Mike Parker, MD, Minster Cleaning Services Interview

Manage your own contract cleaning business with the UK's biggest commercial cleaning franchise, Minster Cleaning.

Minster Cleaning

In the UK
  Business Type:
  Minimum Investment:
  Training Provided:
  Part time:
  BFA Membership:
Member - Full

I came to Minster more than a decade ago from HSBC, where I worked in the bank’s strategic development unit.

Minster Cleaning Services

The business acumen and people management skills I gained have really helped in my role here as managing director.

As well as being heavily involved in the recruitment of franchisees, I’m focused on delivering them high quality support and, in the longer term, developing the range of support we provide. At the moment we’re rolling out and refining a new customer relationship management (CRM) system which will enable our franchisees to become more effective and efficient.

How long has the brand been franchising for, and how many franchise units do you have?

The business started in 1982 and we began franchising ten years later. We now have 44 franchises with a total turnover of £40million. We’re in a mature sector but still grew by 5.1% last year, which outperformed the wider economy. We could probably grow much faster but our emphasis is on creating quality relationships rather than short term boosts to revenue.

Please explain what the company is, what it does and where it started…

We’re a commercial cleaning franchise, so we provide cleaning services to offices, schools, doctors, dentists, car showrooms, to mention a few, rather than domestic homes. We’ve been cleaning since the early 80s so we really know what we’re doing and pride ourselves on our quality of service. Above all we’re reliable, consistent and professional, which is crucial in this business. When a building has to be cleaned at a certain time you need to be confident your cleaners will turn up and do the job.

We’re also prepared to go the extra mile. We’ve been very successful in the GP market because we’ve provided cleaners with the infection control training necessary to work in medical environments.

Of course what really makes us are our franchisees and cleaners. One of our strengths is the quality of franchisee we recruit – we’re looking for people with the right skills who want a long-term relationship and will, in turn, develop a team of loyal cleaners. It’s really a meeting of minds and when it works, it really works for everyone. Which is probably why franchises usually only come up for sale when someone retires.

You have been nominated for Franchisor of the Year. What was it about your application that you think stood out for the panel in order to get to the final stages?

I’d like to think the judges recognised us as an established and trustworthy brand with a healthy and growing turnover. Our recruitment process and the quality of franchisees, mentioned above, is also an important factor, as is the ongoing support we provide franchisees which we’re continuing to broaden and deepen.

What are the future aspirations for the company?

We’re always looking for new territories and there are some areas with really great potential that we’ve yet to move into such as Cambridge and Durham. We’re also on the lookout for other business-to -business franchising opportunities, because we think our skills are very transferable.

What would winning the award mean to you and the company?

It would be fantastic recognition of our great brand and a validation of our successful approach to franchising. Not to mention a deserved pat on the back for all our franchisees and cleaners.

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