1. My professional experience led me there
My background is in hotel hospitality and events management: I worked as Conference and Banqueting Manager in Ardoe House Hotel for eight years, then at the Hilton Treetops Aberdeen and the Holiday Inn Westhill. I was also operations manager for Aberdeen Science Centre for over nine years, which I absolutely loved.
I bumped into Andrew Alleway at a business networking event and the company I was working at, at the time, were looking for a new commercial cleaning company. Andrew completed a review, delivered a training event for our staff and also provided a deep clean service for us, and I was rather struck, even then, by how different his approach to commercial cleaning was.
I had always wanted to have my own business and began looking at franchising operations across the board - Dominos, Costa, other coffee houses; but none of those models struck me as attractive.
I discovered Tidy Green Clean, and looked at the business model, the ROI, the support and everything seemed to tick all the right boxes for me. I am good with people and can manage a business operationally, so I applied, not having made the connection that it was Andrew’s business.
2. It was an opportunity to change our lifestyle and invest in our future
Andrew and I had a coffee and spoke about the local franchise opportunities he offers; which would have seen me become a cleaner, managing my own contract. It would have increased my income, but it wasn’t quite where I saw myself. I also wanted to have a business that I could pass on, that would have something of a legacy about it.
I realised I wanted something more, something that was more family orientated and something that could leave us in a financial position where we would be far more comfortable when we came to retire. I wanted to build some value for our future, to sustain us all. My wife Kelly was working full time in the Oil & Gas industry and was also thinking about a change.
It sounds funny but the real big push was my son choosing his options at school. I told him that I wanted to be a pilot, and when he asked me why I didn’t do that, and I said that my maths wasn’t strong enough. He then said, well why don’t you start that business you keep talking about with mum?
I went back and spoke with Andrew about becoming a Master Franchisee instead of a Local Franchisee. We discussed the investment we’d need, put it together, created a three-year business plan and off we went. We’re two years into that plan now, and far ahead of where we expected to be. Kelly joined me at the end of Year 1 and works five days a week 9.30 – 2.30. It’s totally changed our lives and I get to see my wife every day which is great. We’re in it together and we work hard together too.
3. Franchising has given us the best of both worlds
Working with Tidy Green Clean has given me a tried and tested model, someone to guide me, in order that I can just get on with the day-to-day running of the business without worrying about supplies, equipment or time management systems.
Andrew offered to guarantee my salary until my franchise business could generate the same to let me be self-sufficient. Andrew’s faith in his business model speaks volumes and it only took six months before I didn’t need a salary. My own business plan had been far more cautious, and I anticipated that would have taken two years to get where I wanted to be. Tidy Green Clean is a great business to be part of and when you deliver a good service, as we do, then we have found clients keen to work with us, which has helped it all fall into place.
At the same time, I am my own boss, with my own postcodes to look after, staff to take care of and the thrill of growing that business and sustaining it.
4. Tidy Green Clean’s standards and ethics make good business sense
Andrew, and David Moncur, TGC’s Operations Director are always there for support and assistance as required. On some of the larger contracts we have bid for, Andrew has joined me for the pitch, and provided invaluable advice and insight on how to put together the most attractive quote.
Our reputation has snowballed us into a position where we’re getting known for good quality cleaning services. This is a relationships business as much as anything else and I make sure that I build positive connections with my clients, to make sure they know they can come to me if they ever have any issues.
We bring positive relationships, ISO accreditations and environmental credentials, which help get us through the door but the biggest reason we’re successful is because we train and look after our staff properly. We often have staff TUPED over. Here the training is really important to getting staff on board with the TGC mindset. We pay our cleaners well and we induct them properly. We give them good supervision so that they know what’s expected of them and what the client requires, and this approach means that without exception, all our staff enjoy their work.
5. Tidy Green Clean has given me career progression and a future
Two years in, becoming a Master Franchisee with Tidy Green Clean has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Tidy Green Clean South is looking to have its first Local Franchisee within the next six months and I am also bringing in a supervisor to help oversee the client sites that we look after, in order to free me up to help drive more sales over the next 6-12 months. We have a thriving business with plans to grow and a few other plans up our sleeves for the next three to five years so that we can have the retirement we deserve.