If you follow the Dublcheck system, the financial rewards are substantial
It has been said that being a woman in a man’s world is difficult, but Carol Stewart-Gill says when you get out there and give it a go, it’s not as difficult as it first appears.
Nineteen years ago she was a shy full-time housewife and mother to her young son. Now she is both the owner and chairman of Dublcheck, a multi-million pound commercial cleaning franchise company. Carol started by knocking on doors, despite her lack of experience in the industry, and just 24 hours after starting out had won two contracts. That was the beginning of Dublcheck.
“Get out there and give it a go,” she says. “It’s actually very rewarding and beneficial in business to stand out, and being a woman in business is an advantage. For example, in our business the female skills and traits are ideal, ie attention to detail, organisational ability and caring.
“Because Dublcheck does the selling and obtains the business for franchisees, we are looking for people with good interpersonal skills to visit the customers and ensure they are satisfied, and also to encourage their staff. A little bit of TLC goes a long way”.
Dublcheck has over 100 franchisees, both male and female, running commercial cleaning businesses as a result of Dublcheck getting the business for them.
Six years ago Julie Berry got itchy feet. She’d been working for 12 years at an Aldi regional office and was feeling distinctly desk bound.
“I also had two small children and balancing that with a full-time job wasn’t working out,” says Julie.“I’d run my own business selling books before and I hankered after the freedom it had given me. I really wanted something that would work better around my family commitments.”
Julie headed to a franchise exhibition in Manchester, children in tow, with the aim of investing in a soft-play enterprise, but it was the Dublcheck stand that caught her eye. She explains: “As I left I thought, ‘They’re right, people do always need cleaners’. So I did a bit more research and, after a couple of meetings, decided to become a Dublcheck franchisee!’
The main thing that attracted Julie to Dublcheck was the fact the company provides all the initial clients to franchisees.“Getting clients is the hardest bit,” says Julie. “Knowing that I’d have a guaranteed income as soon as I started really swung it for me. That they only deal with commercial enterprises too also appealed. Business premises will always, always need to be cleaned, most likely on a daily basis.”
Julie went in at the minimum investment level, which meant she was completely hands-on. Six months later she took on her first employee - and now has 11 people working for her.” Because of the children there are jobs I can’t do, such as early mornings,” says Julie. “I now work around 30 hours a week and spend about 10 per cent of that time cleaning, usually to cover for someone if they can’t make it, for instance, if they’re on holiday. I also go into any new premises I take on and clean it first time round, so I can get a good idea of what needs doing and how long it takes.”
The rest of her time is spent running the business, which she loves:
“I do the paperwork, get new work in and go to networking meetings.
I love connecting with other businesses. I’m also the treasurer of Rochdale Borough Women’s Enterprise Network, which helps other women start up in business.”
About two years ago Julie felt it was time to expand the business, so she invested another £24,000 into Dublcheck - and the business blossomed. “A lot of the work came in through word of mouth, but Dublcheck brought me in loads more too,” she says.
In Julie’s first year she turned over £12,000 and now turns over £60,000. She has 25 contracts with different businesses and has kept all her original clients. “I’m one of the smaller franchises,” she says. “There’s a lot more work out there, but I don’t want to take on too much. I want to balance it with my family. I’m at a break even point now, a good level. I pay myself and my staff a salary, but from here on in it’s all profit.”
Initially, Julie found the thought of employing staff quite scary.“I’d only ever shuffled papers before,” she says. “It was a brand new experience, but a really good one. I employ people by word of mouth, but I’ve taken staff on from the job centre too and they’ve been excellent. I like helping people into work and we’re a good team - all my employees have been with me for over 12 months.”
Julie adds: “It’s hard to make a decision to give up your job and a secure income, but Dublcheck is a great team. Any queries and they’re just a phone call away - for anything from accounts to sales. They allow me to get on with things, but the support is there if I need it. I’ve got a really good relationship with other franchisees too - we phone each other up if we’ve ever got any questions.”
Julie underwent initial training in commercial cleaning and business management, as well as having a mentor when she started. “I went to the franchise exhibition in Manchester recently to help out — it’s good to give back,” she says. “I haven’t mentored anyone yet, but they suggested I might and I thought/Oh crikey”. But as just another one of the fantastic challenges being a Dublcheck franchisee brings, it would be a brilliant thing to do.”
Dublcheck has also worked for these women: Jayne Healey, charity worker; Joanne Bennett, bank project manager; Melissa Jones, housewife and mother; Prue Davies, greengrocer; Penny Whitelock, managing director in the publishing industry; Barbara Davies, greengrocer; Hazel Surguy-Price, administration and dance teacher; and Jackie Mason, nursing service manager.
What is Dublcheck?
Dublcheck is the franchise where you don’t need to be able to sell. Dublcheck obtains all the business for you, so you know exactly what turnover you will get.
You can start with a turnover of £14,000 per annum if you want to run your business hands-on whilst retaining the security of your current position, or up to £500,000 per annum if you want to run a management business.
Most people ask:
* Where will my business come from?
* How much will I make?
* How big can I grow?
Dublcheck has all the answers:
* Guaranteed turnover.
* Guaranteed profit.
* Guaranteed growth.
New franchisees choose a guaranteed initial turnover, benefit from the security of a guaranteed gross profit and are secure in the knowledge that they have the choice of a guaranteed growth option to meet their ambitions when they are ready.
Benefits of Dublcheck are:
* Low-cost entry.
* Invoicing and cash collection.
* Recession-proof utility business.
* Rapid return on investment.
* Low overhead requirement.
* Feeling part of a team.
* Training and ongoing support from head office.
* A mentor franchisee to guide and assist.
Dublcheck, founded in 1993 and one of the UK’s fastest growing companies, according to The Sunday Times and Virgin Fasttrack 100, is clearly the real deal in an industry full of imitators who fail to deliver.
Carol Stewart-Gill, who founded the company, still has a very active day-to-day role.“It’s not easy running any business,” she says.“To be successful requires hard work and commitment, and if you put the effort in and follow the system, with Dublcheck the rewards are there.”
Says franchisee Ann Moya:“Operating a Dublcheck cleaning franchise has enabled me to take control of my working life and create a better work life balance, which I am very passionate about.
“Getting the business up and running requires hard work, dedication and a can do’ attitude. However, once the right staff members are in place, this business allows a certain amount of freedom in that it allows the business operator to have more freedom of time than if they were in full-time employment.
“The main benefit of working with Dublcheck is that they find the contracts for you, which is great if you don’t consider yourself a natural sales person, and all invoices are sent to my customers via the head office team, leaving me to concentrate on other areas of my business. They are always on hand to offer support when needed, so I have never felt alone while running the business.”
Investment from as little as £9,950 up to £190,000 with guaranteed turnover.
* Number of franchisees: over 100.
* Franchise fee: £9,950-£190,000.
* Franchisee profile: committed people-to-people individuals, from all backgrounds, who, combined with Dublcheck’s guaranteed turnover, can deliver a service second to none in their chosen territory, either hands-on or fully managed and supported by the Dublcheck brand.