Time For You

“You can’t go wrong” with a Time For You Franchise

Chris and Jenny Thompson from Milton Keynes, set up a Time For You franchise in October 2015. Since then they’ve seen their lives change dramatically for the better and seen their business grow to nearly 100 clients in it’s first year. Here’s Chris and Jenny’s story…

Chris and Jenny Thompson from Milton Keynes, set up a Time For You franchise in October 2015. Since then they’ve seen their lives change dramatically for the better and seen their business grow to nearly 100 clients in it’s first year. Here’s Chris and Jenny’s story…

“A dramatic change in career”

Chris and Jenny had no experience of running a business and had both been in employment for the last 9 years, as managers in a secure training centre for children in Milton Keynes. “We are both 29 and that had been what we’d been doing for the majority of our working lives, so it’s a dramatic change in career,” said Chris.

The couple have two children under the age of three. They were looking to start their own business to obtain a better work life balance that allowed them to not only generate a healthy and stable income, but also enable them to spend more time with the children. “We were working a lot of hours” said Jenny, “and thought that if we were going to work that hard and for that long, every week, we would rather be doing it for our own business.”
“We just thought that if we were going to put that much time and effort into doing something then we should line own pockets rather than someone else’s!” Chris added.

“We spoke to other franchisees and heard about the work life balance and earnings potential.”

Chris spent hours researching many different franchise opportunities, searching for the right business the couple could build together. He was looking for something that would give them a comfortable living, a safe financial future and also the flexibility to be present as their children grow up, but few franchises seemed to all these boxes. Until he came across Time For You.

Chris explained, “I’d always been looking at franchises as a place to start. We didn’t really have any background in business and a franchise looked a safer bet than starting our own business from scratch. I’d been looking around for a long time but nothing really caught my eye. Whilst researching on a franchise website I saw Time For You and noticed that there was a franchise area available close to us. My dad and his wife actually run a Time For You franchise and have been doing it for about five or six years now. Even though they had been running the franchise for a long time, we had never really considered starting our own Time For You business, so we asked them some questions about it. Knowing someone who has a Time For You franchise and is doing well from it is very reassuraing. We also spoke to other franchisees and heard about the work life balance and earnings potential. We really liked what they all had to say and took it from there.”

“We had a lot of support from head office right from the start”

Chris and Jenny approached Time For You and arranged to meet with founders Freddie and Ruth Rayner. After a very positive meeting they decided that Time For You was definitely for them and set about joining the company’s franchise scheme. Chris and Jenny funded the franchise by using some money they set aside from selling their house. This enabled them to pay for the franchise rights outright.

They were then fully trained on everything they would ever need to know about running a Time For You.

Jenny explained, “Before we even got to the training, Time For You sent us a market research project to undertake so we were fully prepared. The aim of this was to find out how we should run our area and how much we should charge. We drove around the far reaches of our area and couldn’t believe quite how big it was! We did some mystery shopping and some competitor analysis to get as much information as possible. We uncovered things from the research we hadn’t even considered. Time For You also sent us an operations manual which gave us the opportunity to get a thorough understanding of the business model.”

Chris continued, “The two-day training session was very thorough and was specific to us. It was all about how we could make the most of our particular business area. It covered how to run your business, marketing, terms and conditions, how to find clients and how to find cleaners. It covered everything we would need. We had a lot of support from head office right from the start. Freddie, Ruth and Sam (Commercial Director) were all there. Ruth and Freddie shared their own experiences and Sam, who also runs a Time For You franchise, shared everything he’s learnt too. The training was really good and we felt that it set us up well to get started.”

Chris and Jenny were then invited to a follow up session three months later. It was organised to make sure everything was going well with the business and that they were on track with their targets. Chris added, “It helped us polish around the edges and make sure we were on the right path.”

“We have 91 clients already and are only nine away from our target of 100”

The couple have built the business gradually, alongside their employed work and Chris has recently taken the step of leaving his job to concentrate on the business full time. Jenny is still working part time but will follow suit in the next few months as the business grows.

“We have 91 clients already and are only nine away from our target of 100,” Jenny beamed. “We are really happy. It was our goal to get 100 by the annual Time For You AGM in November as we get an award for hitting the target. We will definitely go past that. We are well on track to break even on our investment.”

There has been a lot of hard work to achieve this fantastic milestone. Managing the business alongside raising a family and working full time has sometimes been stressful, Chris admitted. “But you don’t mind the stress as you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. You know what you’re working towards. You have the pressure of it being your own business. The buck stops with you if it’s not successful.”

That said, the couple have a fantastic support network through Time For You, that has always been there to help when they need it. “We get great support from Ruth, Freddie and Sam. They’ve always been around the few times we have contacted them for advice. We always get a response. We know we have a level of support which we wouldn’t don’t get from other franchises and we were not expecting that, to be honest. We thought that once we signed up we’d pay them the money every month and very rarely hear from them. We definitely feel their presence around the business through emails, newsletters and phone calls. They are really friendly and approachable. They always say, “if you need anything just give us a call” and we know that they genuinely mean that.”

They also speak with other franchisees on a daily basis through the Time For You Facebook hub. Sam and Freddie share their advice on the hub regularly and Jenny explained that it’s a brilliant tool for keeping in touch, sharing advice or asking questions. “Almost every day someone is sharing tips and advice and everyone helps each other. We’re all doing the same thing and want each other to do well. Freddie and Ruth also run an annual AGM which is a really nice event. We managed to get to our first one last year just after we signed up. We met a lot of people there which was really good. We’re looking forward to going back this year to share how we’ve done and speak to newcomers.”

How did they grow the business?

Chris revealed that they obtain new clients from a variety of sources. “We get business from the internet but we also use leafleting and magazines. Some people don’t use the internet so you have to use different methods to reach different people. We probably get most business through Google. Time for you set us up with a free trial with a company as part of the franchise agreement. They manage our website and our Google advertising. When your trial ends you can take it on yourself or leave it with them. It’s not our strong point so we would rather leave it to the professionals as we get good results from it. Some franchisees do it themselves, it comes down to what people are willing to pay for or do themselves.”

A day in the life of a Time For You franchisee

Jenny explained that every day is busy but varied. “We check emails, take phone calls, set appointments with clients and look after marketing. We advertise online on Facebook, Indeed, on Google and put adverts up around the local area. We run telephone interviews with cleaners and run checks on them. We match clients with cleaners and make courtesy calls to make sure everything is running smoothly. There’s lots of admin too such as adding new clients and cleaners to the database and getting quotes for leafleting to our local areas and other marketing activities.”

Chris added: “We don’t have to worry about getting paid. When we take on a new client they pay in advance for a 13-week agreement. They then pay quarterly in advance, so there is never a worry about cash flow. We don’t have to worry about invoicing and there is very little paper work. It’s very straight forward.”

“It’s not a short term thing, it’s what we see as our long term financial future”

Chris and Jenny are aiming for between 300 and 400 clients on their books. “We are very happy with hitting our target of 100 clients in our first year,” Chris made clear, “but we want to grow the business year on year by 100 to 150 new clients. We’ve both left very secure jobs to run Time For You. It’s not a short term thing, it’s what we see as our long term financial future. This number of clients will give us a salary that will do us very nicely and set us up well for the future. It will also give us the freedom to enjoy life away from the business.”

What has been their biggest learning curve?

Chris admitted that like every business owner, they’ve made the odd mistake but that they’ve learned a lot over the last year. “The area we’re learning the most is around the cleaners. If you get the right cleaners this business is easy. There’s lots of cleaners who can talk the talk but not many who can walk the walk. Getting the clients is easy, it’s getting the right cleaners that takes more work.”

Chris and Jenny have changed the way they work and are now constantly reviewing cleaners to make sure they have the best in the area. They’ve improved the way they study application forms, review CVs, run interviews, do background checks and follow up on references. “We interview as much as possible even if we are not in need of cleaners so we’ve always got some available as the business grows,” said Jenny, “we’re constantly thinking of how we can do things better so that next year we can concentrate on the things that work best.”

“You’re much more likely to succeed going in as a franchisee than going it alone”

Chris revealed that they “wouldn’t have had a clue where to start”, if they chose to set up their own business from scratch. “We had no business experience. With a Time For You franchise you get given all the training, advice and support needed to point you in the right direction. You get a website and everything you could possibly need to start the business, plus you get the support of other franchisees who’ve walked the same path that you’re taking. You’ve got excellent support from head office with all their years of experience. You’ve got a real safety net around you. You’re much more likely to succeed going in as a franchisee than going it alone. There’s a lot less risk involved.”

Running the business is much less stressful than Chris’ previous employment. “I had a very high stress job with a lot of hours. Now, occasionally I will do more hours, but it’s when I want, because I want to grow the business for me, Jenny and the kids, not because someone is telling me I have to do 70 hours a week. It’s given me a lot more flexibility and a lot more time with the kids as well.”

Jenny added, “When I join the business full time in a few months I will never miss a school sports day and I will be able to pick up the kids from school because I can manage work around it. I will have that flexibility.”

“We really enjoy running the business,” said Jenny, “and we are so excited that we are going to achieve our target very soon. We build up a really good rapport with both the cleaners and clients and when we make a good match between them there is such real job satisfaction. You get a real buzz from it.”

What is your advice to someone considering a Time For You franchise?
“I would say go for it”, Chris enthused, “it’s well worth the investment and the work life balance is great. Listen to the advice you’re given by Freddie, Ruth and Sam. If you follow the operations manual by the book and stick to the terms and conditions, you can’t go wrong.”

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In Summary:

Join the fastest growing franchise in the UK! Time For You have 221 franchised areas nationwide and are looking for franchisees interested in running a management business. Work from home with full support from head office!
In the UK.
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