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Finding freedom

Like most parents, Simon Vamplew’s life was turned upside down when he had children. But he’s found the freedom and financial security of owning a franchise have helped him get the best of both worlds.

Simon had been in charge of Minster Cleaning Service’s Gloucester franchise for ten years when the first of his two sons arrived. “Having children changes you and you have to change your management style. I used to do a lot of things myself but it forced me to delegate and that was great. Putting a structure in has actually helped the business grow in the long term.” It also helped him get through those early sleep deprived days.

Being his own boss, with a trusted team behind him, gives Simon the flexibility to be there for those defining childhood moments. “I can work my diary around school events. I was there on their first day, I can get to sports days and parents’ evenings. I wouldn’t be able to do that as someone else’s employee.”

On a day-to-day basis Simon is around for breakfast and dinner with his family. “I tend not to leave the house until 8.30am and I’m back by 6.30pm. So I was there for most bath times when they were little. Sometimes things come up which, as the boss, you have to deal with. But generally you’ve got that flexibility. ”

His family has also benefitted from the financial security that comes with owning a commercial cleaning management franchise. It’s a low risk industry that allows you to ride out economic peaks and troughs because of the essential business-to-business nature of the work. And it’s what attracted Simon to Minster in the first place.

“Funnily enough it was my dad that encouraged me to do it. I was young, in my late 20s, but Minster showed me a ten year business plan and I could see a long-term career. It was a new territory and down to me to drive it, but Minster has a proven formula with a track record of success.” Established in 1982, it’s been a bfa Full Member since 1992 and is the UK’s largest commercial cleaning franchise with branches across the UK.

Since Simon started, training and support has become an even more crucial part of Minster’s success. Franchisees are given on-going support with operational management, administration, bookkeeping, marketing and IT. Not to mention professional advice in complex areas including employment law, health and safety and environmental legislation.

For Simon it’s a decision that’s really paid off. He’s built a career that’s enabled him to give his family everything they need and more. “I’ve got an income I wouldn’t have working similar hours in another company. We can help the kids through university and set them up in life to do what they want. The great thing about running your own business is, if I want something for my family I can go out and get it by increasing revenues rather than waiting to go up a pay scale.”

The franchise has doubled revenues in the past six years and is now turning over around £1.4million, with plenty of potential for more given the large size of Minster’s territories. “Our focus on quality has really helped us grow. We don’t find it hard to win business, the trick is keeping it. That’s why we rigorously recruit reliable cleaners and have brought in an office manager to boost the service we provide.”