Four Minster Cleaning Services franchisees are celebrating a combined total of 100 years in commercial cleaning, with each reaching their 25 year anniversary this year.
Unlike cleaners a century ago you won’t find any of our franchisees sprinkling tea leaves on the floor to help sweep up dust, using grated potato to get rid of carpet stains (yes really) or polishing your windows with yesterday’s newspapers – as they did in 1919.
But you will find them using the latest cleaning techniques and materials to provide the best service in all types of premises and settings, including medical facilities and laboratories.
All four took on new franchises in 1994 and have built up successful businesses, each benefitting from the long term security that comes with commercial cleaning.
And they’ve done it from very different backgrounds. Russell Haines spent 17 years as a fruit and veg wholesaler (talking of potatoes) before establishing the Coventry franchise. “I was looking for a business that didn’t involve early mornings six days a week. Minster really impressed me, especially how they enabled you to build ongoing contracts,” he said.
While Leeds franchisee John Whyte went from running a computer software company to Minster. There may not be many similarities between coding and cleaning but Whyte spotted a business parallel he liked the look of.
“What I learned in software was that ongoing maintenance was where the money was because of the recurring revenue. When I left the industry that’s what I was looking for, and it’s what commercial cleaning gives you. Having the Minster business model to use was a real advantage and now we’re turning over £2.5 million.”
Clearly the leap paid off as it has for Hull, North and East Yorkshire franchisee Richard Holdich. Previously a research scientist he wanted to switch careers back in 1994: “I was looking for job security, while my dad, with whom I went into business, was nearing retirement but wanted to keep on working. Minster was the perfect fit and we’ve built it up from scratch to £1.3 million. People still want a reliable, high quality service. That’ll never change and it’s what we give them.”
Similarly, Belfast franchisee Dominic Fitzpatrick was attracted by the stability of the industry. “At the time commercial cleaning looked like a good sector to be in. A service which is always in demand.” And it’s proved to be the case. “The market is a very competitive environment but the business has grown significantly over the last number of years. For us, excellent customer service is the number one thing that matters,” he said.
It hasn’t been plain sailing the whole way, with economic ups and downs impacting them all. But the nature of commercial cleaning has enabled them to thrive during difficult times.
Minster managing director Mike Parker said: “These guys have been with us for such a long time and prove what a sustainable business model we have. We recruit people who have good business skills and resilience, but the great thing about commercial cleaning is organisations will always need it. So when downturns hit, which they inevitably will over 25 years, franchises can still do very well. Here’s to another century of success!”
Finally, would any of our franchisees ever use rhubarb to get rid of enamel stains? Another trick from the 1900s … They’ll get back to us on that one.