“At the turn of the millennium, I was working as an accountant at a big defence company. It was a high-pressure environment, and when I suffered from a stress-related illness, I decided it was time for a change.
A friend of mine owned a franchise, and inspired me to research franchise opportunities in the region. I heard good things about Rainbow International, so when the Brighton and Hove branch came up for sale, I purchased the business and embarked on my franchising journey.
It was only a small territory at the time, with a turnover of £100,000. However, within a short space of time I moved from being a ‘man in a van’ to managing a growing team with double the turnover. Today, we own 8 areas and employ over 15 people; last year, we brought in £1.3m.
A day in the life of Wilf
When I first started out, I was a one-man band responsible for everything – I scoped the work, completed the jobs, did the audits, and managed the admin. This didn’t last long; within two months, I’d hired an administrator and technician.
For the first five years, we relied on insurance work – fires, floods and other accident-related claims. However, when the 2008 recession hit, a lot of this work dried up. It forced us to change the business focus and diversify our client base.
We began pitching for big projects like factory cleaning, media blasting, large building cleans, and high access cleaning. It enabled us to not only survive, but to grow during the recession.
As an accountant, I understand money and how it works. I think that commercial awareness has helped my business survive and thrive. While other businesses went under, we gradually increased our market share.
Today, I’m rarely out on jobs, unless it’s a big contract that requires my project management expertise. Instead, I deal with finance, keeping a steady eye on profit, job averages, margins etc. I’m also on the Rainbow International Advisory Council, representing the region’s interests at a national level.
What’s good about Rainbow is that there is a direct channel between Head Office and franchisees. They appreciate that we have the ground-level experience on what will work and what won’t. I believe the fact that they consult with franchisees is one of the reasons why the business model is so strong.”