Tom and Helen Cox
Tom and Helen Cox cover the largest geographical area in the Rainbow International UK network, stretching from Thurso at the top of Scotland, down to Fort William, Oban, Campbeltown and throughout Argyll. They also serve Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles.
In less than four years the couple have built a thriving franchise business and employ a 10-strong team from their base in Alness, near Inverness. Their skill and dedication has brought them a string of awards including the Don Dwyer Award in 2012 which marks their success through following Rainbow's business system.
Their team often have to battle through extreme weather conditions and across challenging terrain to bring aid to homes and businesses suffering from damage caused by floods and fires. At the same time they have expanded their specialist cleaning services and have invested heavily in training in order to provide high reach cleaning, bio-hazard cleans and high pressure power washing.
Tom and Helen have built a diverse business and have undertaken projects ranging from the cleaning of small flats to the restoration of castles and private estates.
Why did you want to go into business for yourself?
We wanted to go into business for ourselves as we felt we both already worked very hard and others were reaping the benefits of this. We also felt it could be a great way to secure employment for our two children.
Why did you choose franchising?
We chose franchising as we felt being part of a well-established organisation like Rainbow International provided a great advantage in securing new customers, especially in the initial stages of starting the business. We also liked the benefit of having a support network and working within a proven system.
What attracted you to the Rainbow International franchise?
We were attracted to Rainbow as Tom had worked as a manager for a Rainbow franchise for almost 10 years and it made sense to progress to owning our own franchise given his firm knowledge of the business. My background was admin and we felt our strengths combined would help us to grow together.
We also felt that Rainbow’s brand and position in the market place was well-established and respected in the industry. Like most people embarking on their own business venture, we were nervous about the future, but we had an element of comfort that Rainbow was where we belonged.
How has business been since starting your franchise?
Since we started our business it has gone from strength to strength. We were fortunate to be involved in one or two surges of work due to flooding and extreme cold snaps which gave us a great boost.
Also, as we have now been in business for almost 4 years, we can see our self-generated work increasing which we attribute to our continual marketing plan, local advertising and word-of-mouth from former customers.
How do you manage the work/life family balance?
This part of owning your own business is definitely the most challenging. We needed to teach ourselves how to switch off when at home which is very difficult to do when operating a family business. We do try to manage our time effectively to enable us to have quality family time on a regular basis.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone on how to win business what would it be?
I would advise people to try to use every marketing medium available to them. For example: the internet, advertising locally, using social media, sending marketing material by post and making face to face contact if possible with potential customers.
What business plans do you have to grow in the future?
We intend to continue to operate as we are and hopefully we will be in a position to increase our advertising locally and try to target specific markets at specific times during the year; for example, hotels and caravan parks following the tourist season.
What advice would you give those looking to start their own business?
I would advise them to be prepared for hard work and for the challenges being an employer brings. Furthermore, I would encourage them to try to enjoy the whole process as there is nothing more satisfying than receiving positive feedback from customers, work providers and peers and seeing your business grow.