Franchising My Window Cleaner – A Case Study
My Window Cleaner are not your average window cleaning company, by using impressive technology to drive the business, they are streets ahead. We spoke with their Franchise Director, Ian Bradley, about their journey and experience of franchising My Window Cleaner.
Interview with Ian Bradley, Franchise Director
26 years ago in 1996
1st pilot franchisees began in 2018
20 franchises by March 2022
What they do:
My Window Cleaner combines superb customer experience with world-class technology to deliver professional window cleaning, gutter cleaning and jet washing services.
Why they’re great:
They won the “Best Emerging Franchise” in the UK in 2020 via the HSBC / BFA Awards.
By putting technology, marketing, branding and customer service at the heart of the offering they really do stand out from the competition.
Q&A with Ian Bradley:
Why was the business franchised?
Karen grew a fantastic core business to over 5,000 customers in domestic and commercial properties but decided that she didn’t want that to get any bigger, and she realised that she had great technology, a fantastic brand and 20+ years of experience on how to grow a window cleaning business. So going with a franchise model was the way to go. A franchisee who owns their own business will have the passion to be able to deliver great customer service.
How is technology used to give the franchisees an advantage?
“We’ve invested £500,000 in developing “Gloria” – this is our bespoke IT system. The important thing about Gloria is that she uses artificial intelligence to communicate with thousands of our customers every day, to send bespoke messages to individual customers. This is a fantastic time saving process for the franchise owners, for example automated billing via email on completion of a job. It allows the franchisee to concentrate on providing a great service and growing their business”.
What’s been the biggest challenge in developing the franchise?
The last 2 years of the pandemic have been challenging, but thankfully we’ve been able to carry on with our business. We change our marketing very quickly and adapting our systems and processes, and as Winston Churchill famously once said, “never let a good crisis go to waste”.
What do you look for in a franchisee?
“We are not looking for window cleaners, but those with a mindset of a business owner and can follow our proven model. We’re setting the bar very high as we are taking a long-term outlook at it”.
What does the future look like?
“There are around 450 viable territories, we want steady growth with franchise partners who’ve got an outlook, a mindset similar to us. 8 to 10 franchise partners a year, it’s about the quality of person we want to work with”.
What’s it like being a franchisor?
“Our motivation is setting people up in business and trying to make them as successful as we can – that’s hugely rewarding. That process starts right at the beginning, an open and honest approach is very important. It’s hugely gratifying watching people grow their businesses. We are a family, and we are delighted to be that holding hand and celebrate successes as they come along”.
What’s your best tip for other “would be” franchisors?
“Homework and blinkers. You can’t go into franchising without knowing how the whole industry works and what’s completely involved. Take advice from lots of different people, meet the BFA, attend the BFA pre-franchisor courses, appoint a consultant, have big pockets and do your homework on what the model actually needs to be, and the finances are really important. Then you need to be patient, run a pilot for a year plus to prove it’s a proven model. Then “blinkers”: it’s hard to run a core business and then set up a franchise at the same time. You’ve really got to try to separate the two or put the blinkers on. Be committed, have the resources and be patient”.
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