Start A Cleaning Business With A Franchise

Domestic Cleaning Services Commercial Cleaning Services

A Brief History of Franchising

The concept of franchising as we know it today dates back to 1850s USA, when inventor/businessman Isaac Singer began to sell the rights to his sewing machines to travelling independent salesmen. Within a few decades, burgeoning brands like Coca-Cola, Ford and General Motors adopted and popularised the franchise model.

However, franchising really took off in the 1950s and 1960s, when many of today’s mega chains like McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC expanded both Stateside and internationally through a franchise model. Around this time, franchises also began to appear in the UK with catering companies leading the way.

In the 1970s, UK franchising slowed due to a stuttering economy and a tainted reputation due to illegal pyramid schemes falsely advertising themselves as franchises. However, the birth of the British Franchise Association (BFA) in 1977 restored the industry’s integrity while establishing standards and regulations for all franchises to adhere to.

Today, franchising is a thriving industry. There are more than 50,000 franchised businesses in the UK across a multitude of sectors. Collectively, franchises contribute over £17 billion and 710,000 jobs to the country’s economy.

A Brief History of Franchising

The concept of franchising as we know it today dates back to 1850s USA, when inventor/businessman Isaac Singer began to sell the rights to his sewing machines to travelling independent salesmen. Within a few decades, burgeoning brands like Coca-Cola, Ford and General Motors adopted and popularised the franchise model.

However, franchising really took off in the 1950s and 1960s, when many of today’s mega chains like McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC expanded both Stateside and internationally through a franchise model. Around this time, franchises also began to appear in the UK with catering companies leading the way.

In the 1970s, UK franchising slowed due to a stuttering economy and a tainted reputation due to illegal pyramid schemes falsely advertising themselves as franchises. However, the birth of the British Franchise Association (BFA) in 1977 restored the industry’s integrity while establishing standards and regulations for all franchises to adhere to.

Today, franchising is a thriving industry. There are more than 50,000 franchised businesses in the UK across a multitude of sectors. Collectively, franchises contribute over £17 billion and 710,000 jobs to the country’s economy.

Poppies — One of the UK’s Best Cleaning Services

Poppies provide professional domestic cleaning and associated home services to clients throughout the UK. Established in 1980 by the late Sue Rorstad MBE, Poppies is one of the longest-running cleaning service providers in the country. We have a long and proud heritage of cleaning homes to a high standard.

Our excellent services are made possible by our team of passionate, dedicated and hard-working domestic operatives, who are all carefully recruited, highly trained and permanently employed. This way, our clients can rely on a consistent and efficient service, carried out by a familiar face.

We offer a wide range of domestic cleaning and associated home services, each of which are tailored to suit the individual needs of our clients. Our services include:

Poppies serve a diverse range of customers, but the core of our client base comprises:

  • Young professionals who are too busy to clean or don’t like cleaning, and would rather dedicate time to their career, social life and leisure activities.
  • Families, particularly working or dual-income families, who are too busy juggling work, children, school and other commitments to keep up with the housework.
  • Senior Citizens who need a helping hand around the house in order to stay independent.

Some of our services are catered to more specific demographics. Our Temporary Help service is specifically designed for people who are temporarily laid up and unable to do housework due to an accident, injury, surgery or illness. Meanwhile, our Light Commercial Cleaning service is targeted at businesses.

At Poppies, providing a high-quality cleaning service is our priority. But at the heart of our business are a set of values that put people first. We take a friendly, caring and supportive approach to our clients; we provide our employees with rewarding and flexible jobs that offer a practical work-life balance; and we go above and beyond to satisfy our clients’ needs.

We understand that our services don’t just improve the cleanliness of our clients’ homes, but they make a real difference to their lives, too.

Find out more about taking your next step with Poppies

Poppies — The UK’s First-Ever Cleaning Franchise

Poppies is the UK’s first-ever cleaning franchise. Soon after our beginnings in 1980, we launched our first franchise outlet in 1984. Throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, we continued to grow our franchise network across the UK while enhancing our reputation as one of the premier cleaning service providers in the country.

In 1996, Chris Wootton, our current Managing Director, joined Poppies as a franchisee, opening a branch in Ormskirk, West Lancashire. Following the Poppies business model, he grew the franchise (which he still owns to this day!) into one of the most successful cleaning companies in the Poppies franchise network.

Over the following years, Chris’ success coincided with him becoming good friends with Poppies’ founder Sue Rorstad. Chris moved into various franchise management and support roles within the business, using his knowledge and experience from growing his West Lancs branch to help other franchisees within the Poppies network.

Then, in 2018, just a few years after Sue sadly lost her battle with cancer, Chris bought the business and became the new Managing Director of Poppies, per Sue’s wishes. With high aspirations and a firm belief in the business’ franchising potential, Chris has spent the last two years diligently setting the brand up for its future. Now is the time to join the Poppies franchise network.

Why Start a Cleaning Franchise Business?

Tried-and-tested business model

One of the biggest draws of becoming a franchisee is being able to follow a readymade business model that’s tried and tested. Franchisees don’t have to worry about building a cleaning business from the ground up; the blueprint is right there ready for you to capitalise on.

Higher chance of success

Franchises have long been a safer bet compared to starting your own business. According to a recent study by the British Franchise Association, around 90% of franchisees have been profitable annually for over 20 years. Figures also show that less than 4% of franchise businesses fail for commercial reasons.

Be your own boss

Becoming a franchisee allows you to achieve your dream of becoming your own boss without many of the risks, worries and costs involved with starting your own business from scratch. As a franchisee, you get to own and operate your own branch or outlet within a system that offers security, support and a higher chance of success.

Training and support

Franchisees benefit from the expertise and experience of a business owner that has been successful. You receive both initial training and ongoing support, designed to help you successfully run your own cleaning company while avoiding the common mistakes and pitfalls that catch a lot of businesses out further down the road.

Easier to raise funds

Due to lower levels of risk involved with franchising, it’s easier to secure funding from banks and other lenders. Many high-street banks have dedicated franchise units that specialise in lending to franchisees while offering additional support.

Saleable asset

Although franchisees are obligated to follow their franchisor’s business model, you still own your franchise. This means that once you’ve put in the hard work to build your cleaning franchise into a successful business, you have the option of cashing in on your investment and securing a comfortable future for you and your family. Just make sure that you have a good exit strategy in place.

Why the Domestic Cleaning Sector is a Great Industry for Franchising

Domestic cleaners have existed in one form or another for centuries. Prior to the 20th century, domestic staff were commonly employed by wealthy families, partly because ladies of the house weren’t expected to cook, clean, wash clothes or carry out other domestic responsibilities.

By the end of the 20th century, social classes and attitudes had changed, allowing the domestic cleaning industry to flourish. Many work opportunities opened up for women, who were no longer expected to be homemakers; increased life expectancy lead to a larger demand for domestic help for senior citizens; and a rise in the number of middle class families meant more people could afford to pay for a cleaner. No longer was a domestic cleaner seen as a luxury for the wealthy.

Fast forward to the present day and the domestic cleaning industry is as strong as ever. A recent report by the British Cleaning Council (BCC) revealed that the cleaning sector contributes over £24 billion to the UK economy while providing more than 700,000 jobs. In fact, the cleaning industry has outperformed the UK economy as a whole over the last decade. Since 2010, turnover from the sector has increased by 21% compared to 17% for the overall economy.

It’s clear that domestic cleaning is a growing necessity of modern life. These days, people are working longer hours than ever whilst juggling busy social lives, leaving less time for the housework. People still want a clean and tidy home, though, especially as it has been linked to improved mental health and wellbeing. It’s no surprise that one in three households now employ someone to help with domestic chores, according to a recent study by Esure.

Looking ahead, the domestic cleaning industry is only expected to get bigger. Between 2014 and 2024, employment within the sector is set to increase by 9.5% due to the growing demand for cleaning. Again, this is greater than the overall UK economy, which is set to grow by 5.5%. This comes on the heels of healthy growth during the previous decade: between 2012 and 2017, demand for domestic cleaning rose 25%, while industry revenues increased by 10% between 2015 and 2017.

Find out more about Poppies' franchise package

Why Poppies is the Right Franchise Opportunity for You

Proven business model

The Poppies business model has a proven track record of success. Since launching our first franchise in 1984, we’ve grown our franchise network into 22 profitable branches across the UK. Collectively, we clean over 6,000 homes each month while turning over £5 million annually. We know what it takes to build a successful cleaning company — and we can help you do the same.

High profitability

Once established, a Poppies franchise can produce a high level of profit and personal income for you and your family. Our most successful franchise turned over £650,000 — with a net profit of £100,000 — in 2018. Smaller franchises with £150,000 in revenue can clear as much as £45,000 in net profit.

Reliable income

Poppies revolves around repeat business. Over 90% of our services are geared towards long-term contracts, which is why the majority of our clients have a regular service. What’s more, we have excellent customer loyalty and satisfaction; in a recent survey, nine out of 10 Poppies clients said they were “very satisfied” with our service and would recommend us to friends and family. As a Poppies franchisee, you’ll enjoy a regular and reliable source of income.

Strong franchise network

We’ve grown our cleaning business from a single branch into a thriving network of 22 franchises across the UK, spanning the North East (Ashington) down to the South West (Exeter). Being part of such a strong franchise network gives you more buying power, making it easier for you to obtain finances from banks and other lenders. Vital to the Poppies franchise network is the experience, knowledge and support of our managing director Chris Wootton, who still owns the West Lancs branch he opened in 1996.

Excellent and established reputation

Established in 1980 by the late Sue Rorstad MBE, Poppies is one of the longest-running and most highly-regarded cleaning service providers in the UK. We’re proud of both our rich heritage and the excellent service that we continue to deliver to our clients each and every day. When people think of Poppies, they expect quality, consistency and customer care. Our reputation offers a strong foundation on which to build a successful cleaning business.

Training and support

We provide comprehensive training for all of our new franchisees, giving you the necessary knowledge and tools to successfully run our own Poppies franchise. This involves franchisee induction training, shadowing an experienced franchisee and on-site support during your first week’s trading, as well as our franchise operating manual. We also offer ongoing support, including a six-month mentorship from an existing franchisee. The Poppies model is designed to support and benefit franchisees at every stage of their franchise lifecycle.

Low start-up costs

Franchising with Poppies is much cheaper than starting your own cleaning business while offering significantly higher rates of ROI (return on investment). The cost of starting a Poppies franchise is around £25,000, excluding VAT. Our ongoing costs (such as a monthly management fee) are reasonably priced. We have strong relationships with many banks and can help you secure funding, if required.

Marketing resources

Poppies franchisees benefit from our innovative and effective marketing resources. In addition to an initial promotional launch designed to get your franchise off the ground, you receive a PR campaign targeting local press, a six-month social media campaign and a six-month SEO (search engine optimisation) campaign to help boost enquiries in your area. You also get your own Poppies website and a supply of branded marketing materials, including service leaflets and franchisee business cards.

Recruitment support

Having employed hundreds of qualified and reliable cleaners, we can help you recruit the right people for your franchise. Our cleaners are carefully selected and highly trained, ensuring we deliver a quality and consistent service to our clients. Our cleaners are also directly employed by Poppies, as opposed to being on temporary contracts or sourced from unreliable agencies, so you don’t have to worry about high staff turnover.

Modern technology

Although we’re celebrating our 40th birthday, Poppies is every bit the modern business. We embrace new technology in order to remain efficient, profitable and ahead of the competition. In addition to using an automated business administration system, we have an app-based operations system that allows our operatives to manage their schedule, view their clients’ packages, communicate with their clients and other Poppies employees, and much more. We’re also launching an app for our clients, allowing them to view their upcoming schedules, amend their service, communicate directly with their local Poppies branch and be confident that all messages and requests are logged and dealt with.

British Franchise Association membership

Poppies is proud to be a full member of the British Franchise Association (BFA). Our franchise model, systems, procedures and paperwork have all been reviewed and we passed with flying colours. Poppies was actually a founding member of the BFA and enjoyed memberships throughout the ‘80s and early ‘90s. When we re-applied for membership in 2018, we were awarded full member status just 10 days later, which was the fastest membership progression in BFA history.

franchise@poppies.co.uk 01297 560460