Nick Barber, joined Minster Cleaning Services in 1996 taking on their Northamptonshire & Bedfordshire territory as a ‘new start’. Since then, he has grown annual turnover to around £1.8 million; he was named as Minster’s Franchisee of the Year in 2010, 2013 and 2015 and was a 2014 B2B bfa Franchisee of the Year finalist.
Before joining Minster, Nick spent 16 years as an RAF Navigator. On leaving the forces he wanted to go into business on his own and had identified franchising as the best way forward for all the usual reasons: the relatively high success rates of a franchised business compared with starting a business from scratch, a tried and tested business model, established business systems, etc.: “I met Chris Campbell at a franchise exhibition; he had also been in the RAF and had taken on Minster’s Southampton commercial cleaning franchise just over a year earlier. He was already building a strong business on the south coast and I could see the massive potential.
“My years in the RAF gave me an excellent grounding for a career with Minster Cleaning Services. The forces gives you lots of responsibility and encourages a ‘can do’ attitude – great attributes for setting up a management franchise – and Minster is a business where I have been able to use the people-management and organisational skills which I had developed. It is very much a ‘people business’ and the main challenges come from employing large numbers which is why organisational and managerial skills are so important.
“Ex-forces people make ideal Minster Cleaning Services franchisees: Minster offers the opportunity to create a large business; it’s a real management role where you need to be a leader who can motivate, train and develop employees. Five Minster franchisees came from the forces and they are all running successful businesses and building valuable assets for themselves.
“Minster eased the transition from the forces to being my own boss by providing help and advice from the very first day. The comprehensive support package takes care of the main day-to-day business activities including IT, accounts, marketing and training, as well as providing professional advice on employment law, health and safety and environmental legislation, so franchisees can concentrate their efforts on business development.”
Nick has no plans to take things easy in the near future and sees no reason why the branch shouldn’t continue to be so successful: “I like being in control of my own destiny and I like the fact that the nature of our business means that there is no such thing as a ‘typical day’; I love the tremendous variety that comes with working with so many different business professionals from a wide range of industry sectors.
“The size of my territory which includes Daventry, Corby, Kettering, Bedford, Milton Keynes, Wellingborough and Northampton gives me almost unlimited scope for expansion and we put a lot of effort into making sure the quality of our service is so high that our existing customers have no reason to go elsewhere. Well-trained, motivated staff are extremely important and we have found that by fine-tuning our service to match clients’ ever changing requirements we’re picking up extra business. High standards and flexibility have helped us to build long-term client relationships. By offering a comprehensive range of complementary work, including window and carpet cleaning, a full choice of janitorial supplies plus a wide selection of washroom rentals, all their cleaning needs are met by one reliable and trusted source.”