Small business franchise opportunities are a great way to start a business, and this is exactly what I had done. Today my first contract had been awarded to me Yippee! After a week and a half of in house training I was finally given my first cleaning contract. It had to be serviced 363 days of the year with the exception of Christmas Day and New Years day, and I was ecstatic.
I needed to employ 3 people for the contract to be managed properly and had to also purchase extra cleaning equipment which was going to cost me a total of £3000 pound extra, something that was unexpected and that I was not too pleased about.
My working hours were MUCH shorter than expected as the work had to be carried out before customers started their shopping since it was for a retail outlet. I was quite happy initially with my cleaning franchise but didn't particularly like the smell of the chemicals or the dust that made me sneeze frequently, nevertheless
I thought this has long-term potential especially as my cleaning portfolio was going to expand by attracting new contracts through my own efforts and that of the Franchiser.
As I had to pay out extra for equipment and employees wages in advance, my cash flow was low so I had to take additional employment to cover the wages of my workers and my living expenses. The contract was paying me but up to six weeks in arrears so I had to make up for the short fall until the payment went though.
The people that were employed were very good and I was lucky with my choices of workers. They were my main expense and can also be your main pain if you’re not lucky. Since finding loyal, hardworking people are hard to find.
A Few Quick Tips Below - How to Choose and Retain Workers
As a thank you I gave my workers a Christmas bonus and a birthday card each year with some money inside. It wasn't anything too extravagant but it made them feel extremely happy and since the workers were the ones helping me build my business for the long term it was the worth it
A high turnover of employees shows that you don't have their best interest at heart and it's very time consuming having to interview, train, develop and then supervise new people until they are competent doing the job. It’s far better to try and retain the good workers that you have already so you can focus on building your business.
My small business franchise opportunities was going great but still I needed more contracts and at the start of receiving my first contract I was encouraged to seek out other potential business to help build my portfolio.
So any business I thought could use my services I made a note of their details and when twenty plus leads was reached the information was faxed to head office. When the information was received someone from sales would make calls and chase up my leads.
I was doing this on a regular basis and since a year had now passed I was expecting some kind of response. But to my surprise nothing from the calls and no extra contracts from the Franchisor, not even any updates from the many leads that I had been sending through to them.
This was my one and only contract from the franchiser, nothing else had materialised and to make matters worse I received a letter from the franchiser saying that my existing contract was going to be taken away from me. Later I learned that all the franchisees who had been servicing the same national contract as me but in different locations were also going to share the same fate.
Why! Because the main clients didn't want the work sub contracted out to us the franchisees anymore. They wanted the contracts serviced solely by the franchiser themselves. Nice for them and very bad for us. I was going to lose my only contract and my only source of income and there was absolutely nothing that we the Franchisees could do about it
This knocked the stuffing out of me and a few other franchisees that were known to me, we could not do anything and were left without any contract to service, which was not a very nice feeling.
The Franchiser was not very helpful or sympathetic at all and the directors became evasive at taking my calls. No one was bothered to call you back even if you did leave a message.
It doesn't take an expert to read the signs so I decided to try and retrieve as much money back as I could from my small business franchise. I knew that it was going to be difficult to get all the money which I invested back, but I was still going to try. In the end I managed to get some of my franchise fee refunded after a lot of noise and persistence.
Guess what else I found out? Remember at the beginning when I asked for the other franchises phone numbers to talk to. Well I was just given the numbers of the successful ones.The franchisees whose small business franchise opportunities were doing well and not the most recent franchisees, that were still waiting for their contract EVEN after paying nearly £10.000 for them.
My personal experience with this particular small business franchise in commercial cleaning was unfortunate, but generally small business franchise opportunities are many and it's still one of the best and safest ways to start a successful business.
The best advice I can give you is to speak to other newly started franchisees (3-4 months) as well as the more established ones. Let me stress that in my case it was not as easy to find other franchisees. So you’ll have to do your due diligence.
In other words is if you are starting a food franchise for instance, you can easily verify the status of the business and ask the franchisee questions directly before you even meet the Franchisor. This will ensure that you have the best chance of finding out firsthand about all the pitfalls of your chosen franchise opportunity.
Good Luck! And I sincerely hope that this experience has helped you and given you something to think about. If you have any questions or further advice please contact me