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C'est La Vie

After just 15 years running the Surrey branch of Minster Cleaning Services, franchisee Mike Keating is about to realise his dream when he retires with his wife, Noelle, to the Loire Valley renowned for its amazing chateaux, world-class vineyards and beautiful scenery. Mike, 60, who has a background in overseas banking management, took voluntary redundancy from Barclays Bank in Uganda where he was Director of Operations and invested in a Minster Cleaning Services franchise setting up the Surrey branch in February 1997. He says: "I had always planned to work for myself eventually and, as a management franchise, Minster was the perfect fit for my skills; right from the start, 2012 has been the target date for my retirement."

As a result, the Surrey branch is for sale at £144,995 through Franchise Resales Limited, an organisation that is solely focused on handling resales and simplifying the entire process for buyers, sellers and franchisors. Managing Director, Derrick Simpson says that Minster stands out amongst cleaning franchise companies: "The Minster Cleaning Services brand is well established and dominant in the market, the support available to franchisees is excellent, they have a structured approach to resales and it is a full member of the bfa. Franchisees are very successful and many are sitting on businesses which are worth substantial sums of money; a Minster Cleaning Services franchise could turn out to be the best investment anyone could ever make."

Over the last few years, 7 out of 10 people joining the UK franchise sector did so through the purchase of an existing business; a resale has the advantage of cashflow, customers and staff, it can also provide evidence of what can and has been achieved and, for example, how the business is likely to perform in varying market conditions.

The Surrey franchise has 85 staff and an annual turnover of around £500,000; 2011 saw sales grow by a healthy 10% despite the UK still being in the grip of one of the worst economic downturns in history. Few organisations can claim to be entirely recession-proof but a solid business model makes Minster resilient to the effects of a weak economy; office cleaning is an essential commercial service and, by providing cleaning services for such a broad client base, Minster branches are not greatly affected by a dip in any particular sector.

Large, exclusive territories give franchisees almost unlimited scope for expansion and the Surrey branch is no exception covering a densely populated area including the towns of Dorking, Reigate, Redhill, Oxted, Coulsdon, Croydon, Sutton, Orpington, Wimbledon, Streatham, Beckenham and Bromley.

Minster Cleaning Services Managing Director, Mike Parker, says that it is only natural that franchisees will, at some stage, want to retire or capitalise on their hard work: "We want our franchisees to be able to sell whenever they wish and we will help them to get the very best possible return on their investment. All Minster franchisees can build valuable, saleable assets – average annual sales are more than £700,000 per branch and nearly a fifth of branches have topped £1 million turnover."

As well as the Surrey branch, there are currently established franchises available for resale in South Wales and Dundee at a fee of £10,000 +VAT in addition to the purchase price of the business. New franchise opportunities include Cambridge, Durham, Leicester, London, Middlesex, Guildford, Peterborough and Swansea.

Prospective franchisees can look forward to a safe and secure future whether they buy an established branch or choose a new area.

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