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Women in Franchising

Minster Cleaning Services 

Former pilates instructor Kirsten Dunn left South Africa with her husband, Paul, to take the reins of Minster’s Edinburgh and Lothians franchise in 2016. It’s been on the up ever since.

Why did you make the change?

My husband and I wanted to leave South Africa and we’d always fancied living in the UK. That’s when we started looking at franchise opportunities – Paul’s experience in the hygiene sector made Minster an ideal choice.

How did you find out about franchising and Minster? 

We were looking at various franchises and found it for sale online. Once we’d met the current owner and the people at Minster we knew it was right for us. They’re very professional and have such high standards.

Describe the process for getting on board

We had initial meetings in March 2016 and we’d signed up and moved to Scotland by June that year! We had so much support, including five days at head office going through every aspect of the business. The previous owner also allowed us to sit in with him for two weeks.

What attracted you to this opportunity?

I wanted to live in the Lake District or Scotland, so when the Edinburgh and Lothians branch came up it ticked all the right boxes.

What ongoing support is available?

Lots, if you need it. I can get IT, marketing, operations and finance support from head office and share ideas with other franchisees. It's also a real help following Minster's proven business model.

How is your franchise doing?

We bought a solid business – what we were sold was definitely what we got. Now we’ve settled in, it’s really starting to grow and we’ve hired an account manager to drive that.

Any standout moments so far?

When we reached £1million in turnover. But we’re not stopping there!

Describe a typical day…

First, we address any issues that have come up overnight and Paul has meetings with the staff. I then focus on finance and admin, while Paul concentrates on the operations and commercial side of the business.

How has life changed since you became a franchisee?

I owned my own pilates studio and worked 12-hour days in South Africa, so I didn’t have any work-life balance. Now, if we need to stay late we do, but if not we head home and have time to ourselves.

How have you found being a woman running her own business?

Scotland is really supportive of women in business and it’s never been an issue with any of our clients. But there’s definitely room for more of us – at franchise meetings I only see two or three other ladies. I’d love to see more and I know Minster would too.

What qualities do franchisees need?

You need to have business acumen and be good with people. You’ll have lots of staff with different needs, so being a good mentor to them is an important part of the job.

Would you recommend franchising to others?

Absolutely! Yes, as a franchise you pay a royalty, but it comes with huge brand recognition and lots of support.

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