Franchising: How does it really work?

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Thinking of buying into a franchise but not sure how it works? Most people are aware of bigger companies offering franchise opportunities such as McDonalds or Costa Coffee but there are lots of smaller successful franchise operations out there – like ours – that will allow you to build a successful and profitable business.

So what does buying into a franchise actually mean?

Essentially, a franchisor is a company owner who allows the franchisee – someone who has bought into the business to run their own branch of it – to use their trademark, business model and distribute their goods or services. The branding is already in place, as is the website, marketing materials, legal documents and insurance, etc. For this the franchisee pays either a monthly fee or a percentage of their profit.

It’s also worth noting that, as a lot of franchises will be approved by and have a prior agreement with a high street bank, as long as you pass the credit check it can be easier to obtain finance to buy into a franchise as it is a proven track record and the business is much more likely to succeed than going into it by yourself.

Franchising is based upon a long-term business relationship between the franchisor and the franchisee, so before you sign an agreement you need to be reassured that you can work with your franchisor. It’s in both your interest to see the business succeed, so having a good relationship with your franchisor is essential.

A good franchisor shouldn’t just assess your suitability, they should encourage you to interview them as much as they interview you. When interviewing a potential franchisee for the first time, I always talk them through our business model but I also allow plenty of time for questions. I actively encourage them before the meeting to put together as long a list of questions as possible for me to answer, so that I know they have thought through every aspect of the business and they will then be in a good position to make a decision on whether this particular opportunity is the right one for them

If both parties decide to proceed, it should be more than signing an agreement and handing a cheque over to the franchisor. Buying into a franchise should eliminate the hard work of setting up a brand new company. At Cleanhome we offer our franchisees a proven business model. When I set up the first Cleanhome branch, there was a steep learning curve. By going through the process myself, I was able to address any issues that franchisees may face and have ironed out any potential problems.

Ongoing training and support should also be an integral part of franchising. At Cleanhome we offer an initial two day training programme, which includes information about compliance with health and safety regulations and insurance requirements. I also offer participative development including practical role-playing exercises which aim to make franchisees feel confident about the selling aspect of the business. We also send the new franchisees out with an existing franchisee so that they can see how an experienced person deals with potential clients.

In addition, the franchisees benefit from two additional training days every six months and all of our franchisees can always get in touch with me at anytime if they are unsure about something.

Being a franchisee essentially offers you the independence of small business ownership supported by the benefits of a bigger business network. For people keen to branch out on their own, franchising can be the perfect solution.

So would you make a good franchisee? Keep an eye out for our next blog where I will be sharing the qualities essential for a good franchisee.

Welcome to Cleanhome

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I’m always fascinated to hear about people’s motivation for setting up their business, not least because people who are passionate about their reasons for running their business are also the ones who tend to offer the best service and go the extra mile.

So let me tell you a little bit about me and why I started Cleanhome.

When it comes to launching your own business, it can be a struggle to find the right time to start but coming up to 50 I knew I wanted to have more time to myself and spend less time commuting! At the time, I was having difficulty finding a reliable cleaner for my own house. I looked at what was out there already and the cleaning companies I found didn’t encourage relationships to build between a cleaner and their client.

This experience gave me the idea to start a residential cleaning services company which would make the relationship between the two parties a priority. For me, it’s vital to develop trust between the cleaner and the client, otherwise you’re essentially letting a stranger into your house and that’s not going to give anyone peace of mind. All our clients meet their cleaners in person and approve them before any cleaning, they can communicate with them easily and can be reassured that it will be the same cleaner who visits every week.

As my business grew more and more successful in a very short time frame, I decided to franchise the business so more people could benefit from the same profitable model that also helped me achieve a work/life balance. Having worked as Head of UK and Ireland Sales at Virgin Atlantic and as the Country Director for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in the UK, it made sense for me to utilise my experience in sales and recruitment to help other people run their own business.

Cleanhome currently has 17 franchised outlets across the UK and even though I am a franchisor, I still run my own (original!) Cleanhome branch in Thames Valley. This means that I immediately know of any changes in the industry and I also understand the pressures and challenges my franchisees face running the business on a day-to-day basis. I want them to feel they can use me as a sounding board when they need support. My franchisees also know that I have as much invested in Cleanhome continuing to be successful, as they have – and I think they really value that commitment.

Over the next few years I want to expand the business so people can access Cleanhome services anywhere in the UK – it’s such an exciting time for franchisees to come on board and our current franchisees really appreciate that their input and idea’s will help create the shape of the business now and in the future.

If I hadn’t started Cleanhome when I did, I think I would have started a training business as training has always been one of my passions throughout my career – so another of my ambitions is that I also want to establish the Cleanhome name as a leader in franchisee training.

I’m incredibly passionate about what Cleanhome offers both the clients and the franchisees and it has genuinely given me the work/life balance I always wanted. I know that I’ve been really lucky all the way through my career and have worked with some brilliant brands and companies and have been taught great skills by many very talented, generous people. Franchising Cleanhome means that I can pass on some of that luck and experience to enable other people to also become successful business owners and find their own work/life balance. If you’d like to find out more about the company and hear from some of our franchisees about their experiences, keep an eye on the blog over the coming weeks.

In the meantime, if you would like any more information about our services or the franchise opportunities available then do give me a call on 07791 044434

Until next time,

Karen