Job satisfaction and a healthier lifestyle

Operating a Safeclean franchise is having a positive effect on franchisee Russ Vernon's health. Since the launch of his franchise in February earlier this year he is a stone lighter, fitter, happier and healthier after delivering the organic cleaning service across his territory

Furniture and upholstery cleaning service provider Safeclean has more than 37 years of experience and over 70 franchisees in operation nationwide. In February the company welcomed to its network Russ Vernon, who has taken on the Buckinghamshire territory covering Milton Keynes through to Bicester and Banbury.

'I had always wanted to work for myself,' explains Russ. 'However, the opportunity did not present itself until this year as my children are now in employment and college. I resigned from my consultancy role in a packaging firm because I was fed up with working hard for someone else and could not spend as much time as I wanted with my family. I wanted to put my energy into cultivating an enterprise of my own.'

With no experience of running their own business Russ and his wife Carol (pictured left) decided to invest in a franchise. 'We liked the idea of using a tried and tested business model and having ongoing training and support,' says Russ. 'We have a friend who has been a Safeclean franchisee for 15 years and his positive experience helped us realise Safeclean was a suitable investment. Also, we wanted an ethical organic business with low overheads and no cash flow problems and chose Safeclean because the cleaning products are not toxic or solvent-based and the business can be run from home with minimal overheads.

'At the moment I am the 'man in the van' while Carol continues to juggle her teaching job with the administration side of our Safeclean franchise. The transition from working with large blue chip companies to working in a local resident's front room has been strange but enjoyable. Through running my own business I have a higher level of job satisfaction especially when I have positive feedback from customers.

'The training and support is as good as I expected from a national organisation. Initially I had one month's training learning everything from how to clean upholstery, carpets and curtains to how to run the business effectively. In the first few months while I established the business head office called several times a week to make sure everything was going well and now I can always call head office or another franchisee if I need guidance.'

Since the launch of his franchise Russ has lost a stone in weight. 'The work is physically demanding, surprisingly I feel fitter and healthier than I did when I used to go to the gym regularly!' Russ explains. 'Now cleaning Monday to Friday keeps me in shape and I have the weekends free to spend with friends and family.'

Russ's family-run business is 20 per cent ahead of its year-to-date target and on course to exceed his first year's projected £50,000 annual turnover. Once he has built up the business he hopes to take on two employees and expand further.

Interview by Jess Sturman