Time For You makes a dream come true
As a single mum of two children, in 2002 Julia Willkins knew that she would need to earn more money than her old job in cycle proficiency could provide, especially when her daughter, Stephanie, announced that she wanted to pursue her dream of becoming an actress.
“I realised then that I needed to have my own business,” explains Julia, who after doing a bit of research discovered that franchising was the safest route.
“I was also doing a bit of cleaning for other people and discovered the Time For You,” she adds. “When I learned that as one of their franchise owners you don’t have to do the cleaning and send someone else to do it instead, I thought ‘this is the franchise for me’!”
Ahead of the launch of her first Time For You franchise in Hampshire, Julia attended the company’s comprehensive training programme, which covered all aspects of operating the franchise.
“The training was superb and I was amazed at the happy atmosphere the franchisors Freddie and Ruth Rayner cultivate among their franchise owners from the very start,” enthuses Julia. “Freddie is only too pleased to visit and help his franchise owners during their launches to ensure they have customers from the outset.”
With support not only from the Time For You head office, but also her fellow franchise owners, Julia was delighted that within her first year she had built up a regular database of 100 clients.
“There is very little invoicing involved in running a Time For You franchise, as it is mainly a standing order based business with clients paying in advance so there are never cash flow concerns,” says Julia.
Within her first year, the franchise model ensured Julia was earning enough to put her daughter on the path to her acting dream as well as invest in a second territory in neighbouring West Sussex.
Recognising their mother’s hard work, Julia’s children, Stephanie and her son Matthew, have supported her every step of the way.
“They were a big help in the early days and even now they are very ‘hands-on’ whenever they can,” says Julia. “Thanks to Time For You, Stephanie was able to win a scholarship for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, from where she will be graduating in April.”
With the curtain set to go up on Stephanie’s career and Matthew travelling, Julia has decided the time has come to treat herself. “I am eager to go to Thailand and explore Asia, as well as move to a bigger house,” she beams.
A decade since becoming a Time For You franchise owner, Julia has no hesitation in saying it was one of the best things she has ever done.
“I absolutely love my work! Not only have my office staff and cleaners been with me for a long time, so have many of my 700 customers,” says Julia.
Such loyalty has meant that Julia is about to launch a third territory in the Isle of Wight and extend the services her Time For You franchises offer.
“Such is the trust we have generated, and to meet requests from our clients, we are starting to offer home help services such as ironing and shopping,” explains Julia. “As a result of being a franchise owner I have not only created time for me but also others!”
Julie Goodall and David Egmore – Bury St Edmunds
Father and daughter team David Egmore and Julie Goodall have proved Time For You is a simple franchise that amply rewards its franchise owners for the work they put in.
Since launching in February 2006, they now have more than 350 clients and use 150 cleaners in their franchise area of Bury St Edmunds. They love the business model and the fact that they can work from home.
Julie said Time For You stood out from day one, adding: “We looked at a lot of franchises – not just in domestic cleaning – and Time For You was perfect. You work the hours that suit you, which is ideal when you have a family, and you get as much back as you put in.
“Yes it has been a steep learning curve. I have never run a business for myself before, only for other people. But the system is there, the support is there, and if you follow it, it works.”
Julie puts the secret of their business down to getting the basics right, day in, day out.
“We always answer the phone and return calls promptly,” she says. “If we get a new client enquiry, we go to see them at their convenience and carefully match them to the right cleaner. We know what people want from a domestic cleaner in their home and make them feel at ease with us.
“None of this is particularly difficult, it’s what head office teaches us to create a successful franchise. We followed the system to the letter from day one, and before we knew it we had 350 clients and as much work as we can handle.”