As mentioned in our previous blog, Extra Help has experienced a recent surge in new franchisees during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This is largely due to the resilience of the franchise and flexibility of our services. The fact that we assist vulnerable and elderly people in our local communities deems us an essential business in the government’s eyes, which has been very much welcomed by our franchisees and customers alike during the past year.
This week, we’re delighted to announce the launch of Extra Help Leeds East and welcome our new franchisee, Louise Denbigh, to the family.
Louise lives in the centre of her territory with her partner David, who has recently become the owner of a car valeting franchise. With a desire to work in healthcare, she originally trained as a nurse at Leeds University but, upon reaching the end of her training, realised it wasn’t the career for her, after all. Instead, she built a career in Logistics, progressing to a senior role within a national parcel collection business that involved managing a team of over twenty staff and looking after 3,000 retailers.
However, after five years in this role, Louise felt unfulfilled and, upon reaching the age of thirty, decided to follow another dream she had.
“My partner, David, grew up in pubs – his background had always been in hospitality and I’d always dreamed of running my own pub,” she says, “so, after much deliberation, we both left our jobs and became a self-employed, pub management couple.”
Everything was going well until last year, when the coronavirus pandemic emerged. Despite struggling through lockdown and being furloughed throughout 2020, by the end of the year, the dream had died for Louise and Dave, especially when they were told the pub would probably not reopen, due to financial difficulties.
Louise then worked as General Manager of a cleaning franchise for three months, until the franchisee decided to sell the business. At this point, Louise decided it was time to run her own business, utilising the skills and experience she’d gained, with the autonomy to run it the way she wanted, preferably within a ‘pandemic-resilient’ industry. She was keen on the idea of franchising and knew she wanted to provide help people within her local community, so it didn’t take her long to come across Extra Help, whilst researching online.
“I’d had some discussions with other franchisors but there was always a niggle that prevented me from taking the plunge with them,” she says, “I then found Extra Help one day and I had this gut feeling – I can’t describe it any other way! I spoke to Claire, felt completely comfortable and just knew this was the one!”
Louise says that, once she had chosen Extra Help, the process of becoming a franchisee was very quick and simple, thanks to the efficiency of Claire and her team. She then received a day’s virtual training via Zoom, which she says was specifically tailored to complement her own, existing knowledge and skills.
Since the training, Louise says she has been well supported by the Extra Help team. Her first point of contact is highly experienced, fellow franchisee, Denise Cooper, who has been assigned as her mentor.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to from Extra Help has been really honest and there have been no surprises. If I ask questions, they get back to me straight away. Denise is so open and shares with me what has worked for her, which has been the most valuable insight for me,” she says.
Louise says her territory has good customer variation, with a growing, aging population. Although most of the enquiries she’s received to date are for cleaning, she’s keen to promote her services that support independent living for the elderly, as this is an area that’s always been close to her heart.
Since launching the business, Louise has been focusing on building brand awareness in her local area, by placing adverts in local magazines. She is also focusing on social media by joining relevant, facebook groups and posting on local pages. Upon the advice of her fellow franchisees, she has also joined an online, review site and is considering placing further, online advertising via Yell and Google.
Based on Louise’s experiences to date, what advice would she give to potential franchisees? Initially, she claims, it’s about doing your research to make sure it’s the right franchise for you and being prepared to work hard.
“You also need to establish a healthy work / life balance, as you can’t offer an amazing, home-help service to your customers if you’re physically and mentally exhausted yourself!” she says.
Louise also believes that patience is vital and advises not to be disheartened if the phone doesn’t ring on your first day of trading. She also feels it’s important to make sure you’re financially stable, as the costs don’t end with the initial franchise fee!
Lastly, Louise warns that, when it comes to sales, to never be pushy, as she has seen sales people in the past pushing for a sale and getting it, only for it to be cancelled a week later.
“Show genuine care for individuals, be honest and approachable and customers will find you and remain loyal,” she says.
We wish Louise all the luck in the world with her new home-help business and are sure that, with her hard-working nature and passion for helping others, she will be a huge success!
If you’d like to run a home help and domestic cleaning business, offering a flexible range of services to your local community, give us a call on 01752 905790 to find out if your area is available. You can also visit our website for more information.