Hit the ground running

Following her gut instinct has enabled Well Polished franchisee Pauline Chart to escape the drudgery of nine-to-five office work and build a successful business from the comfort of her own home

Well Polished franchisees continue to experience a steady stream of business as the recession forces more cash strapped Britons to go out and find work. For those that do, finding time to do household chores is one of their least priorities, which would explain why a study commissioned by The Work Foundation has found that one in three dual income households now employ domestic help.

Established in 2004, Well Polished is a management domestic cleaning introductions agency franchise. Well Polished franchisees are not required to do any cleaning, instead their role is to act as the professional face of the business and find householders suitable cleaners. The franchisees also manage the contracts and ensure that customers receive a quality clean time after time. Well Polished domestic services on offer include standard house cleans, laundry services and bed making to waiting in for deliveries and house sitting. All of which can be booked for two or more hours a week or as a one off.

The simplicity of its business model, coupled with its low overheads and positive cash flow, are what attracted Slough-based franchisee Pauline Chart to the Well Polished franchise. 'I launched my franchise in March last year,' says Pauline. 'Since then the business has continued to grow as those that work value quality time with their families over saving money and doing the household chores themselves. To date I have 17 cleaners on the books and am eager to continue building up the business. A few months ago my fiancé Barry Maher joined the business because of its growing success.'

Before Pauline became a franchisee she worked in the property sector. Fed up with the nine-to-five lifestyle and eager to become her own boss, Pauline decided to leave in search of a new business venture. 'I knew franchising has a high success rate and liked the fact it is a fool proof way of running your own business, providing you follow the tried and tested business model and put the work in,' she reflects. 'I had a limited budget and wanted to run a business that used my sales and marketing skills and Well Polished fitted my requirements.

'I arranged a meeting with the Well Polished Director Sandra Venables (pictured above (L), with Pauline and Barry) and was impressed with her positive attitude, knowledge and openness. Any questions I had were answered there and then. The opportunity sounded genuine so one month later I followed my gut instinct and signed the Franchise Agreement and have not been disappointed!'

Pauline and Barry were put on a one week intensive training course at head office where they were taught how to operate the franchise, estimate cleaning times and deal with customer enquiries, VAT and tax. When Pauline launched her franchise Sandra helped her interview cleaners and advised how to advertise the cleaning services so that she could hit the ground running.

'I really enjoy running the business,' beams Pauline. 'I love working from home and working flexible hours. Long term I would like to take on a second territory so that Barry and I can afford a second home on the coast!'

Reported by Jess Sturman