First Franchisee Part 2

First Franchisee Part 2

Welcome back to our first case study of Simon Hopkins who joined Lgb Vision in 2016 as our first official window cleaning franchisee. In this second part we will briefly cover the first year of his journey which will include some of the highs and lows of his first year. Mistakes made are lessons in disguise but we have to learn from that mistake and sometimes it can be the best lesson learned.

Simon started in perfect weather in July 2016. He would have a months intense training from Damien as he was going to be the first owner of a franchise under the Lgb Vision Window Cleaning brand. Nobody could have prepared them for the first year they would experience but if given the chance again they both said they wouldn't have changed a thing. The first big issue Damien had to get round was that Simon was extremely rigid with his cleaning movement and sometimes it almost looked like he was uncomfortable whilst cleaning windows. Damien has trained a few window cleaners over the years and has never experienced someone like Simon. If you can remember at school rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time it was if Simon just couldn't, he had no rhythm or style when he cleaned and it was a big stumbling block at first. Damien tried everything to make it easier for Simon to clean but there was only one decision that finally improved his technique and this was simply to get Simon to clean bottom windows only for a week. This simple change allowed Simon to get into a rhythm whilst cleaning windows and also understand how spotting, streaking and rinsing all worked in close up detail. 

We used a canvasser to help build the first part of Simon's round and we were impressed with how quickly the first part of the round was built from thin air. The canvasser was always a few days ahead of Simon knocking doors which lead to a compact round but also meant a constant flow of work was coming in. It would take until the beginning of August for the canvasser to finish his quota then a further month for Simon to finish all the new customers. Only 2 to 3 months had passed but already the newly constructed round was already at about 50-60% of the agreed target of a full round. Damien had promised to Simon that it would take no longer than a year to max out his earnings but it was actually achieved in less than 10 months. Now 10 months may seem like a long time for a franchise to build a round but drop outs, increase of speed, weather, economic climate all have to be considered when building a round from scratch. There is no way a new franchisee will be up to the speed of an established water fed pole cleaner in the first year. You also have to remember that Simon isn't having to acquire these customers. All he has to do is the admin and cleaning of the customers, no door knocking, worrying, leafleting, updating a website, social media or depressing weeks of no new customers. 

Damien made his first mistake with some customers who never paid Simon. Damien had explained that being self employed has some risks with non payment being one of them but Simon had a valid argument on why it wasn't fair which Damien later agreed on. We had essentially given Simon a customer and the first and maybe second clean was never paid for, Damien's view was this was the risk of window cleaning and Simon's view was you told me to clean it. Damien later changed how non payment was dealt with on new customers and also ensured that at least 80% of new customers are signed up to our GoCardless direct debit payment system before the first clean is even carried out. 

During the first year Simon learned how cleaner planner worked and how to get the most out of it, how to correctly price customers and learn about troublesome windows. The first year is basically to get to the required weekly turnover with the following two years to shape and fine tune the round for maximum profit. Damien has often said that a round is like a garden in that every now and then you have to do a little weeding. Simon was always confident that Lgb Vision would replace any lost customers in a timely manner as this was the main selling point of the window cleaning franchise. 

Later on in the case studies section we will return to Simon as his original motivation for joining the franchise changed from simply a financial one to wanting to afford lots of holidays and travel. Essentially Simon wanted a local round but not necessarily compact, Damien's take on this was why can't we do all three? A well priced, compact and local round!

This is just a brief insight into the journey of our first franchisee as if we was to write about everything we would honestly be able to make a book out of it!