further

A background in management for an international company made Mike White confident that he would be successful in running his own business. "I was made redundant from my job when I was 57 and at that age I found it hard to find another position that was suitable for my experience and skills," explains Mike.

"I knew the man who owned the Stamford Safeclean territory wanted to sell it and, with my business background, I felt that there was a lot of things I could do with the business. Also in my previous job I was mainly sitting behind a desk so I liked that it was a hands-on job that would involve being out and about.

"The cleaning industry was totally new to me. However, I was used to working in a competitive market and knew that to stand out I would have to provide a quality service, which I felt I would be able to do with a Safeclean franchise. Additionally, Safeclean had relatively low start-up costs, provides good support and uses quality products."

Due to his previous business experience, Mike felt that the practical cleaning aspect of the training would be of most use to him. "There was a lot of training on offer, however I chose not to participate in the business management training," he remembers. "I had training on the cleaning techniques, which was of a lot of benefit to me, and on selling.

"The support I have received has been extensive. I have not only had initial and further training once my franchise launched, but I can also contact head office at anytime for advice and they have created adverts to help with promoting my business. As well as this, head office has developed their own range of organic products that provide all their franchise owners with a competitive edge."

Mike reveals that in the six years since taking over the Safeclean Stamford territory he has more than trebled the size of the business and gained a turnover of £90,000 last year and is expecting to increase it again this year. Additionally, Mike expanded his business in 2008 by purchasing the Peterborough territory.

In addition to the satisfaction Mike gets from running a successful business, he also likes the freedom it provides. "I enjoy being my own boss because I know that the rewards from the effort I put into my business come to me," he says. "I also like the fact that I now have flexible working hours and I enjoy going out and meeting customers and providing them will a good quality service."

Although Mike launched his franchise on his own, he has now turned it into a family business with his wife, Helen, doing the books and his son, Stephen, joining him in running the business and who will take it over when Mike retires.

"Eventually I will retire however until then, I want to keep increasing the size of the business," Mike confirms. "We have just built a new rug cleaning workshop and if we continue to concentrate on sticking to what we are good at the business will flourish."

Reported by Derin Ibrahim