“We have doubled in the past four to five years and currently have a turnover of just under £1.1m. I want to double again in the same time frame,” he says
Not only is Damon Brown continuing to grow the business in uncertain economic times, but he was also nominated as a finalist in the transformation category of the bfa HSBC British Franchise Awards.
What does he put his success down to? Perhaps surprisingly, his background in banking. “Finance is a very process-driven industry and I realised I could bring some of that thinking to Minster,” he says.
When he took on the franchise after a career at Lloyds Banking Group he set about creating customer journeys for every aspect of their service. This has made them more efficient as a business, created a better experience for clients and impressed the bfa judges.
Pip Wilkins, chief executive of the bfa, says: “Damon has really modernised the business and worked on engaging with the customers. Once the groundwork was in place, he had key objectives to ensure the business would function better, which in turn led to better inspection scores.”
His work has also boosted the bottom line. He says: “Our margins have improved by 20 per cent because customers are happy to pay more for a better service. It’s also helped us engage with larger more complex businesses – when I bought the franchise our largest customer invoice was £20,000 a year, now we have four that are £100,000 a year.”
Clearly, this year has been more challenging than most. But the advantage of commercial cleaning is it is an essential business with multi-sector appeal, which helps protect franchisees from economic peaks and troughs. That is particularly the case during the COVID-19 pandemic when hygiene has become central to the fightback against the virus.
“We’ve taken on lots of business over the summer because we have been clear about our risk assessments and what infection control we can provide. If someone tests positive for the virus, we can go straight into a workplace and carry out the necessary cleaning and sterilisation,” says Damon.
He is optimistic about the future too and believes the current disruption will lead to opportunities: “We have doubled in the past four to five years and currently have a turnover of just under £1.1m. I want to double again in the same time frame.”
Damon has put the business in a great position to do this. He also benefits from the size of Minster’s territories, which give enterprising franchisees huge scope for expansion. By securing contracts from just a small fraction of the market in their territories, franchisees can grow quickly.