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Description: Start your own chimney sweep franchise, providing a safe, professional and efficient chimney cleaning service in clients' homes and businesses. Business Type: Franchise. Minimum Investment: £13,100. Training Provided: Yes. Home-based: Yes. Part-time: Yes.

VIDEO

Video Interview with a Wilkins Chimney Sweep Franchisee

Video Interview with a Wilkins Chimney Sweep Franchisee

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Case Study: John Baldacchino, West Cheshire

Start date: August 2012

John BaldacchinoJohn Baldacchino (40) has launched Wilkins Chimney Sweep (West Cheshire) in August 2012. He is married, has two children and lives in Runcorn, Cheshire

What made you buy a franchise business?
I’d previously worked for large global organisations and knew I wanted to be able to take control of the direction of my own business; I’d been looking for the right business opportunity for some years now and, having previously managed many self employed operators, I understood the benefits that a strong franchise model could offer.

What made you buy a Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchise?
After investigating a number of franchise opportunities and then meeting Louise and Peter, I quickly realised that I was very interested in the the opportunity Wilkins were offering. I’d found a franchise business that delivered a quality service within a close geography, in a sustainable market. Quite simply, Wilkins Chimney Sweep offered me what I was looking for, that other franchises just couldn’t.

What did you do before you bought your franchise?
I’ve had 20 years of hospitality industry experience working for brands such as Hilton, TGI Fridays, Starbucks, Punch taverns and Marston’s. At Starbucks I was the first store manager in the UK opening the market in 1998. Most recently I have been managing self-employed pub operators in an innovative new pub agreement that supported the local pub.

Were you made redundant from your last post?
No

How was your training with Wilkins Chimney Sweep? Did you find it useful and if so what did you learn?
The training I received from Wilkins Chimney Sweep was extensive and gave me a solid grounding in a wide variety of chimneys and the problems that I might face. Peter’s vast experience was passed on in a very practical manner whilst doing the job with real customers, which was invaluable. In addition to this Louise showed me the tools needed to run the franchise, touching on all disciplines from finance and marketing to ordering and procurement, setting clear expectations and delivered in an easy to understand manner. The training was comprehensive and tailored to my current abilities whilst also highlighting skills I needed to improve on.

What skills do you think you need to be a chimney sweep?
I think you need a good customer service ethic that puts the customer first and delivers a fast, efficient product every time.

What skills do you think you need to run a franchised business?
You need good attention to detail and a strong commercial perspective to run a successful franchise business; endless enthusiasm and an open mind in challenging your skill sets in new areas won’t go amiss either!

What are your plans for the business in the next 12 months?
Over the next 12 months I’m going to be developing my Wilkins Chimney Sweep (West Cheshire) business; my aim is to be recognised both by my customers and franchisor for delivering a great service that’s both profitable and growing.

What are you enjoying about running your own business?
I’m really enjoying being able to make the decisions that I know are right for my business, recognising short term issues whilst still focusing on delivering long term goals; with Peter and Louise’s experience to draw on, I’m confident I’ll be able to deliver.

What support have you received from your franchisor?
Louise and Peter have been available to me from the very beginning, from the recruitment process through to my training and now, beyond. They’ve always been there to answer answers to my questions and to address any concerns that I’ve had. Louise even came up to Runcorn to deliver part of the training in my home which made life much easier in those early days. Now I speak to her at least once a week on the phone and she sends me a weekly communications email updating me on important information in the franchise and the sweeping industry and sharing best practice from the other sweeps.
 

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