A former accountant and hedge fund executive in corporate London, Niall Power traded in his career for self-employment with a MyHome franchise. For those looking to start their own business in a completely new sector, his story story may offer some inspiration.
Power began running his domestic cleaning business, with research and development investment of £5m, based on a concept originally devised by Unilever – which developed unique systems and products for unparalleled cleaning quality.
After starting with just a vision and a single van, he’s grown to employ 35 cleaners, enjoying all the flexibility he needs away from his work. Here’s how he did it.
(1) Tell me about your business?
Established for over eight years and with over 150,000 cleans completed, MyHome Islington provides a premium cleaning service to the north London area. All our staff are full-time, fully insured and uniformed so our clients can rest assured that their homes will be properly cared for from the moment our team arrives to when they re-set their alarm, lock up and leave.
We started with two cleaners and one van, and believe it is our customer service approach and consistency of service that’s seen our business grow to over 35 cleaners and 15 vans on the road today.
We set out to exceed our clients’ high expectations each and every time. We achieve this by carefully sourcing highly motivated staff who want to excel at their jobs, we then properly train them in our exclusive “Tri-Colour” cleaning system and equip them with only the best products and tools to enable them to deliver a consistent high level of service.
(2) What were you doing previously and what made you want to become self-employed?
I am a qualified accountant and previously worked within the hedge fund sector in Canary Wharf. I always wanted to own and run my own business so when the opportunity arose I took it.
Being self-employed can offer more in the way of flexibility, responsibility and authority to go in the direction that I believed was best. I think that a successful business is one that treats its workers fairly and one that meets its customers’ expectations consistently.
(3) Why franchising, and why MyHome in particular?
In my previous career, “hedging my bets” so to speak, was commonplace, and when starting a business franchising gives you the highest chance of success.
The MyHome brand has always been an aspirational one, one that was based on quality and consistency, and one that I felt would resonate with our target market.
(4) Was it daunting starting your own venture?
In a word: yes. It was a little nerve-wracking for the first couple of years but we could see that the business turnover, number of clients and profits were always moving in the right direction so we knew that it would get there, it was only ever a matter of time.
(5) Have you been able to scale up the business?
Yes, the business model is based on scaling up in blocks built around teams of cleaners and a van – we now have 35 staff and 15 vans on the road.
(6) Domestic cleaning may not at first glance seem like a natural fit for someone with your background. How did you find the transition? Were transferrable skills important?
Like most service industry businesses, the end “product” is almost superfluous in that the day-to-day running of the business should be transferable from one business to another. So yes, there are many skills which one can bring that will help. The two most important are organisation and interpersonal skills, which most people would have in varying levels.
(7) Has your decision to start a franchise changed your life?
Certainly, we now have a business model which turns over £1m per year and generates over £200,000 in profit – this gives us more options than we may have otherwise had.
(8) Can you give your top tips to anyone considering starting a franchise?
The most important is not to do it if you can afford to fail. By that I mean that there will be difficult times ahead and you will need that clarity of position where failure is not an option.
When assessing your progress, take a step back and try to look longer term – you will obviously have good and bad weeks, but each quarter should show real progress in terms of numbers.
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