Business franchise: Swisher franchisee

Interview with...

Simon Jones
Ran division of GEC-Marconi & been business consultant
Franchise name:
Commercial cleaning franchise
When bought:
Seven months ago
Business franchise: Swisher franchisee

BusinessesForSale: What attracted you to franchising as opposed to buying or setting up your own business?

Simon: The basic concept really. It means you get a proven concept, and that you don’t have to come up with your own idea.

Being washroom sanitation, the marketplace isn’t going to go away

BFS: What attracted you to this particular business franchise ?

Simon: Two things. One reason is the marketplace. Being washroom sanitation, the marketplace isn’t going to go away.

The second thing was the reputation of the franchisor. What I quickly discovered with franchisors is that most of them don’t have a sound set up – the proven concept. They’re not established and have a flaky business model.

I was looking for a franchisor that is a member of the right organisations, has been around for a number of years, which has sound financial backing, and so on.

BFS: So I’m guessing you’d advise people to do a lot of research before they buy a franchise…

Simon: If you take it on you have to be comfortable with the model and the marketplace. It’s good also to get something novel, something unique.

BFS: So Swisher met this criteria?

Simon: Yes. There’s a good process behind it. I’ve only been doing this for seven months, but I am expecting the revenue to grow in the future.

BFS: How did you raise the finance?

Simon: A mixture of my money and a loan from the bank. The bank lent about 60% of the capital. They didn’t take any risks of course – it was all secured against assets.

BFS: Do you employ anyone else?

Simon: Yes: there are four of us.

BFS: What sort of clients do you have?

Simon: At the moment it’s mainly the leisure industry, so pubs, restaurants, sports clubs, leisure centres – that kind of thing.

BFS: Do you have to do much travelling then?

Simon: No, we’re limited to a certain geographical area.

BFS: Working hard?

Simon: Yes. I’m doing about 70 hours a week – but I was expecting that.

When I started I thought it was going to take two years to get the business where I needed it. If you expect anything different, you are going to be disappointed. Hopefully, after two years I’ll be alright!

BFS: Have you encountered anything with franchising that isn’t to your liking?

Simon: According to the franchise agreement you have to get your supplies from the franchisor, and I guess going in, my expectation was that it would make it very competitive. But I was surprised to find the franchisor actually marks up the prices – to cover their cost, I’m sure they would say – and it does mean we’re less competitive.

Apart from that, though, everything else has been how it was advertised. They have been a very good franchisor and it’s going quite well.

BFS: Your industry is not vulnerable to changing fashions: businesses will always have washrooms and hygiene will always be important. But do you feel at all constrained in what you can do to adapt other changes in market circumstances – increased competition for example?

Simon: I don’t feel constrained at all, I really don’t. I don’t feel that I can’t modify the product or service I am offering. I can go into the marketplace, sell my service in a different way, try different market sectors, modify the product or service – and I can take problems to the franchisor.

BFS: Do you find the franchisor is approachable if you have an idea or a problem then? Is there a forum for such things?

Simon: Yes – I can just go and talk to them. I don’t need a forum or talking shop as such.

BFS: What advice would you give to someone starting out in franchising?

Simon: Choosing the right one is crucial. Choose a market that is strong, one that will grow; choose one with a strong financial base; and choose a franchise with an idea which is proven to work.

About The Author

Adam Bannister Writer
Adam Bannister writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including, and as well as other industry publications.