Washroom cleaning franchise opportunity

Washroom cleaning franchise opportunity

Swisher, whose clients include Texaco, Safeway, Hilton Hotels and Haagen-Dazs, has won multiple awards and is the only company in the marketplace providing its unique washroom sanitation service.

I spoke to Marilyn Keen, its Development Director, about the cleaning franchise opportunity.

What sets Swisher apart?

Marilyn: The support, the training, the quality. We care; we like to treat the franchisees the same way that we like to be treated.

We’ve won lots of franchise awards: marketing awards; Top Recruitment Team 2006; finalist five times in the last seven years in the Franchise of the Year Awards; in 2004 we won the HSBC award for enterprise; and we were runner up in the Daily Express Brand Builder of the Year Award. [Swisher has since won a 2012CAMRA award.]

And the reason we are so successful is that we have a first-rate system with unsurpassed support for franchisees. The average support in UK franchising is something like nine franchisees to every corporate support member - at Swisher it’s less than two.

Swisher is there to support the franchisee from day one – and even before they join the franchise.

We also have a unique service and no competition, either from franchised or non-franchised businesses.

How much can a franchisee expect to make working a normal 35-hour week?

Marilyn: If the franchisee follows the system, works hard, motivates his staff, ensures that customers are receiving a first-class service, and takes customer care and customer control seriously, he could build a £500k turnover business in the first five years.

We care; we like to treat the franchisees the same way that we like to be treated

As an example, one of our franchisees built up a £400k turnover business in just under five years. He’d invested £25k of his own money, and after five years he sold it for nearly 300k, having been taking out a 125k net profit per annum.

And, what’s more, it can all be done working nice, social hours.

Not something you would expect from most start-ups. Is it pretty much a Monday to Friday affair?

Marilyn: Primarily. You might have to do some paperwork on a Saturday.


What does your initial training consist of?

Marilyn: Franchisees are trained on management, service and sales, quality control, customer care, finance, and the business requirements of running a franchise.

And what ongoing support do you provide?

Marilyn: Profit and loss, sales and service, add-on training, managing staff – every aspect of our business is covered.

We have regular reviews, which our senior management sit on when we look at their management accounts.

Regular review meetings take place with our franchisees attended by four senior Swisher managers. We look at how they are progressing and how they can improve their financial performance.

I guess that enables you to nip any problems in the bud before they get out of hand?

Marilyn: Absolutely. We make regular visits to franchisees, but we’re only at the end of a phone if they want to speak to us.

What do you look for in a franchisee?

Marilyn: Someone that is motivated, hungry to succeed and wants to build a big business.

Preferably they should have management experience. And it is helpful if they have already been involved in sales or a business which has had experience in sales.

Most of our franchisees have either had experience running their own business or been a senior manager or a director of a PLC. We don’t really have a set profile. We Look for that magic quality.

How about sectoral experience?

Marilyn: No experience in the washroom sector is needed.

What obligations does the franchisee have to observe?

Marilyn: It’s common sense really – just follow the system. If they follow the system, then they’ll grow their business.

Every franchisor has stories of difficulties with franchisees. Why do things go wrong sometimes?

Marilyn: Occasionally we have had a franchisee who has not followed the system or tried to invent a new system which they think will work better.

Which kind of defeats the purpose of having a franchise…

Marilyn: Yes. If someone finds it difficult to work within the parameters, then they have to consider whether they make a good franchisee.

We try and support all we can and work through things, but if it’s not going to happen, then we do advise them to sell and move on, and they can still make a return on their business. It’s a win-win-win situation – for the existing franchisee, for the one coming in and for us, because we have the new blood to take the business onto the next level.

If a franchisee wants to contact existing franchisees before they commit to the franchise, will you put them in touch?

Marilyn: We wouldn’t allow them to proceed unless they have spoken to an existing franchisee.

As we have a service without any competition we are very security conscious. So we tell the existing franchisees to be open, to tell it like it is. We like people to join us with their eyes open, to know what they are getting into and how the business runs.

We are a very happy network. The franchisees are very supportive of each other and Swisher corporate. We all work together as a team – and that’s the benefit of a franchise as well.

About The Author

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