Warwick Payne talks about his first year as a Cleanhome franchisee.

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Warwick Payne opened Cleanhome Milton Keynes 12 months ago, he joined the franchise team with over 30 year of sales experience.

Now 1 year on, we thought we’d ask Warwick about his experience so far, and whether he has any tips to share.

Taking you back 12 months, can you tell us why you chose to start a franchise business, and why you felt Cleanhome was right for you?

I always wanted to own my own business but I had never been in the position to actually do so.  I thought franchising would be less risky than starting my own thing from scratch.

I considered a number of other franchise businesses, but I felt that the Cleanhome business management opportunity was well suited to my skills, I am very much a people person, I enjoy selling to people and in the process understanding their requirements.  I can also adjust my conversation to sell to either a client or a cleaner.

Milton Keynes is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK, I could see a big demand for cleaners, and could see the potential for a successful Cleanhome business.

How would you describe the initial training and set-up process, and on-going support?

The set-up was very easy, and I cannot fault it.  Karen is there every step of the way, she has my full respect, she got me across the line very quickly.  There is also a great support network in place from other franchisees.

In terms of ongoing support, I feel I have the full backing and support from Karen, I can phone her at any time.  The management team want you to succeed.

What were your first-year goals?

When I started trading I wrote a three year business plan, primarily focussed on growth: number of clients, turnover and profit.

I revisited the numbers recently and I’m 100% on track against all 3 growth objectives.  I am happy to say that I am where I want to be.

How are you adapting to the new lifestyle and work / life balance?

Honestly there hasn’t been much of a difference to previous jobs I’ve worked in, although I am pleased to say that I have cut out all weekend work.

I do recognise that this is my first year and I have been working hard to grow the business, I have seen from other businesses in the franchise network that the work/life balance improves in years 2 and 3.

How long did it take to learn the franchise model inside out?

I think it probably took 3 months to be completely happy, primary because I wanted to tailor the scripts to how I would introduce the business to prospective clients and cleaners.

Even now I’m learning though, different situations arise all the time, however I certainly relaxed into a routine after 3 months.

Was it straightforward to maintain a positive cashflow?

Within my first year of trading I controlled my overheads so cashflow has been very manageable.  Now into year 2 I will increase my marketing spend to secure the businesses growth curve, however I do not anticipate any problem with cashflow.

Did you find it easy to build relationships with clients and cleaners?

Absolutely, I consider this to be my forte.  I can talk with both clients and cleaners with ease, and I believe these relationships will help the business to grow at a rapid rate.

Were there any big challenges to overcome in year one?

With more clients came more queries and this could be daunting.  Although I quickly gained the confidence in dealing with anything out of the ordinary.

What would you say to anyone who wants to join the Cleanhome franchise team?

I would say that the Cleanhome prospectus all sounds too good to be true: the profit, the opportunity, the work/life balance and the back office systems.  I can tell you it is all true, it’s all there for the taking, and you can make a success of it.

As with anything there are good days and bad days within your first year, but if you are determined and you believe in yourself you will build an excellent business.  The huge benefit is that once the business gets to a certain size it almost runs itself.

What do you enjoy most about running your own business?

I enjoy the whole process.  It is me who onboards the client and then matches them to a fantastic cleaner, it’s a huge sense of achievement to follow the process through from start to finish.  Subsequently when the client stays with you throughout the year, it gives you a real buzz.  The whole process gives you the drive to onboard more and more clients.  I absolutely love it.

About Cleanhome:

Cleanhome is a top leading domestic cleaning business franchises in the UK.  The brand is well established, and the business model is proven. The business was founded in 2007, and its leadership team has over 30 years of experience in the management of domestic cleaning businesses.