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School worker leaves classroom behind to become Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchisee

School worker leaves classroom behind to become Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchisee

Keiron Harding takes advantage of company’s fast-track ‘no money down’ offer

Wilkins Chimney Sweep has a new franchisee.

Keiron Harding has launched his business in the Isle of Thanet and will be sweeping chimneys for open fires, wood burning stoves, Rayburns and Agas, as well as fitting cages, caps and cowls and removing bird’s nests from homes and businesses, across his East Kent territory.

The 42-year-old, who bought his franchise during the COVID pandemic, used to work at a specialist children’s school in Kent.

Keiron says: “I was offered the chance to go back to the school, but I know it would have been impossible to keep two metres away from the kids and I’ve got a young family to think of, so I handed in my notice.

“I also wanted something that gave me more control over my own time and my family’s future.

“I’d looked at franchises before, but had always been sceptical. I started googling ‘low cost franchises UK’ and found Wilkins on one of the franchise websites.”

After making contact, Keiron was delighted to hear Wilkins was offering a ‘no money down’ deal, meaning he could be up and running in no time and not worry about repaying the franchise fee until September 2021.

“I had loads of people saying ‘what do you want to do that for?’ and ‘no one uses chimney sweeps any more’, but that’s where they are wrong,” Keiron says.

“The art of sweeping chimneys may be ancient, but the fires that start in an unswept chimney or the carbon monoxide that kills a sleeping family because of a blocked flue are very much a 2020 problem and I’m proud to be providing a safety service to my local area.

“I looked at lots of different franchise opportunities, including oven cleaning, house cleaning, and gardening, but I knew I wanted to do something the average homeowner couldn’t do for themselves, making it recession proof.

“You can’t service your own car or boiler, neither can you sweep your own chimney.”

Wilkins Chimney Sweep is managed by Richard Bryan, who’s a former Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchisee.

He says: “We’re delighted to welcome Keiron on board and we know he’s going to make a great sweep.

“He has already spent three weeks on-site training with our franchisees, sweeping just shy of 100 chimneys.

“To be a good chimney sweep, you need to be physically fit and have a good problem solving attitude.

“To be a good Wilkins Chimney Sweep, you also have to be able to follow the Wilkins model and have a desire to build your own successful business.”

On the risks of start a new business, Keiron says: “Of course I’m apprehensive - it’s a new job, so who wouldn’t be, but I’m equally confident that I’ll succeed. 

“I have received great support from everyone at Wilkins. I’m already in the franchisee’s WhatsApp group, which is so useful for asking questions in these early days.”

Darren Taylor, managing director of Taylor Made Franchising, which owns Wilkins Chimney Sweep, says: “So many people have had their lives turned upside because of COVID and like Keiron many of them are looking for a new path, either because of redundancy, losing their jobs or simply because they want more control over their health and safety at work like Keiron.

“At Taylor Made Franchising we have a variety of ‘man in a van’-type operations, which would appeal to anyone who is looking for that next career move. 

“Franchisees can be assured that they have a hugely experienced team at head office here to support them. We’ve helped many people build their own successful franchise businesses over the years.

“I was a Stumpbusters franchisee myself, so know exactly what it’s like to be out there every day, in all weathers, working hard to build up a business.

“These are tough times and we hope more people will follow Keiron’s example and come and look at a Taylor Made Franchising business to help them get back on their feet and earning money again.”

As well as Wilkins Chimney Sweep and Stumpbusters, Taylor Made Franchising also owns Thomas Cleaning, vehicle cleaning business PVC Vendo and Traas Pest Control.

 

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