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Flying High

Minster Cleaning Services' Northampton and Milton Keynes franchisee, Nick Barber was named the 2013 Franchisee of the Year at Minster's recent annual conference held at the Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel and Country Club in Meriden.

The award is based on performance criteria including sales, new business acquisition and customer retention. Nick also won the prestigious award for his excellent performance in 2010.

51-year-old Nick started his franchise in 1996 after spending 16 years as an RAF navigator. He chose franchising because he wanted to run his own business on leaving the forces and was aware of the relatively high success rates of a franchised business compared with starting a business from scratch.

Nick decided upon Minster Cleaning Services because he believed it to be a business in which the people-management and organisational skills he had developed in the RAF would be put to best use.

Minster helped Nick with the transition from life in the forces to self-employment and he has benefited from the comprehensive support package that Minster offers to take care of the main day-to-day business activities including IT, accounts, marketing and training, as well as professional advice on employment law, health and safety and environmental legislation.

As with all Minster franchise areas, the size of Nick's territory has given him almost unlimited scope for expansion and the branch achieved a remarkable growth rate of 16.6 per cent in 2013.

Franchisee of the Year runner up was Kevin McLoughlin of Minster Cleaning Services Staffordshire, who also won an award for innovation; third place went to Rob Wilson at Minster's Essex branch. Awards for high levels of growth were handed out to John Whyte and Marc Goddard in Leeds, Kevin Lawley in Norfolk & Suffolk and Harry and Terence Batwell in Aberdeen. Lancashire's Emma White won the Marketing Award.

Minster Cleaning Services' managing director Mike Parker says it is the quality of franchisees that has made Minster into one of the country's biggest and one of the most successful cleaning franchises and a leading force in office cleaning.

"Since 1990, when franchising was identified as the route for sustained growth through a network of committed individuals, annual turnover has reached £30 million – an average of well over £700,000 for each of the franchises.

"Our annual awards recognise people who have made outstanding achievements during the year, but every one of our franchisees has successfully weathered one of the worst recessions in history and is well placed for the future. They have shown that the combination of resilience and people-management skills, together with Minster's proven business model, really does stand the test of time.

"Prospective Minster franchisees can look forward to a safe and secure future and, whether they buy an established branch or choose a new area, they are getting the opportunity to create a large business and a genuinely valuable asset."

Minster was established in 1982 and has been a bfa Full Member since 1992. There are currently established franchises available for resale in Bristol, Derbyshire, Dundee, Hertfordshire, the North West Midlands and South Wales.

Areas for new franchise opportunities include Cambridge, Doncaster, Durham, Leicester, London, Middlesex, Guildford, Peterborough and Swansea.

The initial start-up cost is £28,225 plus 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.

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