Specialist Franchise Services

In the world of franchising, among the many food and beverage, retail and care companies, there is a niche market for brands offering a specialised service to the public and sectors alike. Here we look at two brands that offer tailored solutions, how they came about and what makes them unique in the industry.

Drain Doctor offer a full domestic and commercial emergency plumbing service, Complete drainage service including clearance, drain jetting, CCTV drainage surveys, drain and sewer pipe repairs from excavation to no-dig lining and patching services. The company started trading in the UK in 1993 and is a Master Licence from the Dwyer Group, USA. When Freddie Mitman, now Chairman of Drain Doctor went to Waco in Texas in 1993, to meet the owners of the Dwyer Group, he was given the freedom to telephone any of the 2,800 franchise owners covering all the concepts that the company was thinking of optioning.

Freddie found that the franchise owners of the plumbing and drainage concept were, without exception, delighted to be franchise owners, and were doing well. After some negotiation Freddie purchased this concept as a Master Licence and opened the company in the UK under the name of Drain Doctor. Freddie ran a company operation at first to prove the USA system would transfer successfully to the UK. This proved to be so. For 21 years now Drain Doctor has been growing in the UK and Eire and more than 80 franchised areas are now trading, covering more than 80 per cent of the territory. Although other companies, some of them large, were already covering the plumbing and drainage needs of the UK and Eire, it was believed that there was always room for a company that gave a unique quality of service.

Although starting as mainly a domestic service company, as they have grown Drain Doctor have become more and more involved with commercial accounts both large and small. Restaurants, hotels, hospitals, shops, office blocks and manufacturing facilities, look for a fast and reliable service for their plumbing and drainage needs. Many want this service done at their quieter times, or even when they are closed. As a 24/7 business, Drain Doctor can accommodate this, which is something that sets them apart What makes Drain Doctor different to most of its competitors is the quality of service it gives, as Freddie Mitman explains: “We have well-trained, uniformed technicians that are sent out to give speedy and highly professional service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Drain Doctor believes that a plumbing or drainage crisis is no respecter of time or convenience and the problem must be solved quickly.”

The Drain Doctor service teams are instilled with the mantra regarding service ‘Fix it once, fix it right, fix it forever and do it now.’ Customers are contacted within hours of the service call to ascertain that they are fully satisfied with the quality of service that they have received. It is that level of service that has made the company the go-to brand for many customers throughout the country and when coupled with a no-surprise pricing structure, clients are always sure of what they are getting for their money. “ The same service is given in, or out, of general working hours, including bank holidays and weekends. The price of service remains the same; there are no call out charges. Each service task has a book price and this is agreed with the customer before any work is started. There are therefore no surprises and this is something we are very proud of,” highlights Freddie.

Drain Doctor technicians follow a system of customer care that is unique in the industry. As customers are delighted with the quality of service given, and because Drain Doctor keeps in touch with them after service, the company retains a very high percentage of returning customers, and recommendations is often given. Like all successful businesses, word of mouth is key and the company realise that although there are a seeming never ending number of plumbing and drainage emergencies, customers always have the right to choose who they call. Because of the service experience given by Drain Doctor once a customer experiences that service quality, they will come back, and also recommend others.

There are some specialised service brands in the franchising industry who offer a service that requires intricate knowledge of a variety of legislative and regulatory guidelines, as in the case of Envirogroup. Envirogroup have been in business for over 15 years, since their humble beginning when Paul Devenny started the company as a sole trader in April 2000. Envirogroup started as a kitchen deep cleaning and kitchen extraction cleaning service. As their reputation grew, more clients inquired about the possibility of other specialised services. The business quickly became a van-based kitchen, duct and deep cleaning franchise to the hospitality sector. As the business grew, the company became incorporated to a Limited Company in October 2010.

John Brooks, Franchise Director at Envirogroup explains that it is massively important to ensure the brand is always up to date with current legislation: “Throughout our 15 years in business we have kept up to date with current legislation and work towards TR19 Standards. Envirogroup undertake many tasks with the aim of producing a high quality service, alongside creating a safe environment for both the public and our members of staff. We have our ISO 14001, ISO 9001 2008 and OHSAS. We are members of Construction Line and Heating & Ventilating Contractors Association (HVCA).”

Envirogroup launched as a franchise opportunity towards the end of 2014, due to the demand for their services across the whole of the UK as John highlights: “Franchising Envirogroup was a natural progression for us. The future of Envirogroup is very much in our franchise network in the UK as we are one of the market leaders in our industry across Northern and southern Ireland. This is down to recruiting quality franchise owners along with our high levels of accreditation.“ The brand now has franchise locations in Manchester South, Lancashire, Inverness, Brighton, Newcastle and Dublin. As mentioned before, safety and compliance in the specialist cleaning industry is paramount and something that Envirogroup take very seriously. Accreditation from the governing bodies is a must, and once they have been obtained, ensuring they remain accredited is equally as important. The company have kept up to date with current legislation and work towards TR19 Standards. They currently have ISO 14001, ISO 9001 2008 and OHSAS 18000. They are members of Construction Line and HVCA.

John sees Envirogroup as being a specialist in a specialised service industry: “We are in a compliance and legislation led industry as we carry out a specialist compliance service. All our franchise owners and staff are trained to the highest levels to ensure all work is carried out to TR19 standards, with on-going training throughout the year and refresher courses when required. Our clients in the hospitality industry have to use our services and as such our service offerings and practices have to be kept up to date to ensure compliance.”

In a sector that is becoming competitive, despite the specialist nature of the service, Envirogroup are very confident in the abilities of their staff and of the brands itself in setting them apart from the competition. “We have the highest level of accreditations in this sector and this is something we are very proud of. We offer aftersales support and our work is always first rate. We offer the complete package to our clients,” says John. Commercial clients such as hotels need any work undertaken to be to be compliant for insurance purposes. Envirogroup ensure any work carried out by them meets and exceeds industry standards. “It is very important in our industry to be recognised as a reputable, accredited brand. Customers have to be confident in the supplier they are using. As the service we are providing is a compliance issue its very important customers trust they will get the service they have requested.”

With Envirogroup expanding into new locations, the brands are keen to bring in new franchise owners. Having already brought on six in the space of a year, John is very confident that the brand is on the right track: “To bring on six franchise owners in less than 12 months of launch is a phenomenal start for Envirogroup. We will reach 10 by the end of 2015 and we will be looking to recruit a further 10 in 2016.” John goes on to explain the criteria for anyone looking to join the brand: “We are looking for people who have the energy and motivation to run their own business and create their own customer base along with our sales support, and be prepared to put in the time and effort to make it happen. Potential franchise owners must have the interest and affinity in what we do, it is not necessary to have all the skills to operate a Envirogroup franchise as you will be provided with the knowledge through training and on-going support.”

Although Envirogroup may have only launched as a franchise opportunity in the last 12 months, they have over 15 years in the ventilation hygiene industry and have invested in their business both in research and design to obtain the highest levels of accreditation and in carefully bringing in new franchise owners across the country.. It is ensuring that they maintain the already high levels of service to their clients, which really drives the brand forwards. “We feel we have the perfect team in place to develop and grow our franchise opportunity and most importantly enable our franchise owners to develop a successful and sustainable business and keep our clients coming back to us year on year,” concludes John.