2017 Year in Review: a Journey through the Cleanhome Family

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It’s been another great year at Cleanhome and we’re pleased to announce that in 2017 we increased our turnover by 50%. As part of our plans for growth we’ve also been busy implementing changes to benefit our franchisees and their clients, from switching to the paperless office to launching our online client signup. Here are just some of our favourite moments from 2017.

Meetings with our franchisees

Ongoing support and training are just two of the reasons that people choose to invest into a franchise operation which we why we started our year with a UK wide franchisee meeting to share network developments with our franchisees.

These meetings allow us to interact with allow our franchisees on a personal level and drive collaboration within the network, both of which are a vital part of running a successful operation.

Paperless office

At the beginning of the year we began the process of going paper free so we can enable our franchisees to be more efficient when it comes to business agreements and payment systems with clients. Our paperless office system is now fully implemented and it’s been transforming the back-end administration of the franchised outlets.

Going paperless has enhanced the flexibility of the business and has made it fully mobile.

That, combined with our cloud-based system Genesys, means our franchisees are able to keep track of their business from wherever they are.

Online client sign up

With technology advancing at a rate of knots, we’re always looking to stay ahead of the competition which is why at the start of the year we launched our online booking engine which allows our franchisees’ clients to find and book a cleaner online within minutes and be assured that they will still receive the highest level of service.

This helps our franchisees to enhance their offering and target consumers who are time pressured and expect to be able to buy goods and book services online.

Our first Scottish franchise

This year we welcomed Mark Bishop to the Cleanhome family, who’s set up the first Cleanhome franchise outlet in Scotland.

Mark set up his Cleanhome franchise in the Autumn after he decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship and we’ve been pleased to have the opportunity to support him on his journey to running a successful business.

Thames Valley winning that award

Our clients’ satisfaction is our top priority so we were delighted that our Cleanhome Thames Valley branch won ‘Best Domestic Cleaning Service’ at the Local Trade Awards.

This award is a testament to our ethos as a company striving to find the right cleaner for our clients and their needs. We go above and beyond to ensure we find the right person and we only operate locally with vetted cleaners to ensure our clients receive top notch service every single time.

New Year, New You!

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A new year is a fresh start, a new beginning and the perfect opportunity to take stock and make changes. These can be simple resolutions such as eating more healthily, exercising more or de-cluttering. Other resolutions are bigger with the decision to make a career change being one of the most popular. According to a survey by CareerBuilder, more than one in five workers (22 percent) were planning to change jobs in 2017.

There are many different reasons you could be looking to make a career change in 2018. Maybe you prefer being outdoors but you’re office-based or maybe you’re after more flexibility. Perhaps you’re looking to future-proof your career or want to have more control over your day-to-day routine. No matter what your reason for moving on perhaps it’s worth stepping outside your comfort zone and considering starting your own business.

Taking the step to launch your own business may seem daunting, however franchising can offer you the opportunity to become your own boss without many of the risks often associated with entrepreneurship.

We have previously talked about the benefits of franchising and this month seems like the perfect time to revisit them.

Job satisfaction

If starting your own business has been one of your dreams but you feel that you don’t have an original idea to contribute to the market, joining an established brand can allow you to fulfil your ambition and create your own job satisfaction. And to paraphrase a famous quote, if you enjoy what you do then you never have to work a day in your life.

Be part of a family

Running your own independent business can be lonely and sometimes you may need some feedback or someone to brainstorm with. Joining a franchise operation will provide you with head office support and give you access to a network of like-minded people from different backgrounds. Any franchisor worth their salt will provide their franchisees with communication platforms which will allow them to connect and discuss any day to day issues they may face.

Join a growing industry

The franchise industry currently contributes £15.1 billion to the UK economy and many customers choose to purchase from franchised outlets as they believe they are more likely to receive quality services or products. This increases the business’s likelihood of success and subsequently reduces the risk factor.

Rapid Return on investment

Investing into a franchise means that you’re buying into a tried and tested business model which has been streamlined by the franchisor in order to give you the opportunity to see a return on your investment much more quickly than is you were to start your own business from scratch and have to learn from your own mistakes.

Also, the advantage of franchising is that when you advertise a known brand name in your market, customers are more likely to recognise the brand name which can get the cash flowing faster.

Have more ‘me’ time

Aside from running a profitable business, as a business owner of franchise, you have the opportunity to achieve the work/life balance you want. You’ll still need to put in the hard work to build your client base and get your business off the ground and offer quality services or products on an ongoing basis, however being your own boss means you can be flexible about some of the hours you choose to work, which could allow you to have more ‘me’ time or to arrange your work around your family.

Whatever career route you decide to take next year, we want to wish you the best of luck with your New Year’s resolutions. Make 2018 one to remember!

Have you got your New Year’s resolutions in place?

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Christmas will soon be upon us and before we know it, we’ll be at the start of a new year, which for many, means making New Year’s resolutions. The beginning of a new year is a great time to reflect on the year past and make plans for the year ahead and January is one of the key points of the year where people think about what they really want to do with their lives.  If you have been thinking about starting your own business then it’s a great time to look at the opportunities open to you and where you want to be in a year’s time.

Whether you’re currently working full-time, taking a career break or are retired, the New Year is a chance for a fresh start. Consider the following steps to help you decide what would work best for you to help you fulfil your entrepreneurial ambitions.

Self-reflection

Do you want more time with your family? Do you want to work from an office or from home? These are all questions you need to ask yourself in order to decide what type of business you should to invest in. If you’re looking for a better work-life balance and would prefer working from home then running a shop isn’t going to be the best option for you. Be honest with yourself about the things you want and the things you don’t.

Research the market

Before you dive into starting a business, you need to make sure there is a real market for what it is that you’re selling. It sounds obvious, but for long-term success, you need to identify a product or service for which there is an ongoing and growing need. You don’t want to invest into a business, only to realise that there’s a lot of competition or that it has limited demand.

This was one of the deciding factors when I chose to go into domestic cleaning management. With busy jobs and hectic social lives, people are finding it increasingly difficult to keep on top of the day to day chores so the domestic cleaning market is constantly growing. In addition, cleaning is a regular requirement so our clients require an ongoing service which means there will always be a need for good value, high quality cleaning services.

Choose a business structure

Choosing a business structure is one of the main things you need to consider when starting a company. You might want to start as a ‘sole trader’ which is perfect for freelancers and consultants. The other options are registering as a limited company or a partnership. A franchise is also an attractive option because you can try something totally new, get a proven model for your investment and you will have a team of support behind you to help you succeed. There are several free resources available online outlining the benefits and drawbacks of each structure. Have a chat with an accountant to decide which one would work best for you.

Calculate start-up costs and funding

Regardless of your business structure, many businesses require an injection of funds to get started. You may need to invest into a franchise, buy equipment or develop your own website. This all adds up and costs money so have a look at the different funding options for your business. This could range from personal savings to bank loans to your pension pot. You should also check whether you’re eligible for any business start-up grants.

Making your dream of becoming your own boss come true may seem daunting but spending some time now to put your business goals into place for the New Year can go a long way. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day! If you’re interested in joining our leading domestic cleaning franchise network contact us today!

Franchise Fame: Philippa James of Cleanhome Sevenoaks

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What did you do before joining Cleanhome?

I ran another franchise as a sole trader – it was great work but it was 24/7 365 days of the year!

What’s the best thing about running your own business?

Control! As a working parent I can’t imagine how I would fit in a 9-5 job in an office and juggle family life. Being self-employed gives me complete control over my diary, workload and who I work with 🙂

How do you manage your work/life balance?

I prioritise – Most of the time Cleanhome is a perfect fit – very rarely do they clash. I don’t work after 5 pm unless I have to as that is family time and weekends again are ringfenced!

Has working for yourself improved your quality of life?

Yes, I haven’t worked full time for an employer for over 20 years and I would never go back to that. I enjoy running my own business, being my own boss and making my own commercial decisions.

Where do you hope to be in five years’ time? 

Personally I want to be travelling more – that’s my passion and by that time I will have Cleanhome to a point where I have a manager as there is sufficient turnover to allow me to do  this – and then I can go off and travel and just check in on the business via the internet!

What advice would you give to anyone looking at starting their own franchise?

Be flexible, be a jack of all trades but most of all believe in what you are selling/providing to your clients – If you don’t believe in yourself then neither will other people.

 

Investing Into a Franchise vs Setting Out On Your Own

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Starting your own business is a major life decision and even though passion and enthusiasm are essential to your business success, there are several other things you will need to consider.

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make relates to the type of business you will start. There are a number of different business models to consider but one of the first things you will need to decide is whether you go it alone and start up from scratch yourself or you consider franchising, which is becoming increasingly popular in the UK.

Whatever business model you choose, there are going to be key differences that need to be considered when determining which type of business is the best fit for you.

Autonomy and Culture

When you set out on your own, every business decision rests on you, while in a franchise business there is a proven business model and systems and processes which have been put in place by the franchisor. You’re in control of your own business when it comes to day-to-day operations and recruitment, however, bear in mind you need to choose a franchise which aligns with your own values as you will need to adhere to the culture and values set by the franchisor which are there to help and support you and to ensure that the franchise as a whole runs efficiently. You’ll also need to keep in mind that franchise owners are not able to change their offering to reflect their personal preferences or changes in the market – although you can talk to your franchisor about your suggestions and a good franchisor will always listen to their franchisees’ views. On the other hand, independent business owners don’t benefit from the security of knowing that their products or services have already been tested and optimised for the current market by the franchisor. You may be sacrificing some of your independence to a certain extent but at the same time you can enjoy the security that comes from belonging to a network with a proven track record.

Financing 

The investment required in a franchise varies hugely but it is usually far cheaper than setting up your own business from scratch. New businesses can require some start-up capital and the good news about franchising is that because it is recognised as a safer route into entrepreneurship than simply setting out on your own, many high street banks will be happy to lend you a substantial percentage of the initial investment if you have been accepted by a reputable franchisor.

Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is where the success of franchising lies. Consumers recognise the brand and buy into the reliability and familiarity it offers. When it comes to brand recognition franchise owners definitely have an advantage over independent business owners who have to gradually build their brand and build trust and goodwill, however, you need to keep in mind that brand awareness can also have an adverse effect on your business. If the franchisor or another franchisee does something which results in negative publicity then your business can suffer as well.

Training and ongoing support

When you start your own business from scratch you will need to learn how to run the front and back-end of the business on your own while developing new skills along the way. When you invest into a franchise, you also invest into training. Franchisors provide franchisees with training on every aspect of the business and make sure they feel confident in running the business before launching it. Franchisors can also offer ongoing training as part of their role to ensure franchisees are staying on top of their expanding business operations.

Return on Investment

Whether you decide to start your own business or opt for the stability a franchise operation offers, you’ll still need to put in hard work to build your client base and get your business off the ground and offer quality services or products on an ongoing basis. The advantage of franchising is that when you advertise a known brand name in your market, customers are more likely to recognise the brand name which can get the cash flowing faster.

Ultimately, the decision to buy a franchise or start your own business from scratch boils down to your personality. If you can’t really see yourself not having total control of the operational decision making, then a franchising might not be the right business route for you, however if you prefer the security, the ongoing support and the benefits of being part of a bigger network, then investing into a franchise can help you achieve your business aspirations.

Whichever you choose you can look forward to the excitement of owning your own business as well as the hard work, but huge satisfaction, of being your own boss and the knowledge that it’s your drive that is making your business grow and become successful.

Awards Win in Recognition of Our Training and Development Programme

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Here at Cleanhome we pride ourselves on providing our franchisees with a high level of training, both at the beginning of their business journey and throughout and our commitment to our franchisees has been recognised.

We are delighted to announce that we are the winners of the East of England Small Business 2015 – in recognition of the Training and Development of our Cleanhome Franchisees. We are thrilled that the judges named us as the winner against stiff competition.

Many of our franchisees have never run a business before so we believe it’s important that they understand the ‘back end’ of the business including legal and finance but also feel confident in their dealings with both clients and cleaners. Winning this award is a fantastic endorsement of Cleanhome’s training programme and GENESYS™ our bespoke internet based operational system.

Ongoing training and support is an integral part of franchising. At Cleanhome we offer an initial two-day training programme, which includes information from how to interview cleaners to how to do your own accounts. We also offer participative development including role-playing exercises which aim to help franchisees with their confidence and we ensure that new franchisees shadow an experienced franchisee so that they can see how to deal with potential clients.

Our training programme is tailored to you so that we can help you make the most of your strengths and identify areas where you might need more support. Franchisees also benefit from two additional training days every six months and all of our franchisees know that they can get in touch at any time if they need advice or have a problem.

Time Management Tips for a Better Work Life Balance

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If you’re running your own business, you may find that you’re struggling to tick everything off your to-do list or working late into the night.

Here at Cleanhome, we’re all about work-life balance so this month our franchisees share their tips on maintaining a productive work life and a happy home life.

Time management tools are useless

Some people swear by time management gadgets and systems but the reason most of them don’t work is because they are designed to measure clock time without taking into account external distractions or the nature of the task you’re trying to complete. Have you ever felt that time is dragging when you are filling in your tax forms or equally flying by when you’re doing something fun? Then you’ll know what we’re talking about. It’s up to you to remove any distractions and stop procrastinating. You are the only person who can create and manage time when it comes to your to-do list. Focus on what really matters and what works for your business.

Set your own working hours and stick to them

If you are your own boss you might find your working days are less structured as you don’t have a contract dictating what time you have to start or stop working. If you’re working from home, it’s just as important to have set working time as it is in an office. Make sure that you have a set start time and as set finish time just as you would in an office and make time for an hours lunch break. By putting a routine in place you’ll have a clearly defined work time and home time, so you’re not distracted by putting the washing on in working hours or working when you’re enjoying ‘home’ time.

Ask for help!

If you’re building a business, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s with chores or tasks you need to complete to keep your personal life organised or work issues, ask for help. It might be a work issue you’re struggling with, in which case, speak to people who have been there before and find out what they did to overcome the problem. Sometimes, talking a situation through with someone can be a more effective and less time consuming way to resolve it than struggling with it alone. Don’t forget, most business owners would have been in a similar position to you at some point and are happy to help advise you on how to deal with it.

And if you’ve got a spouse or children, enlist their help in washing the car, doing the washing up or taking the dog for a work. After all, achieving good work/life balance benefits all of you!

Get moving

You might find it hard to make time for exercise when you have a busy schedule but it can help you feel more energetic and alert. Find something you enjoy doing and do it as often as you can. Apart from the obvious health benefits, having some time to yourself will help clear your head and will give you the boost you need to get through a busy day.

Find your off button

As you‘re in charge of your own work schedule you have the flexibility to arrange your workload around your personal life, so you might think that having a longer period of time away from work might not be necessary. To have a long, healthy, productive and happy life and career you need to take breaks away from work, whether that’s a weekend or a week. Regular breaks help you relax and ensure that when you’re back at work you’re enthusiastic and energised.