Richard Bryan joined the franchise three years ago, following a 30-year career in social housing. In that time, he’s grown his customer base to over 1,500, swept more than 2,000 chimneys and fitted over 150 bird guards.
Moving out of his comfort zone was key, but fitting birdguards proved to be his biggest challenge – as he had a real fear of heights.
Richard said: “I am shocked and delighted to win this award; as well as the hard work to build up a client base, it’s taken a lot of patience to overcome my fears, but it’s definitely been worth it.”
Pip Wilkins, bfa chief executive, said: “Richard’s gone from having no prior business experience to a multi-award-winner in just over three years, testament to his personality and approach as well as the Wilkins Chimney Sweep model. He’s an inspiration to anyone who has ever dreamed of running their own business, and an exceptional franchisee.”
Andrew Brattesani, UK head of franchising for HSBC, commented: “It takes a great deal of courage to leave a long public sector career to start a business. With this franchise, it takes even more to conquer a fear of heights to do so! Richard’s impressive transition into self-employment is deservedly recognised with this award. “
The business has around 110,000 residential houses, plus commercial premises and flats, which Richard serves from his home in Whitley Bay.
The British Franchise Association (bfa) recognises the UK’s most exceptional operators in a range of categories, for their business growth and development, service excellence and ethical franchising practice.
The awards are the oldest and most prestigious in the franchise sector, running for nearly 30 years, and recognise franchising at its best across the UK’s £15bn franchise sector.
The 2016 awards has six categories:
- Young Franchisee of the Year
- Female Franchisee of the Year
- Olderpreneur Franchisee of the Year
- Microbusiness Franchisee of the Year
- B2B Franchisee of the Year
- Customer Service Franchisee of the Year
About the bfa
The British Franchise Association (bfa) is the only voluntary self-regulatory body for the UK franchise industry, with a standards based approach to membership. Its aim is to promote ethical franchising practice in the UK and help the industry develop credibility, influence and favourable circumstance for growth.