Three dads from domestic cleaning franchise, Poppies, discuss how franchising has helped them achieve that all important work-life balance
Family, for many people, is at the centre of their universe. It’s no surprise then that one of the main reasons why people invest in a franchise is when it offers a great work-life balance with increased flexibility. Combine that with running a business that creates more opportunities for the whole family and it’s a no-brainer. Three dads from domestic cleaning franchise, Poppies, discuss how franchising has polished up their lives.
Being in control
Simon West launched his Poppies franchise in Chesterfield and Mansfield in 2015 when he was made redundant. He received insider information from a friend and existing Poppies franchisee, who learned of Simon’s situation and suggested that the business was well suited to his experience and expertise. Now, almost five years later, Simon’s managing a successful business and has even bigger plans for the future. He explains: “For me, Poppies was exactly what I was looking for – freedom, flexibility and the satisfaction of providing a great service. The opportunity to be in control was also a big positive in my eyes. I enjoyed working with people and leading a team, so it seemed like a perfect fit. Compared to some franchisees in the network, my Poppies franchise is still relatively young, but this just encourages me to reach those goals other people have attained.
“Very early on, I enlisted the help of my daughter, Hannah, in the business. She works alongside me running the business, completing a lot of the admin work – putting together staff rotas and liaising with clients. It’s amazing to see her flourish in a job that she enjoys. I’m hoping that, when the time comes, she will take over the business – it’s fantastic that my franchise will create a legacy for our family.”
No prior experience
Another aspect that many franchisees take advantage of is not needing any prior experience in the brand’s industry or sector and, whilst knowledge of running a business is advantageous, in no way is it a prerequisite in operating a successful franchise. What prospects do require is a high level of initiative and drive: attributes that Nigel Bayliss, of Poppies Sheffield, has in bucketloads.
Nigel spent over 15 years managing teams as large as 450 people in the retail sector. Like so many before him, he eventually grew weary of long days and a gruelling commute, craving a better quality of life. Similar to Simon, Nigel’s daughter was an inspiration for launching his own business and, in 1995, he took the leap into business ownership.
“I loved my job and the people that I worked with, but there was something missing,” he says. “I couldn’t spend time with my wife and new-born daughter, Emily, so things had to change. Poppies appealed as it gave me the significant freedom and flexibility to see my daughter growing up. It’s completely turned my life around, allowing me more work satisfaction and precious moments with my family. My quality of life has improved tenfold with the ability to be present as a dad, even now my two daughters have flown the nest.”
Poppies prides itself on its strong heritage and the expertise of the network. As the brand celebrates its 40th birthday in 2020, many of the UK offices are celebrating their own milestones. Poppies North was founded in 2003 and incorporates four territories across the Northwest and Northeast of the country. In 2019, having worked in the business’s operations for the last 10 years Andrew Wishart took ownership upon his father’s passing and continues to drive the business forward, with the same values.
He says: “When I took over the business in 2019, it was a difficult time with lots to undertake. Personally, Poppies’ head office has been an amazing support. I never really liked having a boss, so running a franchise was a great way of achieving that, whilst still having the support and guidance to succeed. It provided the perfect way of life – not just for me, but for the rest of my family too. Giving me more time to enjoy the important things in life, makes it all worth it.”
Image: (L-R) Andrew Wishart and Nigel Bayliss