Interview

Irish cleaning guru William Little, founder of Cleaning Doctor and The Clean Team, impresses Gordon Patterson with his 50 franchise outlets

Q:When did you first commence Cleaning Doctor and when did you launch the franchise?
A:With a background of 13 years' experience operating a cleaning and supply business in County Fermanagh, I launched Cleaning Doctor in June 1998. I now have 50 outlets, of which 33 are in Ireland.

Q:What do you see as the main distinctive features of the Cleaning Doctor service?
A:Every one of our franchisees offers their customers a 100 per cent risk-free, money-back guarantee on every job. This really attracts customers. Every franchise outlet is promoted as a business, which is owned and operated by a dedicated franchisee that is up front with his or her identity. Although the brand is a very powerful marketing tool, people buy from people.

Q:You have introduced additional concepts in addition to carpet and upholstery cleaning. What are they and why did you introduce them?
A:We are a customer focused business and it was demand from our clients that inspired our expansion into three additional areas: floor restoration and contract cleaning services, external cleaning and maintenance services, and The Clean Team home cleaning services. Our industry has massive potential, with domestic and commercial clients seeking quality services. With our diversification into other sections of the cleaning industry, we have most angles covered, and we have an even better choice for potential franchisees.

Q:What kind of franchise package do you provide to franchisees?
A:We provide a fully operational turnkey business that includes training, marketing, equipment and support, in one of our four distinct but complimentary franchise options in each territory.

Q:What are the essential ongoing support services that you provide as the franchisor?
A:As we are at the 'coal face' every day, we fully understand the industry, the needs of clients and the requirements of our franchisees. In addition to the supply of machines, equipment and products, we provide a full technical and marketing support system for our franchise network.

Q:What geographical spread does your network have in Ireland to date?
A:Our carpet and upholstery cleaning network is the strongest, but we have several counties not yet serviced and we urgently need new recruits in the Dublin area. We have franchise vacancies in all counties except Fermanagh, which, being our home county, is fully covered.

Q:You have recently had a national conference. What were the highlights and how useful did you think it was?
A:This was an awesome weekend. The craic was mighty. We brought together our franchisees and their partners, from Ireland, England, Scotland and the Isle of Man, for a weekend of sharing and fun in County Fermanagh. Many success stories and ideas were exchanged and the network grew stronger because of the contributions of guest speakers and the bondings achieved.

Q:What is it that makes a franchisee top performing in terms of business revenue and profitability?
A:The drive of the individual is the key. We supply top-of-the-range equipment and finely-tuned killer marketing programmes, but the franchisees that fully implement these and milk their local markets are the real winners. There are big rewards, but the systems have to be followed and put into practice.

Q:What are your key target geographical areas for the establishment of new franchises?
A:Everywhere is a target - we have franchise vacancies in one or more of our four options in every city and county in Ireland, and in Great Britain where we are also building our network.

Q:What is your vision for the future?
A:My vision is to build and support the Cleaning Doctor and The Clean Team networks to the point where we are the preferred supplier of specialist cleaning services in every town, city and county in Ireland and Great Britain. To achieve this I need fired-up individuals who have a burning desire to run their own businesses and are prepared to follow proven systems that have been so successful for my existing franchisees.

Don't leave the Success of Your Franchise to chance.

Why choose FDS?
Since 1981, Franchise Development Services (FDS) has been assisting UK and international franchisors in the development of their franchise networks and has built a reputation as one of the world's leading franchise consultancy groups. FDS Southern England and Ireland Consultants Gordon Patterson and Gary Rigby have a combined experience in franchising of over 35 years. Gordon has consulted for businesses based in Ireland for some 20 years and helped Irish companies to expand their operations successfully through franchising. He is currently actively involved with companies in both Northern and Southern Ireland. Gary was a member of the senior management team with a major national franchise brand for some 15 years. In this capacity he was involved in all aspects of implementing the franchise development programme.

How can FDS help? We will advise you, and provide full practical assistance, to help you realise the goal of establishing and maintaining a successful franchise network - from conception through development, to implementation.

At the conception stage we can conduct a complete evaluation analysis resulting in a set of recommendations outlining a Franchise Development Programme suited to your business concept. During the development stage we will work with you to put in place the necessary infrastructure requirements, attending to all areas critical to success, before starting the recruitment of the franchisee network. Finally, when the franchise is ready for implementation we are well equipped to help you identify the most cost-effective strategy to generate a good flow of prospective franchisees and to develop a strong network.