Cleaning company joins our campaign to help local businesses bounce back from lockdown

June 19, 2020

A former Royal Marine Commando who has survived a brain tumour, a serious assault and business highs and lows has vowed not to allow coronavirus to halt his latest venture.

Ian North, from Barlaston, has gone through a lot in his 58 years, but has always come back fighting.

He has seen Zero Dry Time, the carpet and furniture cleaning business he runs alongside his wife Jayne, disrupted by the pandemic but has promised to start visiting customers again this month.

“Life has been eventful but through it all I have always been resilient and I won’t let a pandemic stop me growing Zero Dry Time,” said Ian.

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“The timing of the lockdown has not been kind, as we had spent 2019 building up work, following my recovery from a brain tumour.

“Zero Dry Time will be ready to emerge from lockdown in the next few weeks having ensured that we have taken all safety actions necessary to open up to customers again.

“Together with Jayne and my former Royal Marine friend and colleague Mervyn, I’ll be visiting homes and businesses again. We will be wearing PPE and taking full social-distancing precautions.”

Ian took on the Zero Dry Time franchise for Stoke-on-Trent South, Stafford and Uttoxeter in 2015 and built the business up so well that he was named Franchisee of the Year, before illness struck him hard.

He explained: “I suffered headaches dating back many years. I sustained a serious head injury while in the Marines and this led to my medical discharge from the service in 1983.

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“More than 30 years later, I went to hospital for a CT scan and a mass was found in my brain. This led to a series of operations where I had my skull cut away. The surgeon and staff at Royal Stoke were fantastic but my recovery inevitably took time and I had to take time away from work.

“Having taken on the franchise in 2015 and built up the business, I had to put everything on hold, only getting up and running again in 2019 thanks to Jayne and Mervyn taking some of the workload off my shoulders.”

lan’s first wife died of breast cancer and, after eventually finding happiness again with Jayne, she was also diagnosed with the disease, before fortunately pulling through.

He added: “I joined the Marines straight from school, aged 16, and was extremely proud to serve.

“Sadly, the head injury meant I had to rejoin civilian life seven years later and I returned to Stafford, eventually securing a role as a fireman at GEC.

“My wife’s cancer changed my life again and I had to leave work. I was devastated and also needed to be at home with my young family.”

Life took a new turn when Ian, a highly skilled silversmith, set up a new business making jewellery.

Related: Zero Dry Time Franchise

He made a great success of the business until cancer struck his family once again, and once again, Ian decided to put work on hold.

Following many months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Jayne pulled through and, seeking a new challenge, the couple took on a charity trek to Costa Rica, raising £50,000 for breast cancer care.

“Jayne was amazing, she had just nine months to get fit and ready for a 100-mile, gruelling trek, but she’s full of determination and was up to the challenge,” added Ian.

Returning to England, Ian and Jayne embarked on a new business venture, running a successful outdoor events business before deciding to take another career break following the extremely wet summer of 2014.

But Ian’s determination to work was still there and a visit to the Franchise Show led to a new career with Zero Dry Time.

He said: “I drew up a shortlist of franchise options and was most impressed with Zero Drive Time. I found the ethos of the owners to be fantastic and I could see they had built a franchise model that helped people make a successful career.

“It proved to be the right choice and over five years later, despite the trauma of major surgery, we have a blossoming business. Coronavirus has been a set-back as it hasn’t been possible to visit customers’ homes or offices since early March.

“Like most people, Jayne and I have stayed at home for the past 10 weeks, but we’re now raring to go again.

“I am a determined man and through amazing care at Royal Stoke, my devoted wife Jayne and the support of the Royal Marines Association, I beat my brain tumour, so I’m not allowing a pandemic to defeat me.

“We have bided our time as we didn’t want to jump straight back into work when the PM announced that lockdown would be eased.

“Our customers trust us to go into their homes and we see that as a privilege. We owe it to them to ensure safety is the number one priority once work resumes.”

The Sentinel and StokeonTrentLive have launched the #IAMOpen campaign to support local businesses left counting the cost of lockdown.

Source: Stoke-on-Trent Live

Horsham home cleaning firm gears up for a return to work

June 13, 2020

Home cleaning service Molly Maid is gearing up for a return to business in Horsham following the easing of lockdown.

Horsham franchise owner Hayley Emmett, who runs a team of 21 employees, said: “It feels great to be one of the first businesses getting back to work.

“The response from our customers has been phenomenal and our employees are glad to be back working.”

Although cleaning services provided in customers’ homes were never required to cease operating during the lockdown, Molly Maid decided it was the right thing to do to keep employees and customers safe.

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Hayley said: “It was a really tough decision to stop providing our home cleaning services – especially to our older and vulnerable customers. Most can’t properly clean their home themselves so it’s an issue of health and safety.

“But it is also about the health and safety of our employees”. She added: “If we couldn’t safely bring our employees back to work and safely provide our cleaning services to customers, then we would not be able to resume cleaning”.

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The company has introduced several changes as part of ‘HomeSafe’ procedures including daily health checks of their teams following NHS guidelines, implementing social distancing measures between teams, customers and within customers’ homes, along with the use of a sanitising cleaner.

Hayley added: “It’s important that local businesses like ours help our community get back on its feet.”

A message from the Editor, Gary Shipton:

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Related: Molly Maid Franchise

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By Sarah Page

Source: WS County Times

Ecocleen targets franchise network expansion

June 4, 2020

Ecocleen is creating a host of new franchise opportunities within the UK following a record year in 2019, which saw the company grow by over a third. As a result, Ecocleen has created seven new franchise territories across England and Wales, each with an established client base and operational infrastructure.

“Last year, we implemented a strategy to build-up our client base in areas without an existing franchisee, taking advantage of a rising number of business enquiries due to our growing brand and reputation,” said Jean-Henri Beukes, managing director of Ecocleen. “On the back of £2.5 million worth of new business across the network and the acquisition of Regency Cleaning Company, we now have a number of territories with a sizeable turnover that are ready for an entrepreneurial franchisee to step in and expand.”

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Ecocleen has created substantial turn-key regions for incoming franchisees that are designed to maximise growth potential and provide the opportunity to develop significant and robust client portfolios. The available areas currently include Bristol, Bath and South Wales; Tees Valley; The Midlands; Oxfordshire; Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire; North London; and South London.

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“Our aim is to attract quality franchisees, from the UK and internationally, who are high performing individuals with a business-minded attitude,” continued Beukes. “We are not necessarily looking for people from the cleaning or facilities management sector, but want people that have an appetite to learn, grow and work in an industry that offers growth potential and uncapped earning opportunity. In the current state of lockdown, there will no doubt be aspiring and budding entrepreneurs taking time to re-evaluate where they are and what they want to achieve in the future, so it is these ambitious individuals we want to engage with.”

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Source: Cleaning Mag

Telford oven cleaning business to donate 10 per cent of takings to Severn Hospice

May 29, 2020

Ovenu Franchise UK – A Shropshire-based businessman who has just reopened his oven valeting business will donate 10 per cent of his first three months’ takings to Severn Hospice.

Andrew Bowcott, 40, from Doseley, the owner of Ovenu Telford South, had been trading for just over three months when he was forced to temporally close his new business following the coronavirus outbreak.

He has now returned to work and is determined to support the independent charity which helps families across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales living with incurable illness.

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“Both my wife and I were widowed young, so we know what an important role hospices play in families and they need all the support they can get,” he said.

“I’ve been inspired by the many stories to emerge in recent months that highlight the dedication of health care workers and wanted to show my appreciation for a charity that supports many thousands of people every year.

“As a result, I’m donating 10 per cent of all my takings until August 31 to help contribute towards the hospice’s fundraising appeal.”

He decided to reopen the business on May 18, once the government guidance had been published to allow people to work inside people’s homes, and immediately received more than a dozen new bookings as well as with rebooked appointments that had been cancelled.

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Andrew is accepting bookings at his discretion, with the strict stipulation that both parties observe the two-metre social distancing rule, along with following guidelines on hygiene and cleanliness. Payment can be accepted electronically, and it is possible to complete the whole valeting process with minimal or zero customer contact.

He added: “I, along with many other tradespeople across the area, had to temporarily close my business – a very difficult thing to do when it is your livelihood.

“Since then, I’ve been preparing to reopen at the appropriate time with the correct measures in place. It feels great to get back to work but my priority is to keep myself and my customers safe.”

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Previously, Andrew spent more than 20 years as his own boss, with business interests including a seafront ice cream kiosk, a newsagents in Aberystwyth, and more recently a refrigerated transport company.

Rik Hellewell, founder and managing director of the Ovenu franchise, said: “Andrew has taken a very responsible approach to reopening his business and has clear guidelines in place which I hope will reassure his clients.”

The Ovenu valeting process involves dismantling key components of an oven and placing them into a design-registered tank, using non-caustic cleaning products.

By Rob Smith

Source: Shropshire Star

Filta Group sees 75% revenue jump for 2019

May 28, 2020

Commercial kitchen service group Filta Group Holdings (LON:FLTA) a reported FY19 revenue increase of 75% to £24.9m for the 12 months to 31 December 2019, up from £14.2m.

The group said the surge in revenue was largely driven by a £8.6m or 34% from a full 12 months contribution from environmental services firm, Watbio, which the company acquired in December 2018. Meanwhile, organic revenue growth for the period was 16%.

Adjusted EBITDA increased 20% to £3.2m reflecting the increased overheads from the full year spending impact of Watbio.

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Adjusted Profit before tax, excluding non-cash charges (amortization, depreciation and share based payments) therefore increased 7% to £2.6m from 2.4m in 2018.

Despite moving into a FY19 net debt position of £2.1m from a net cash position of £2.1m for FY18, the group said it remains ‘in a strong position’ and expects revenues and margins to return to the levels seen in the first quarter following the easing of the lockdown period.

Shares in Filta Group Holdings were trading 4.69% higher at 111.5p on Thursday morning.

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Jason Sayers, CEO of Filta Group said “ the acquisition of Watbio has established the group as a leading provider of grease management services in the UK with room for further growth.

“We also saw some good performances from our other company-owned businesses in the UK, where revenue grew by 18% and in North America, where revenue was up by 23%,” he said.

During the lockdown period and in response to requests, the group has launched a new sanitising service, FiltaShield, which can protect against Covid-19 for up to 30 days.

FiltaShield was launched in the UK in April as a direct service to the group’s existing customers and to any others which have to ensure safety for their staff and customers.

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The group said the service is being provided in North America through its franchise network and that it will potentially look to do the same in Europe.

The company added that it was not recommending the payment of a final dividend in light of the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19.

“Our long-term focus remains on growing the business both organically and through acquisitions of high margin, repeat revenue businesses in the grease management market,” added Sayers.

By Francesca Morgan

Source: Vox Markets

Ovenu founder Rik Hellewell urges Business Secretary to adopt Australian COVID-19 initiative to get tradespeople back to work

April 26, 2020

Rik Hellewell, the founder and managing director of oven valeting franchise Ovenu, has written to Business Secretary Alok Sharma urging him to examine an Australian initiative that is already helping tradespeople return to work responsibly and safely.

As part of a phased reduction to lockdown restrictions in the UK, he is calling on him to introduce an online training module to cover the fundamentals of COVID-19 infection prevention and control to help more small and medium-sized businesses make a gradual return to work.

However, he insists the initiative should support rather than replace the strict social distancing measures and be used in conjunction with government advice on avoiding the spread of infection.

The Australian government is allowing the owners of small and medium businesses to access an online training course which was designed for medical staff and those working in the healthcare sector.

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Having passed the course, tradespeople are able to display their certificate which encourages public confidence in their ability to remain safe while working.

In the letter, Mr Hellwell said: “The lockdown appears to be having its desired effect and it may be time to turn our thoughts to the gradual easing of restrictions.

“This initiative is an additional measure that would give people the necessary confidence to invite reliable, professional and certified tradespeople into their homes.

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“I urge you to recognise the value of this easily accessible training tool and ask you to support its introduction in this country. Encouraging more people back to work will surely mitigate the worst effects of the recession that surely awaits us.”

Ovenu operates more than 100 franchises across the UK, the majority of whom are owner operators, currently unable to earn a living and contribute to the nation’s economy – despite a demand for their oven cleaning services.

However, the company’s franchisees in Australia are already returning to work having completed and passed its government’s online COVID-19 training programme.

There, they are displaying their certificates on their vans as a way of highlighting to both the public and their clients that they are taking every measure possible to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

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Rik said: “Our franchisees in this country are prudent tradespeople who, prior to the lockdown, were already following social distancing measures as well as cleaning down equipment, work surfaces and their vans.

“I believe the introduction of a similar online training programme here would add a further layer of protection that could enable all tradespeople to return to work in a responsible and safe manner and resume delivering the services people require – in most cases with minimal or zero human contact.

“It may have to be phased in over a period of time or might initially apply to certain service sectors or client groups, but the government must think about the best way it can get more people back to work and begin to refuel our drained economy.”

Source: BDaily

Ecocleen expands franchise territories

April 24, 2020

Contract cleaning company Ecocleen is creating new franchise opportunities in the UK following a record year in 2019.

The business has created seven new franchise territories across England and Wales.

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The available areas currently include Bristol, Bath and South Wales; Tees Valley; The Midlands; Oxfordshire; Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire; North London; and South London.

Jean-Henri Beukes, Eecocleen managing director, said: “Last year, we implemented a strategy to build-up our client base in areas without an existing franchisee, taking advantage of a rising number of business enquires due to our growing brand and reputation.

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“On the back of £2.5m worth of new business across the network and the acquisition of Regency Cleaning Company, we now have a number of territories with a sizeable turnover that are ready for an entrepreneurial franchisee to step in and expand.”

The purchase of Henley-based Regency Cleaning Company added 130 new contracts and 500 staff to Ecocleen.

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By Storm Rannard

Source: Insider Media

Bright and Beautiful expands into Wilmslow

February 10, 2020

AFTER 10 years of running a successful and award-winning domestic cleaning franchise, Faye Roddy of Bright & Beautiful Altrincham has expanded further with the acquisition of Wilmslow, delivering more than 200 home cleans every month in and around Cheshire.

Faye has taken over the reins of the Wilmslow franchise and gained a team of 15 professional housekeepers, along with the development of a new customer service team, providing eco-friendly cleaning, tidying, laundry and ironing services.

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Faye said: “I am really excited to expand our services to Wilmslow. We are committed to creating more local employment opportunities and building on our existing experienced team.

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“I hope to grow this business to the same level of success that I have achieved with Altrincham and to help other local men and women earn a good salary and enjoy a great working environment.

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When you consider the demands of our busy society and hear the feedback from our existing clients you realise that help around the home with domestic cleaning is a necessity for lots of families.”

By Ian Ross

Source: Knutsford Guardian

Ovenu company in Wokingham wins ‘Rising Star’ category

January 18, 2020

Ovenu Franchise UK – AN OVEN cleaning company has been recognised as a ‘rising star’ for being an ‘outstanding’ franchise in the UK.

Ovenu in Wokingham was founded by Rik Hellewell in 1994 and has since gone on to attract and recruit hundreds of successful franchisees throughout the country.

The valeting specialists has been named as a ‘Rising Star’ in the UK’s franchise sector by industry bible Elite Franchise.

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As well as being awarded the accolade, Ovenu increased its standing in the publications Top 100 Franchises in 52nd place.

Rik said: “To improve on last year’s standing and be named a Rising Star of the industry is a real accomplishment and an acknowledgement of the many years of hard work that has gone into making this a leading brand with more than 100,000 satisfied customers every year.

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“There are more than 1,300 franchises operating in the UK, so to even make it into Elite Franchise’s Top 100 is a huge achievement, especially considering some of the household names we are up against.”

A panel of expert judges recognised the Wokingham based company for providing customers a good service with support and outstanding knowledge.

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Andrew Brattesani, HSBC head of UK franchising, described Ovenu and said: “What differentiates Ovenu from the many similar companies in the sector is the outstanding knowledge, help, support and practical guidance on offer to franchisees through every stage of their business development.

By Isabella Perrin

Source: Bracknell News

Poppies buyout sees a franchisee at the helm

December 23, 2019

Poppies have announced that Chris Wootton (right), its long-standing franchisee for West Lancashire, has become the franchisor of the cleaning company, following a buyout.

Wootton said that it had been a dream of his for over a decade to buy the company. He explains: “I worked closely with our founder, Sue Rorstad, for many years. She was my franchisor, my mentor and, later, my great friend until her untimely death in 2015.


“With the support and blessing of her family, I’m incredibly proud to be able to give Poppies a new lease of life. This is a highly respected and extremely successful brand. I’m determined to put the franchise back on the map where it belongs.”

Wootton, who bought his Poppies franchise in 1996, brings over 23 years’ knowledge and experience to his new role as a franchisor. He will retain ownership of his franchise territory, which he sees as a distinct USP for the brand and an ongoing benefit for both his fellow franchisees and the next generation of Poppies franchisees.

“I’ve seen first-hand what works and what doesn’t, and I’ve been able to use my experience to fill the gaps that I saw as a franchisee. In actual fact, the last 12 months have been spent developing the brand ready for its next phase of life. The goal wasn’t to instantly recruit franchisees but rather to invest in the business and create the best possible environment for all franchisees to succeed,” explained Wootton.

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Since his takeover, Wootton said that fellow franchisees have helped to bring the business to life and together they have developed innovative business systems, a customised technology platform and support infrastructure to benefit new franchisees.

‘Double the size of the network’

Wootton continued: “My aim is to double the size of the network in the next four years; welcoming new franchisees from all walks of life, each with their own individual aspirations, into the business. Poppies is a truly homegrown business, designed and built in the UK. I’m excited to be the one who is introducing it back to the market.”

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The first Poppies franchise was launched in 1984 and currently it has a network of 22 franchisees. The company says it cleans more than 6,000 homes a week across the UK and has a turnover of over £5m.

The company adds that franchisees have the opportunity to build a flexible business as it supports both a lifestyle, single territory or multi-territory franchisees.

Source: Franchise World