With a long career in engineering, it’s fair to say that owning a window cleaning business wasn’t the natural next step for Gary Poxon. He shares how his transferable skills – fused with a burning desire to build a better life for his family – convinced him that joining My Window Cleaner was the right move to make
Like many people my age, I left school when I was 16. From there I went straight into learning my trade in engineering with a local automotive company, doing just about everything – design engineering, production engineering, leading lean manufacturing departments, you name it.
Over the course of 30 years, I worked my way up to become a senior manager, learning many fantastic skills along the way. But after being made redundant, I finally decided it was time for a change.
Rather than putting all my effort, hard work and long hours into somebody else’s business, I wanted to do something for myself for once. And if I could bring all that knowledge from the past 30 years with me to make something better with my own business, it would be perfect.
Keeping it in the family
I’ve got nine-year-old twin boys and I wanted to try and build something for them – something that’s there to help support them if they need anything, or should they perhaps want to join the business in the future. When I decided to go it alone, that was my main motivation.
My former father-in-law ran an independent window cleaning business for 15 years. He was a financial advisor before that, so he obviously knew there was money to be made in window cleaning! Several years ago I had the opportunity to look after that business for a few months when he was unwell, and I absolutely loved it from day one.
The fact you were your own boss, you could make your own plans, and that you could see the genuine potential to grow and really make a success of all your efforts massively appealed to me.
There are so many other benefits, too: you’re outside and not cooped up all day in a factory or office; it helps keep you physically fit, and there’s definitely no more 6.00 am to 1.00 am workdays like I used to have when machinery broke down!
To franchise or not to franchise
A few people said to me: ‘Why don’t you just start your own window cleaning business from scratch?’ I did think about it, but the opportunity to take advantage of the years and years of experience with a company like My Window Cleaner has, which will also support you in running and marketing the business, was just too good to ignore.
I had money in the bank which was earning practically 0.1 per cent interest, so I believed it was the right time to put those funds to good use.
Once I opened the door to My Window Cleaner, I got to speak to other franchisees in the network. They all said the same thing: ‘I wish I’d done it years ago.’ There were just so many positives to take on board when discussing the opportunity with them.
Fast forward to today and I’m now the owner of My Window Cleaner in Stourbridge. As the only franchisee in the West Midlands area, I have big plans to push forward and grow. But just like my fellow franchisees, I have just one regret: I wish I’d done it sooner!
The key to keeping customers happy
I’ve been in many roles where people say, ‘This customer is so difficult.’ But my thoughts are always the same: why?
Nobody wants to be difficult, nobody wants to argue. So as long as you’re open, honest, upfront, and tell them the service they’re going to get, when they’re going to get it, and how much it really costs, then everybody is great.
If you keep delivering a quality level of service to customers, they will stay loyal. And that’s the thing I’ve always tried to do: the very best for customers.
Taking the plunge
It’s natural to worry and wonder whether you’ll survive your first year – I certainly did – but thanks to the help and support My Window Cleaner offered, I felt so confident.
True, there are things like rising energy bills which may cause some people to pull back on spending, but you’ve just got to go for it.
If you only think of the negatives, you will never make the leap and discover just how beneficial owning a franchise is. For me, it was the right time to get out there for myself and this franchise just felt right from the start thanks to the help of Ian, Dave and Karen at My Window Cleaner HQ.
I’ve been smiling ever since!