After 30 years working in various roles in the service industry, Caroline Spiller found herself wanting to spend more time with her family but also keen to get back to her passion of working in a B2B environment. She found the perfect solution with a Betterclean Services commercial cleaning franchise. Caroline took over the Exeter and Taunton territory in 2016 and is enjoying running her franchise as much as when she first took over, if not more than ever. So much so that preparations are in place for her to renew her franchise agreement as she reaches five years as a franchise owner.
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More freedom than I ever thought possible
“I spent three decades in the service industry in one form or another. I started out working in Hong Kong in sports marketing and then for an airline, both exciting roles which allowed me to travel. I then lived in Chicago, followed by London and worked for a marketing agency where I specialised in airline clients. I was there for around 10 years and worked extensively in the US and throughout Europe.
“My husband, Simon, and I then moved to Bath with our young daughter and I worked at the city’s university as the administrator for one of their business courses. After a couple of years, we moved back to our home county of Devon where we began working together, running a small visitor attraction - a historic working water mill with a café, restaurant, artisan bakery, food shop, art gallery and a music venue. It was challenging, but very enjoyable too. It was a venture that was integrally linked to the local countryside, environment and economy which was incredibly rewarding.”
After selling this business, Caroline and Simon were keen to embark on their own individual business ventures and diversify into different sectors. Simon already ran a successful online coffee business and had decided to move into the care industry. Meanwhile, Caroline began researching her own business opportunity.
“When I discovered Betterclean Services Exeter and Taunton advertised as an existing territory for sale, I really liked the sound of it. The benefits of operating within a franchise and having a support network sounded brilliant. Although I wanted a change, I wasn’t keen on the idea of running a business completely on my own. As a Betterclean Services franchise owner, you have colleagues, and the business structure is already set up. That was all very appealing to me.
“I wanted to stay within the service industry because that is what I know but having spent eight years working directly with customers and the public, I wanted to get back to a B2B environment. Betterclean Services’ ethos felt like a natural extension of the customer service principles that have guided my entire career. What drives me is
the delivery of excellent service, whatever the sector, and I was pleased to see this at the heart of Betterclean Services.”
Caroline knew that with a Betterclean Services franchise her business would be largely recession proof as she recognised cleaning was a service that was always going to be in demand. Another huge selling point for Caroline was that she would be able to run the business from home. With Caroline or her husband having to be on site at all times with their previous business, she had reached a stage where the idea of working from home really appealed.
All new franchise owners undertake thorough and wide-ranging training that ensures they are well equipped with essential knowledge, facts and comprehension to maximise the opportunities for their businesses. The all-inclusive programme focuses on understanding the market, selling Betterclean Services and covers all sales and marketing and administrative systems.
“The initial franchise training was comprehensive and very hands on. I was taking on a territory previously operated by head office, so I worked alongside their staff following franchise training so that I was able to hit the ground running. Taking on an existing territory was perfect for me because there were existing client relationships to take forward and the immediate pressure to start making sales was reduced.
“The ongoing support from head office is brilliant. Their business development guidance has been key in helping me grow my business and identifying effective strategies. When you take on clients, each one is completely different but with Betterclean, when you come across something that you are unsure how to handle, there are people working in the background to give you the confidence to ensure you can offer the best solutions.”
This year, Betterclean Services will be rolling out a business development process for all franchise owners. Caroline has her franchise agreement renewal coming up in October and will be the first to trial the development process because of this. She will then go on to help roll the development process out to other franchise owners.
“For me, coming up to the end of my first five years, I’m enjoying running the business just as much or perhaps even more than I ever have done. During my tenure, I have taken a very good and stable income from the business throughout. Despite the huge challenges of the current pandemic, my sales income has in fact grown significantly and the business has maintained a healthy profit. I think the new business development process will be extremely valuable, getting an independent perspective on my business performance. Having access to an expert to help me take my business to the next level will to further improve my business’ value and develop my own skills for the future.
“Moving forward I’m just really motivated to continue growing the business. I think because I’m 55 I will have slightly different aspirations than younger franchise owners coming in. Ultimately, I would like to get to a point where I can expand the team enough to enable me to step back from the day-to-day operations when I want to.
“I think the best thing about being part of a franchise is being part of a community. Whilst we are all from different backgrounds and at different stages of our lives, everyone has common goals – we’re all dedicated to delivery excellence.”
The flexibility that came with becoming a franchise owner meant Caroline could cherish the last few years of her daughter being at school before she flew the nest to go to university. Caroline’s husband has continued to grow his online coffee business and also embarked on running a care home, which has enabled them to both branch out. The work-life balance they now have enables them to spend quality time together and enjoy taking their dog on long walks in the countryside on their doorstep, as well as pursuing a range of other leisure pursuits.
“My advice to anyone thinking about joining the Betterclean Services franchise would be to go for it. It’s a very strong business model and it gives you a really excellent framework for running a successful and profitable business. A Betterclean Services franchise has given me more freedom than I ever thought possible as a business owner.”