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Franchisee of the Year announced

Sandra Redmond, a married mother of one from south west London, was named Gold Winner of the 2009 British Franchise Association’s Franchisee of the Year Awards at a black-tie dinner, held at the International Convention Centre ICC in Birmingham last night (October 1).

Redmond, who has held the Wimbledon Molly Maid franchise for over 14 years, impressed the judging panel by demonstrating how she has achieved ‘Success in Challenging Times’ - the theme of this year’s awards.

“This makes me so very proud,” she said of her achievement. “Gaining the title of Franchisee of the Year in such a challenging and highly competitive market is an enormous accolade. It is tremendous recognition for all the hard work my staff have put into the business and I thank all those who have supported me this year. This has certainly spurred me on to achieve even greater success next year.”

Combining her own expertise with her franchisor’s 25 years of business experience, Redmond has succeeded in strengthening her performance with a focused plan of action and a new office line up to enhance sales, customer service and training skills.

At a time when many customers might have been tempted to switch to cheaper suppliers, Redmond ensured her cleaning teams offered a heightened level of service to retain the loyalty of existing customers. Regular quality checks were implemented to make sure standards were maintained. 

Faster responses and alternative solutions were offered to wavering customers as people, understandably, tried to reduce their household expenses.

At the same time, Redmond boosted her marketing activities, promoting the strengths of the company through leafleting, advertising, the use of branded vehicles and some high-profile promotions.

New markets were also identified and exploited. These included end-of-tenancy cleans for local letting agents and a commercial cleaning opportunity that resulted in a lucrative annual contract.

In a departure from conventional Molly Maid systems, Redmond also targeted her competitors by providing short-term cleaning cover during holiday periods when many independent suppliers are short of staff.

The outcome was that, in spite of experiencing some of the worst trading conditions of her career, Redmond grew her annual sales by nearly nine per cent.

Cathryn Hayes, HSBC’s head of franchising, said: “HSBC has been supporting the franchise industry for more than 25 years and we are delighted to present Sandra with the 2009 Gold Award.

“Sandra is an excellent example of how hard work and commitment is driving this important sector forward. Her determination to build a successful business should be an inspiration to anyone thinking about franchising.”

Brian Smart, director general of the bfa, added: “Judging these awards is always a difficult task, but we felt Sandra epitomised the essence of the franchising model working at its best.

“With nearly half of the British public preferring to use a franchise over a non-franchised business, Sandra stood out as a pioneer in a sector that is home to some of the country’s most successful brands.”
 
Tamsin Brewis of Water Babies (Banbury) took the Silver Award and Mark Fordham, of TaxAssist Accountants (Harpenden), was named Bronze Award winner.

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