Cleaning company secures contracts worth £450k and plans franchise roll out

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(L-R) David Moncur & Andrew Alleway

An Aberdeen commercial cleaning company, which has secured contracts worth £450k and opened a Dundee office in the past three months, aims to create 20 franchises across Scotland this year.

Ecocleen’s 36 staff will be given first refusal to take on an Ecocleen Local franchise whose clients, training, vat and tax returns will all be secured and handled by head office.

Owner, Andrew Alleway, who has been helped by Business Gateway Aberdeen City & Shire, believes the contract wins and franchise push, which includes creating master franchisees in Inverness, Edinburgh and Glasgow, will help turnover increase by a minimum 200%.

He said: “The new contracts are a game changer for us. We’ve now eclipsed our targets for this year and more than doubled what we achieved in our first year of operation. Getting established has been challenging but the local business community has been very supportive. I didn’t envisage walking into a massive recession when I started in 2015 but that has brought opportunity, as businesses have been forced to review and challenge historical relationships with suppliers. The recent deals, which include a three year contract with a leading service company in the oil & gas sector, provide use with even more security moving forward.”

He added: “I know first-hand the opportunities franchises can bring. Having part owned a large commercial cleaning company in New Zealand which had over 500 franchises, I’ve seen the success stories, with franchise owners being able to buy their first houses and create employment for friends and family. I see the same thing happening here. Moving into franchising seemed the obvious next step and our new office in Dundee, which opened in March, and is run by my brother-in-law and business partner, David Moncur, has already secured six clients.”

Having moved to Scotland to be nearer his wife’s family, Andrew originally planned to launch a cleaning company from scratch, but tight regulations spurred him to look for an established business to bring to Scotland. He met with the directors of Ecocleen, which has 19 franchises in England, who agreed to let him hold the overall franchise for Scotland. It took Andrew four months to secure his first client; now the business has over 40.

He said: “I’m thrilled with how it’s going and am grateful for the support I’ve had, not just from Ecocleen but from Business Gateway. My adviser helped me secure funding to work with a consultant on social media and marketing and I’ve attended a number of their events. The Aberdeen business world was all quite foreign to me, so having my adviser to use as a sounding board has been beneficial.”

Roz Taylor, Business Gateway Adviser said: “Andrew’s business is rapidly growing and we’re working with him to put in place strategies that will help him achieve and manage his planned expansion. He is determined to provide a quality service while empowering people to start their own business with the support and assistance of his own enterprise, and we will continue to provide assistance to him that will help him do this.”

Ecocleen’s franchise model allows cleaners to start their own business with franchisees getting 85% of each contract’s value. Full training and a monthly income is guaranteed for the franchisees whether Ecocleen has been paid or not. Local master franchisees secure and distribute all contracts and head office takes care of invoicing, tax and vat returns.

Andrew said: “Once someone takes on a franchise all we ask is that they do a good job. If they want to then sell the business later we will work with them to ensure they receive a return on their investment. Cleaning may not be the most glamorous job in the world but it is profitable and our model ensures our small business owners are well remunerated for their efforts.”

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