When Richard Thompson took over the Berkshire management franchise of Minster Cleaning Services in September 2003, the branch had been operational for seven years.
With annual sales more or less stabilised at around £250,000, Richard recognised the potential and saw it as an excellent opportunity to build a substantial business. He was confident that he could add value to the operation and, in his first six months, grew turnover by nearly 50% to an annualised figure of just under £400,000.
Today the branch provides office cleaning services to a wide range of companies in sectors which include car rental, house building, retail, healthcare, education, financial services and leisure including a world renowned restaurant group. Turnover has now reached over £1.3 million from around 175 contracts.
Richard’s efforts earned him the Minster Franchisee of the Year award for two years in succession - 2004 and 2005 – and he was third placed in 2014.
Q&A WITH RICHARD THOMPSON
What were you doing before you took on the Berkshire management franchise?
I gave up a successful career in commercial television to join Minster after I had seen an article about the company in Business Franchise magazine and subsequently visited Minster’s Birmingham headquarters. My management experience gave me the ideal grounding for the franchise.
Why did you choose a Minster management franchise?
I was looking for a new challenge and chose the Berkshire branch resale because I realised that the M4 corridor was the perfect environment for a Minster branch. Its many business parks offer massive potential for office cleaning services.
I was also attracted by the level of support offered by Minster which includes training, the corporate image of a large national company and a highly effective marketing strategy.
Minster offers the opportunity to be your own boss and yet have the backing of a strong, stable and established business partner, you have to be prepared to work hard and be totally committed to build a successful and lasting business but there is always advice and guidance there when you need it.
Do you miss anything from your former career?
Some of the perks were nice. I have been on sales conferences all over the world - even Australia - and tickets to international games at Twickenham were never a problem. But, I'd rather be in the cleaning business. When you are employed by a large company, you are always having to work to other people’s agendas. I wanted to control my own destiny and I have built this business to a size and level of profitability which will provide a comfortable income and a pension for me and my family.
What advice would you give to someone taking on their own Minster management franchise business?
Strong management is needed to get the best out of your staff and let them know what is expected of them. Interaction and co-operation between colleagues can be the making of a company and organised training together with regular team meetings and reviews helps to iron out weaknesses and build on strengths.
Getting new customers isn’t a problem here so, as long as you follow Minster's marketing plan and offer a good level of service, your business will grow. I have concentrated my efforts on putting a branch structure in place which will cope with almost any eventuality and be capable of developing with the business as it expands. And I am always on the look out for new talent to help strengthen the team and provide contingency cover.
The business has twice moved to larger premises to accommodate growth and I've been very successful in securing contracts from organisations where they have specialist cleaning knowledge. We have also been very successful at providing clients with extra services such as deep cleans, carpet cleaning, floor treatment and washroom supplies.
Mike parker, Manageing Director at Minster Franchise comments:
The quality of our franchisees has been key to the company’s success: We need people like Richard who have the drive to succeed in business for themselves and yet value the advantages that a network such as ours can provide. The size of Minster territories means that opportunities for growth are virtually unlimited. From the outset, franchisees will be employing staff which, within a number of years could easily be over 200 people.