Rainbow International Franchisees Tom and Helen Cox have earned a reputation for coming to the rescue in the aftermath of any disaster that needs attention
Floodwater has finally subsided, leaving sodden ruin all around. Firefighters have put out a blaze, but the place is a smouldering wreck. Who can tackle the daunting job of a major restoration process?
If it’s in remote northern Scotland, the answer in both cases is likely to be Tom and Helen Cox’s Highlands Rainbow International franchise, the experts brought in by insurers to organise and carry out the clean up after disaster has struck.
Through a UK-wide network of 66 branches, Rainbow International is available 365 days a year. Technicians can be on site in an emergency situation within two hours, which reduces the risk of secondary damage to help return homeowners’ lives and businesses back to normal as quickly as possible with minimal disruption.
Tom and Helen cover what is the largest area in the UK Rainbow International network. From their base in Alness near Inverness, their territory stretches from the Western Isles, Shetland and Orkney to Fort William, Oban and Campbeltown.
In addition to the extensive initial training provided and the availability of the impressive elearning platform, Tom and Helen have made additional investments in training for their staff in order to go the extra mile to continue to provide the exceptional customer service that has become synonymous with the Rainbow International brand.
The couple have won a string of awards for their service and earned a reputation throughout the Highlands and Islands for coming to the rescue in the aftermath of any disaster that needs prompt and expert attention.
At the recent national conference, when presenting Tom and Helen with a national award, Rainbow International managing director Phil Else praised their: “Tremendous dedication and fortitude, often in the face of extremely challenging circumstances. They thoroughly deserve the recognition this award brings.”
Seven years on from their business launch, the family run franchise now has a team of 10 and delivers a wide range of emergency disaster restoration services and specialist commercial and domestic cleaning to a wide range of customers.
With Tom as director, Helen the secretary and daughter Stacey working as a claims handler, this really is a family team. As Helen explains: “We wanted to go into business for ourselves, as we were both working really hard, while others were reaping the benefits of our efforts. We also felt it would be a great way to build a career for our children, while building a sizeable business for the future.
“We chose franchising, as we knew that being part of a well established business like Rainbow International reduces the risk. You are not trying to start a business from scratch, as you have the experience, support and guidance available and the processes and procedures in place that have been tried and tested for many years. If you need advice, you have the franchisor at the end of the phone and the franchise network who have been there before you.
“Tom had worked in a Rainbow International franchise as a manager for almost 10 years, so it made sense to have our own franchise, given his knowledge of the business. My background was in administration, so we knew our combined strengths would give us a good chance of success. And that’s exactly how it’s worked out. “Like most people embarking on their own business venture, we were nervous about the future. But we knew Rainbow International was where we belonged and since we started in 2008 we have gone from strength to strength. We were involved in surges of work caused by flooding, fires and cold snaps, which gave us a great boost.”
Since then, Tom and Helen’s business has seen growth through their local marketing and promotional activities.
Helen adds: “The use of social media, the internet, local advertising and invaluable word of mouth referrals from satisfied customers have all created some tremendous opportunities for us to grow our business. It has supplemented the work that’s passed to us from central office.
Rainbow International is the UK’s leading franchise supplier of disaster recovery services and is part of global franchising giant, the Dwyer Group. The company provides fire, flood, escape of water and accidental damage restoration services to many of the UK’s leading insurance companies on behalf of their many policyholders.
In addition, it offers a comprehensive range of specialist cleaning services to commercial, industrial and domestic premises, promoted by franchisees in their designated territories.
Nothing, it seems, fazes the Rainbow International clean-up experts. For instance:
n During the 2007 UK floods the company received over 26,000 emergency calls in two months - more than 400 a day - sending 800 technicians to the rescue.
n After poet William Wordsworth’s Lake District home was ravaged by fire, it was stripped and cleaned by Rainbow International teams.
n Prompt work by the firm’s experts saved priceless books and ceilings after Scotland’s Aboyne Castle was flooded by burst water tanks.
n After building work at Edinburgh Castle, emergency carpet and upholstery cleaning over one weekend enabled an important meeting to be held on schedule.
n A major graffiti attack on an Edinburgh store was blasted from outside the building by Rainbow International experts using the latest cleaning techniques without harming the environment or disrupting business.
The typical start-up cost for a Rainbow International franchise, which includes a designated territory, is a minimum investment of £35,000 (plus VAT) and working capital and an equipment package of £25,000 (plus VAT). Funding of up to 70 per cent is available to suitable individuals through the major banks.
According to the company, one of its franchises will allow you to learn the hands-on requirements of the job, while allowing you to develop it into a management franchise, so you can focus on growing your business within your local area.
Rainbow International UK has Europe’s largest, fully functioning fire and flood training facility, allowing up to date training for franchisees and their employees using the most advanced equipment and technology.
Back in the Highlands, do Tom and Helen plan to expand their business in the future? “We intend to operate as we are and increase our local advertising to target specific markets at specific times - hotels and caravan parks following the tourist season are just a few of our targets.” Helen says.
And what advice would she offer to anyone starting their own business? “Be prepared for hard work and for the changes that being an employer brings, but enjoy the whole process,” Helen advises.
“There is nothing more satisfying than receiving positive feedback from customers and seeing your business grow profitably with all the support that is available to you.”