Commercial cleaning is not an industry renowned for its use of modern technology but all businesses need to wring out every ounce of productivity and effective use of IT can help to get routine tasks done more quickly. Thanks to over thirty years' experience in the sector and continuous investment during this period, Minster Cleaning Services has established systems which simplify many of the important day-to-day business activities – leaving franchisees free to concentrate on building large, valuable assets.
As well as providing support for Minster’s IT functions in head office and all 42 branches, IT Manager Neil Williams is responsible for evaluating current systems and making refinements as necessary. He visits branches to carry out ‘IT health checks’, ensuring that franchisees are making the best possible use of technology to streamline their business functions, and he is able to provide pre-emptive support by spotting potential failures through both on-site and remote system scans.
Neil has also overseen the creation of Minster's first two fully customisable mobile apps designed to run on tablet devices and smart phones. One is for staff training and development, and the other, for completing site audits, replaces a paper-based system and provides easy access to information through centralised servers.
Managing director Mike Parker says it is important for prospective franchisees to research the training and support packages offered by franchisors before taking the plunge: “Support has played a big part in the success of Minster branches and, whether they buy an established business or a new territory, new franchisees get help with the transition from employment to self-employment. They then benefit from a comprehensive range of ongoing support services covering IT, accounts, marketing and training, as well as professional advice on employment law, health and safety and environmental legislation.”
Minster Cleaning Services was established in 1982 and has been a bfa Full Member since 1992. As the country’s biggest – and one of the most successful – commercial cleaning franchises, the company offers prospective franchisees a safe and secure future whether buying a branch that is already up and running or choosing a new area. Average annual branch turnover is now approximately £800,000 and turnover for the group is £33million.
Contract cleaning is an essential, repeat business-to-business service with multi-sector appeal and so is therefore less susceptible to fluctuations in the nation’s economy than most sectors. Minster’s exceptionally large territories give enterprising franchisees virtually unlimited scope for expansion in the massive and still growing UK market and all can build substantial businesses, with many having achieved annual sales of over £1million.
Minster franchisees come from a wide range of professions including accountancy, advertising and brewing but all have people-management abilities, commercial awareness and determination in common; important attributes for a management franchise where some branches employ well over 200 people.
The majority of Minster’s most recent franchisees have joined through the purchase of an established branch. There are high-quality, established branches for sale in Bristol, Dundee, Hertfordshire and Liverpool at a fee of £10,000 plus vat in addition to the purchase price of the business.
New franchise opportunities include Cambridge, Doncaster, Durham, Leicester, London, Middlesex, Guildford, Peterborough and Swansea. 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.