We’re a business with a great heritage. Established in 1895 in Newbury, Berkshire, Wilkins Chimney Sweep first franchised in 2011. In 2018 it was purchased by Darren Taylor and joined Stumpbusters, Traas Pest Control, PVC Vendo and Thomas Cleaning in the Taylor Made Franchising group of franchises.
Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchisees run their own local businesses based in their exclusive territory. They offer a range of practical services – primarily chimney sweeping and bird protection. Franchisees are van-based and work from home.
Starting as a single operator we expect our franchisees to develop to a second van in their third or fourth year. Our model ticks the boxes for an ethical, sustainable, scalable, profitable business. We have been members of the BFA since 2011.
Our franchisees work across the entire United Kingdom. Not all areas lend themselves to the business and we work to establish the local need during the planning phase, before accepting new franchisees. It is not in our interest to sell a franchise in an area that we do not believe will be successful.
We cap intake levels to six new franchisees a year, to ensure the optimum level of training and support is available to everyone during their start-up and beyond.
New franchisees can expect regular contact from head office including an ‘in territory’ visit during their first few months. Franchisees receive ongoing, regular home visits to assess operational standards and to allow any issues to be discussed in person.
We hold an annual conference, which is attended by all franchisees. This is an opportunity for us to deliver CPD (Continuous Professional Development), inviting guests to coach our franchisees on new equipment or skills required. Franchisees find the conference an invaluable opportunity to meet fellow franchisees, learn from each other, swap ideas and discuss best practice in all areas.
In 2016 Richard Bryan, at the time owner of Wilkins Chimney Sweep Tyneside North, won the bfa Microbusiness Franchisee of the Year Award amidst some very tough competition. Richard has since sold his franchise and is now the Operations Manager of Wilkins Chimney Sweep, bringing with him his huge amount of knowledge and experience of the chimney sweeping business, to support all our franchisees on a day to day basis.
Our training comes in two parts – how to run the business and how to deliver the sweeping.
A week is spent in the classroom learning how to run the business side of the operation. This will include training on our bespoke software ProSweep that franchisees use every day to handle bookings, invoicing, delivery of certificates of sweeping etc. We also look at general business administration, book-keeping, marketing processes, digital advertising etc.
A franchisee will then spend at least two weeks with existing franchisees, sweeping chimneys at customer’s properties. Previous franchisees have swept approximately 100 chimneys during this period so be prepared for some hard work, tackling every type of chimney possible. A sweep will tell you ‘no two chimneys are alike’ so a good ‘problem solving’ attitude is useful. Franchisees also spend a day ‘ladder training’, preparing them for the fitting of cages, caps and cowls.
We are proud to say that our practical training is far more extensive than anything else available in the marketplace today and allows our franchisees to practice their skills of customer interaction as well as sweeping chimneys.
One of the great things about being a chimney sweep is that no two days are ever the same. If you like a good variety in your working day this could be for you. However, a broadly ‘typical’ day is out in the van 9-5, sweeping chimneys or installing cowls. At the end of the day it’s back home and, (after a bath!) completing the day’s brief admin and make follow-up calls to customers if necessary. A huge amount of administration will have already been done using our bespoke ProSweep app.
Franchisees generally spend four days a week sweeping chimneys and one day fitting cages, caps and cowls. There is approximately half a day of administration each week (maximum), bookkeeping and banking etc, plus keeping on top of local marketing /advertising.