FRANCHISE FAME: PHIL AND SHARON BRADLEY – CLEANHOME YORK

Standard

Phil and Sharon Bradley from Cleanhome York have been going from strength to strength  and recently celebrated signing up their 200th client. We caught up with Phil to find out more about their success and how they feel about being part of the Cleanhome family two years on. 

What did you do before joining Cleanhome? 

Sharon and I lived in Saudi Arabia for five years followed by seven years in Spain, where I worked in the Oil and Gas industry. When we returned to the UK just over two years ago we decided the time was right to start our own business so we researched different sectors and decided that domestic cleaning was right for us as Sharon had some experience in the hospitality industry and it’s a growing market. After going through several franchise opportunities we chose Cleanhome for its robust business model, the ongoing training and support by the franchisor and its custom-built operational system GENESYS, which is exclusive to Cleanhome and handles all the back-end administration of the business freeing up valuable time, letting you focus on growth.

How do you manage your work/life balance? 

When we first started we had to go out to meet clients and cleaners five days a week but as we have grown, we’ve let Cleanhome’s operating system GENESYS do most of the hard work as it takes care of all the admin for us so we only need to have external meetings twice a week now.  I have also focused on raising awareness of the business locally through online ad campaigns and attend networking events which I enjoy.

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

I would say it’s being able to reap the rewards of our hard work. We put in a lot of hours getting the business off the ground to begin with and we are now enjoying our success while maintaining a happy clientele. Being able to add value to both our cleaners’ and clients’ lives by creating the perfect working relationship is also very rewarding.

What are your plans for the future? 

We are working towards growing the business and eventually passing it on to our daughter who is currently a nursery teacher. It’d be great to see her setting out as a business owner with our help.

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

I’d definitely recommend the domestic cleaning industry and Cleanhome as it offers a robust business model and can help you build a successful business while maintaining a good work/life balance.

Don’t let the sunny weather get the best of you

Standard

Spring is finally here and as winter seems to have lasted forever this year you may be breathing a sigh of relief, while sunshine is a welcome change from snow, the good weather may have a negative impact on your productivity.

A vision of sunny skies outside your window brings to mind everything you could be doing outside instead of getting down to work. So if you’re having trouble focusing on your to-do list, here are some tips on increasing your concentration and getting the things off your list done faster in order to enjoy more free time, which is, after all, one of the reasons you started your own business in the first place!

Stop daydreaming about sunny beaches

It’s not just the weather that affects you. Even just thinking about nice weather can bring your productivity down. Studies show that evocative images of far flung destinations can reduce your focus so make sure you steer clear of anything that can make you think of picture perfect holiday spots. Get rid of your beach screen saver and stop looking for deals for your next holiday while taking a break from work.

Plan your working days around the weather forecast 

Take a look at the weather forecast for the week and if possible plan your workload around it. Given that you’ll probably be more productive, rainy days can be a great opportunity to log a few more minutes at work so take advantage of it. If you knuckle down on cold, wet, rainy days, you’re much more likely to have free rein to pop out early when that sunny afternoon calls you to take some time off!

Give yourself some encouragement 

Encourage yourself along the way. Use positive self-talk to help you recognise your achievements. Positive self-talk is helpful when it’s simple and direct, such as ‘I can do this.’

Tune it out 

One of the best ways to tune everything out is to listen to music. When the weather outside is distracting you, put your headphones on and find something that can serve as background music rather than music that energises you. Music can help you concentrate, and the headphones signal to others that you’re not available to chat.

The early bird catches the worm

The sun rises earlier so make the most of it. Start your workday an hour earlier and use this hour to organise the day ahead and complete any admin tasks you’ve been putting off. Similarly, skip the long lunches and instead give yourself a short break to take a walk or clear your head, with something light and nutritious to boost your energy. This means your working day will finish earlier and you can make the most of the early evening sun!

Spring Clean Your Business

Standard

National Spring Cleaning Week is coming up which is normally associated with getting your home in order but it’s also a good time to give your business an annual Spring Clean. It may sound daunting but it’s all a matter of perception. Instead of looking at this as a laborious task, think of it as a reward for getting through the winter. This is your chance to fine-tune the day-to-day running of your business in order to improve the quality of your working life. Doing the tasks you’ve been putting off will make it easier to focus on the bigger picture help your business to prosper.

Give your email a good scrub

You probably keep saying that you’ll get on top of your inbox but it never quite happens. Now’s the time to do it. Set aside a whole afternoon and go for it! Finding an email filing system that works for you will make it easier to keep on top of them in the long term. It may seem like a minor system to improve but it will make you feel less overwhelmed and will improve your entire communication methods.

Do your filing

Earlier this year, we went paper free when it comes to business agreements and payment systems in order to allow our franchisees to run their businesses more efficiently and provide a better service to their customers. Cloud-based systems are great for improving the efficiency of a business when it comes to filing important documents. If you still need to keep paper-copies of documents, ensure your filing cabinet is tidy and everything is where it should be. This will help you spend less time looking for files you need in the future and will make you feel in control of everything.

Review your suppliers

Take a look at your suppliers and identify any that are not performing as well as they should be. For example, does your broadband provider fail to provide you with adequate coverage or service speeds? Does your bank keep introducing new service charges or other fees? Once you’ve identified the issues, contact your supplier and ask them to resolve them and ask if there are any better deals they can offer you. Have a look at different suppliers as well as they might be more suitable for your business’ needs.

Dust off your business plan

One of the great things about franchising is that you have access to ongoing support when it comes to evaluating your business and improving your business plan. Spring is the perfect time to revisit your plan and update it to keep pace with your goals and your long-term plans for the business. Go back to why you set up the business and evaluate what you want to achieve moving forward.

Clean your office

Trust us on this one! When was the last time you vacuumed behind the printer? A clean office will help lift your mood, and improve and reinvigorate your workspace. A disorderly and dirty office can cause unnecessary stress so turning your office into an inviting place to work means that you will have a more positive mindset and be more eager to work.

Schedule your next Spring Clean

In order to keep up the good work, you don’t have to wait until the following year to review any changes you introduce during your Spring Clean. Set aside a time every three months to evaluate your key accomplishments and identify areas of improvement. Look into what you’re doing and whether it’s feeding into your goals.

Set Goals for the New Year!

Standard

Every single business owner, whatever the size of the business or however well-established, needs goals to keep moving forward, get them motivated to do more and maintain the success of their business. Goal setting might sound daunting but in reality, goals are just targets that you’ve determined you want to hit within a specific time frame and ultimately, goal setting can help you to be more ambitious and more motivated.

As franchisors we encourage our franchisees to set goals to help them take their business to the next level and here’s why… 

Goal setting improves the business model

One of the biggest advantages of franchising is that people buy into a tried and tested business model but each franchisee needs to set their own goals. Think about it this way, if you haven’t got a target to hit, you won’t be able to measure your success as you move closer to the goal.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that each franchise area is different so techniques that have worked well in one area may need adapting to work the same way in another area. If you haven’t got targets in place, you won’t know what needs changing in order to allow you to reach your goal.

Ultimately, as a franchisor, we’re here to help you get the most out of your business. By measuring your progress you can clearly see whether your approach is working and if it’s not, you can access our knowledge and experience to help adapt your techniques to help you on your way.

Successful franchise operations are those that are able to react and adapt to their environment and targets are an essential part of understanding how the model works at both a franchisee and franchisor level.

Motivation

Setting targets can have a positive effect across the network as the more motivated the individual franchise owners are, the more they are likely to encourage each other to achieve their goals.

This mindset can easily flow down into the culture and ethos of the franchise business and improve overall performance.

Work/life balance 

A clearly defined goal means franchisees have their eyes on the prize which in turn can help them get rid of any processes which don’t contribute to their success. Having this kind of focus teaches them how to work smarter, not necessarily harder.

2017 Year in Review: a Journey through the Cleanhome Family

Standard

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!

Standard

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!

Why you shouldn’t fear change

Standard

Every market sector, regardless of its nature, experiences changes in its environment and if in today’s fast-paced business world companies can’t keep up with changing demands, their ability to grow will suffer.

And while these should always be at the heart of the business, franchisors need to overcome their fear of the unknown and constantly take steps towards developing innovations which will increase business efficiency.

We recently implemented a few changes to our systems which have already made the day to day running of the business easier for our franchisees and we are constantly looking for ways to innovate.

Here are our top tips to combat the fear of change:

Understanding

Before setting out to do anything, it’s important to understand where the fear of change stems from. Change can feel scary but what’s the basis of your fear? Is it because you are not 100% sure that the time is right? Is it because you don’t know if you have enough resources? Identifying the root of your fear can be a great place to start as it will help you deal with any obstacles you need to overcome.

Communication

Whatever the change you’re looking to make, ensure that you speak to your franchisees and team first and find out what their opinions are. In our meetings we always go through any suggestions for improvements and take our franchisees’ feedback on board. By communicating your plans for change, you can alleviate any fears you may have or come up with new ways to approach the change you plan to make. Another important thing is getting the ‘early adopters’ to talk about how easy and effective they have found the changes – as well as share any tips they may have – to encourage the ones who haven’t used the new system yet.

Inclusivity

Often in business, big changes are made by management without proper consultation with the staff. Franchisors should be doing it differently when it comes to change. Franchisees are responsible for their own businesses so they should be involved in every step of any planned changes. Involving them in the decision-making process will ensure that you’re on the right track and will also make them more receptive to change.

Support

Once you’ve implemented changes, make sure you’re there to support your franchisees and answer any questions they may have. Make sure everyone understands the new systems and processes and coach them along the way. Change will only yield positive results if everyone feels supported on an ongoing basis.

Fear of change is understandable but if you and your team of franchisees are prepared for it, you should be able to expand and innovate to ensure the long term success of the business.

A warm welcome to our newest franchisee!

Standard

Rob Chisolm has just joined the Cleanhome family and will soon be launching his South Oxfordshire branch. We caught up with him to find out more about his background and why he decided to start his own domestic cleaning business.

What’s your business background?

My background is in the service industry. For seven years I built up from scratch a courier company which provided Decathlon Stores with an in-store delivery and build service for large stocked items like treadmills and table tennis tables. This was quite successful and I built it up to service all of their Southern stores. As things progressed further, I was offered all of the UK deliveries for these bigger items when they first launched their website.

However, I soon realised after running things through a really busy Christmas period that things were happening behind the scenes and they were tendering the work out for the bigger courier companies with the wider networks which could offer a much cheaper and less personalised service which I was never going to be able to compete with cost-wise. So overnight and without any warning, all the deliveries started drying up and it started to become impossible to offer the service. I kept going for as long as I could but it was becoming harder and harder to make a living and I found myself working longer hours most weekends just to make ends meet.

Then through a contact at Decathlon, I found out about an opportunity at the local deep sea container port. I was offered a position as a terminal operative at DP World London Gateway where I was trained to drive the heavy plant and container lashing. This was a great experience but due to the shift patterns and having to work most weekends, my social life began to suffer as well my health.

Then I met my girlfriend Clare who lived in Oxford and the lack of free time was becoming more of an issue so I eventually moved to Oxford and started working as a driver and labourer for a scaffold company. Although it was a very physically demanding job there was not much else to it. It was always going to be a stop gap until I found something that would give me the chance to build something again from scratch and have the ability to grow professionally and succeed. This was when my girlfriend asked me if I had thought about franchising. We looked at all the different options available but we kept coming back to Cleanhome. The more research we did the more appealing it became as we have always been looking for a trusted and reliable cleaner in our area and found it very difficult to find one. We thought that others had the same problem so there clearly was a demand for the service in the area.

What made you want to start your own business?

I really enjoyed the challenge of setting up my courier business from scratch, the excitement of the challenges that I had to overcome and the pride in creating and growing my own business and the rewards it provided.

I really like the idea of being in business for myself but this time, not by myself.

How has your Cleanhome experience been so far?

My experience has been very positive so far, the level of detail and understanding of the domestic cleaning market is clear to see and the in-depth training and support really gives you the confidence and the ability to build a sustainable business under the Cleanhome brand.

What are you looking forward to the most about running your own business?

The ability to control my own destiny and find a work/life balance, I like the challenges that come with it and the pride you get from building something you can call your own.

Do you feel that running your own Cleanhome franchise will help you improve your work/life balance?

It was definitely the reason I first looked into franchising. My main priority was that I would be able to improve my work life balance. I wanted to have the flexibility to control my own schedule and make time for the things I really enjoy doing. I know it won’t be easy at first but with a bit of hard work it will definitely be possible in the future.

Training Franchise Employees: A Recipe for Success

Standard

Having spoken to our franchisees over the years, one of the biggest challenges they face is that as their business grows they need to bring in staff to help manage the business.

Many of our franchisees have taken the step of employing branch managers whose role it is to manage clients, cleaners, cashflow and the other day to day tasks which keep the business going, while the franchisees focus on the strategy and overseeing business growth.

Hiring staff is a big step for any business and it’s vital to employ the right people to reflect the business, the brand values and to ensure the business is running smoothly.

Everything their branch manager does impacts on clients and can help turn them into long-term clients or drive them to a competing brand.

For our franchisees, it’s all about finding people who will manage the client experience and train them to deliver the best possible results. In other words, the success of their franchise business is directly related to the quality of their branch managers’ behaviours and attitudes. One of the issues the often face, however, is that most of them have never had to train employees in the past. Our franchisees bring a number of skills and qualities to the table from their past work background and some of them may have even been in managerial positions but most of them don’t have any experience in training people to run their business so they can delegate with confidence.

This is why we recently ran a managers training workshop where we had the opportunity to ensure that our franchisees’ branch managers are up to speed with our latest systems and that the customer service they offer reflects the network’s values.

As a franchisor, we must take an active interest in the training of our franchisees’ staff to ensure that everyone who represents the business is doing it properly which will help the business to thrive and remain ahead of the competition.

We encourage our franchisees to hire for attitude, as we can help them learn the skills they require to run a successful Cleanhome brand. Turning an enthusiastic member of staff into a productive and efficient branch manager doesn’t happen overnight but with the right support and training it will become the key ingredient to the branch’s success.

The most important thing is to view the training of franchisees’ staff as an ongoing commitment, rather than as an occasional ‘as and when’ approach to fix any issues that may arise. We want to stop the issues arising in the first place!

If you’re thinking of investing into a franchise operation then make sure that the franchisor is not cutting corners when it comes to the training they provide not only to franchisees, but also to their staff. A franchisor who wants to make the network successful will consider the investment into the whole network operating at its best worthwhile.

Keeping your values while expanding your network

Standard

We’ve said many times in the past that one of the biggest advantages of investing into a franchise instead of going at it alone is that you become part of a bigger network which constantly evolves. However, as the franchise network grows and more franchisees come on board, it’s vital to maintain the brand’s core values and identity.

We have come a long way since we launched our first franchised outlet in 2013; We currently have 23 franchised outlets across the country and as our business family continues to grow, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our ways of working and our offering to our clients. This is why we want to ensure that all of our franchisees live and breathe our brand values and culture. Many franchise operations fail to realise that every location is different so can require a flexible approach to business however it’s still vital to ensure that the company value are consistent across the across the network.  As well as being business owners, franchisees are brand ambassadors so to ensure that the business continues to grow and develop it’s important to have cohesive brand values so that people know they are dealing with a company with a respected identity.

From franchisee recruitment onwards, the values of the business are always at the core of what we do. We put a lot of emphasis on what our brand stands for, how we do it and what we believe in. For us it all starts with practising what we preach, which is why our MD Karen is still involved in the running of her own Cleanhome branch in the Thames Valley, the first to be launched, in 2010.  Once those values are at the heart of the business it becomes easier to roll them out throughout the network and in any external communications.

Every franchisee and employee should understand the brand values and put them at the centre of how they run their business, whatever they’re faced with. It means that even during challenging times they will be clear on how to present themselves and be firm about what the business stands for.

Once you’ve set those values across the network, it’s important to keep it up. You shouldn’t neglect setting up regular check-ins with your franchisees to ensure that they still feel engaged with what the company stands for. Find out what works for your team, whether it’s monthly online meetings, phone chats or group meetups, and decide what works for the whole team.

Building your brand won’t happen overnight but applying your values across the network will enhance every single aspect of the network and the service offering.