Quality customer service leads to success

Safeclean franchisee Mike White's focus on providing a quality service to customers has paid off as his business continues to grow year-on-year through customer recommendations

In the four years since Mike White purchased the established Safeclean franchise based in Deeping St. James he and his family have trebled the turnover and are now expanding the business further through the acquisition of a third area. 'The success of the family business is due to quality customer service and a lot of hard work,' explains Mike.

'The previous owner had stopped growing the business because he had lost interest. So when I took over the business in March 2004 I had a lot of work to do. It has taken a lot of time and effort to build up the business to its present level. Initially I started the business as a 'man in a van' operation with my wife taking care of the administration. But as time has gone on my youngest son has become my business partner and we have taken on a part-time member of staff. Today we have two vans on the road and a goal of getting a third in operation in the next five years.'

Mike decided to join the Safeclean network following redundancy from his position as Managing Director of an international poultry firm. With a wealth of business experience Mike thought it would be easy to find another job, but at 57 employers were not interested. So he decided to look for a business venture where he could run his own business. 'I was keen to find an established business opportunity,' recalls Mike. 'Franchising appealed because I would be able to work for myself while receiving the back up and support of the franchisor. I came across an advert for a Safeclean franchise and went from there. I have always enjoyed cleaning so investing in a progressive, organic furniture and upholstery cleaning service franchise seemed ideal.'

After a thorough examination of the previous owner's business, which involved Mike shadowing the previous owner for a few days to learn what a standard day was like operating a Safeclean franchise, Mike visited head office and discussed his plans to purchase the Deeping St. James territory. Impressed with what was said and confident in his decision Mike began training.

'The initial two-week training course covers all aspects of running a business including how to clean home furnishings and stain removal,' says Mike. 'While ongoing training is available throughout the year at area meetings and specific training sessions at head office. For me, the most beneficial aspect of joining Safeclean has been the support package. The company has found leads, national account work and created adverts for my franchise. There is also always someone at the end of a phone if I need advice.

'After working for a large corporate organisation it is refreshing to fulfil a lifelong ambition and be my own boss, making decisions and working flexible hours. I now have more job satisfaction especially when I receive positive feedback from customers. Knowing that business growth is down to customer recommendations is also rewarding.'

Mike intends to continue building up the business until he decides to retire. When he does, his son will continue running the business in his place.

Interviewed by Jess Sturman