In the ten months since Stewart Granger took over the Warrington branch of Minster Cleaning Services, the UK economy has stayed in the news for all the wrong reasons. Even so, this hasn't prevented the ex-Unilever biochemist and R&D programme director from adding new business to the already successful franchise.
As an almost indispensable commercial service, there is always a demand for office cleaning and, as Stewart says, when times are tough, value for money becomes a priority, "Most organisations are looking to get more for their money and that doesn't necessarily mean the lowest prices – value is much more complex and can include such things as service standards, reliability and trustworthiness."
Stewart chose the resale route when he acquired the business which had been operational since 1997; approximately 30% of all UK franchise sales are resales which benefit from cashflow, customers and staff as well as the significantly lower failure rates that the tried and tested business model of a franchise offers.
With over 20 years with Unilever followed by a year as an Associate Director at the NHS, Stewart has had vast amounts of management expertise which is the ideal background for a Minster Cleaning Services franchisee. He has secured new contracts with car dealers, engineering companies and sports grounds.
But it is his extensive experience in personal care, hygiene and public health which has also given him very high levels of credibility within the healthcare sector and helped him to quadruple the number of healthcare contracts at the branch, an achievement which says a great deal about the quality of Minster's service as he explained, "All primary health care providers will have to be registered with the Care Quality Commission by April 2013 and their premises will have to meet a number of 'Essential Standards of Quality and Safety' which includes the maintenance of appropriate levels of cleanliness and hygiene. Our knowledge of implementing the most rigorous cleaning regimes and practices is convincing healthcare managers that Minster Cleaning Services is the ideal partner to help the fight against HCAIs (healthcare associated infections)."
Mike Parker, Minster Cleaning Services managing director, says that new franchisees have excellent levels of support from a strong, stable and established partner, "We simplify the transition to self-employment through full training and comprehensive ongoing services covering IT, bookkeeping, marketing, employment law and health and safety and environmental legislation. Minster Cleaning Services is a recognisable and well-trusted brand and the size of territories gives franchisees ample scope for expansion; with the average annual turnover of our branches being more than £700,000 and some employing as many as 200 people, man-management abilities, resilience and determination are essential."
Minster Cleaning Services was established in 1982 and has been a bfa Full Member since 1992; with an annual turnover of £30 million, it is the UK's biggest cleaning franchise and a leading force in office and commercial cleaning. New franchise opportunities include Cambridge, 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. Also, there may be established franchises for resale from time to time.