There aren't too many companies able to report that 2012 was a 'good year' but Minster Cleaning Services' Managing Director, Mike Parker is more than happy with their overall performance: "As a business, we achieved a very acceptable rate of growth and a quarter of our branches had double digit sales increases. Our resale branches were especially successful – the best one enjoyed year-on-year growth of over 50%, from £450,000 to £700,000, which is remarkable in this economic climate."
Mike attributes their success to the various marketing initiatives implemented during the year, referrals from existing clients and excellent rates of customer retention achieved through close customer care and high service levels.
Customer care is an area where Minster is particularly focussed and their new and sophisticated, tailor-made customer relationship management system will be delivered in 2013 – a six-figure investment that will enable franchisees to keep track of important client data including contract details, contact history and profitability, whilst also monitoring employees from job applications through to holidays and absences and calculating the gross payroll. The first part of this system – a computerised quoting module which streamlines the quotation process and supplies valuable data which can help franchisees to fine-tune their approach to new business development – was launched at the end of 2012.
Mike says that their aim is to provide support in as many areas as possible, leaving franchisees free to focus on their clients: "The systems which we have in place have undoubtedly helped us to reach our current annual turnover of £30 million. With average branch turnover more than £700,000 per annum and with some of our franchisees employing as many as 200 people, good control is vital. Franchisees benefit from a wide range of services covering the day-to-day business activities such as operational management, administration, bookkeeping, IT and marketing as well as the complex fields of employment law and health and safety legislation."
The requirement for primary healthcare providers in England to be Care Quality Commission registered by April this year has also been a factor in Minster's success: to comply with the standards for registration, healthcare premises have to meet a number of essential standards which include the maintenance of appropriate levels of cleanliness and hygiene; Minster's expertise in implementing cleaning regimes that satisfy CQC requirements has resulted in healthcare premises becoming our biggest and fastest growing sector.
Minster Cleaning Services was established in 1982 and is a bfa full member; as office cleaning is an essential business-to-business service with multi-sector appeal, it is less susceptible to fluctuations in trading conditions than many other industries; and the exceptionally large territories give enterprising franchisees virtually unlimited potential. Mike says that prospective franchisees can look forward to a safe and secure future with Minster: "We're looking forward to welcoming new franchisees to our network in 2013 whether they buy an established branch or choose a new area."
New franchise opportunities include Cambridge, Doncaster, Durham, Leicester, London, Middlesex, Guildford, Peterborough and Swansea. Initial start up cost is £28,225 + VAT which covers licence, training, computer software and hardware, stationery, machinery, equipment and materials. In addition, between £40,000 and £60,000 working capital will be needed – finance is available from leading banks subject to status.
On average, franchisees have been with Minster for 11 years and some are reaching the stage where they are planning their exit. As a result, there are also currently established franchises available for resale in South Wales, Surrey, Dundee and North West Midlands.