A purveyor of eco-friendly cleaning products, Living Clean taps into popular concern about what we expose our bodies to and the environment in general.
Founder Julie Bishop tells FranchiseSales about how she started the business, which has just taken on its first franchisee, and how Living Clean stands apart as a cleaning franchise.
Adam Bannister: So what inspired you to start Living Clean?
Julie Bishop: My father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and he thought it was pesticides and chemicals. Also, my son was asthmatic.
That got me looking into what we were spraying around in our home and I realised that the cleaning products I was using were making me wheeze.
I started researching the alternatives on the market and there weren’t many at all. I wondered whether people would be interested in cleaning without harsh chemicals.
I realised the environmental benefits as well and it just evolved
I then realised the environmental benefits as well and it just evolved.
AB: Why would you say a Living Clean franchise is good value?
JB: One, we’re unique: we sell and use all of our own products. We have a chemist who makes them for us.
They’re totally environmentally responsible, all concentrated, all based on citrus flavours, and actually having your house cleaned with these products is fabulous.
As well as offering a service the franchisee can sell the products, so it’s not just a cleaning business.
Lots of farm shops sell our products so the franchisee has the opportunity to sell to them and as an extra to clients. We have an online facility where they can purchase the products and if it’s in the franchisee’s territory then they get their sale as well.
We’re not just selling to a cash-rich, time-poor market. We’re also selling to people that suffer from illnesses like ME, asthma, eczema, people who look to only take on green companies. And we have the market of pregnant women who want to buy things that aren’t going to harm them or their baby.
AB: What does the franchisee get for their money?
JB: A week’s training, uniforms to equip their team, about a three-month supply of products, all the equipment and stationery.
Our green ethics apply to everything. All our stationery is recycled, all our printing is done with vegetable oil – so they get all that as well.
They get the launch, the advertising and marketing done for them. We do a huge leaflet drop in their territory.
PR is really good too, because lots of people talk about global warming and carbon footprints. So when they hear about a franchisee that’s offering green services and great products, people want to talk about it.
AB: It’s clear that your green values set you apart from the competition…
JB: Our strapline is “a clean home – a clean world”.
We do things like promoting World Environment Day and partnering with Tree Appeal.
Anything we can get involved with, we will.
So we’re more than just a cleaning company.
We teach our franchisees that they can go out and educate people. They can go out to mother and toddler groups to talk about environmentally friendly cleaning, where they have the opportunity to sell services and products. The WI is another one that likes talks about environmentally friendly cleaning.
It’s about educating people, making people aware of chemicals within their home and showing them that there’s an alternative way of cleaning, without harming themselves or their environment.
AB: What kind of person should a Living Clean franchisee be?
JB: Someone who is determined.
Someone who is willing to go out there and try and convert people to a different lifestyle and show them alternatives to everything, cleaning being one of them. Somebody that perhaps has got to a point in their lives where they feel there is something more to give and they want to do something different from working nine to five.
And somebody who might need that work-life balance, but is prepared to work hard during the times that they’re juggling other things.
For instance, I’m a working mum. I can get that work-life balance because when my child goes to bed at nine, I will then get on the computer and work all the way through.
So that’s what I’m looking for: someone who wants the work-life balance, who can offer that, but at other times works hard at their business.
AB: Achieving that work-life balance is made much easier by the fact that they can work from home…
JB: Yes, it’s a great business for working from home.