Imagine if you set up a business and found that, after only the first year, you were already bringing in a sizeable income. Is that even possible during a cost-of-living crisis?
Sam Bee, owner of Extra Help NW Leicestershire, says it definitely is!
In November 2021, Sam made the decision to buy an Extra Help franchise, having enjoyed a lengthy career in commercial sales. She originally found Extra Help on an online franchise directory and, although she wasn’t specifically looking for a home-help or cleaning franchise, it appealed to her due to her experience with her own parents. Her mum has advanced Alzheimer’s and, when she still lived at home, a lady would visit her, just to sit with her and keep her company with a cup of tea, so Sam’s dad could go out to the shops or do some gardening.
“Extra Help’s ethos really resonated with me – it seemed so relevant and such a wonderful way to help people,” says Sam.
In just over a year, Sam has built a thriving and lucrative home-help business.
- She has over 100 clients, who are looked after by her reliable team of 27 home-helpers, some of whom have worked for Sam right from the start.
- She is currently billing an astonishing 480 hours per month and bringing in a monthly income of over £3,000!
What’s more, as Extra Help is a low-cost franchise, Sam’s outgoings are relatively small.
“Aside from personal expenses, such as my car, the only regular outgoings I have are the monthly franchise fees and local advertising,” she says, “there are no premises to pay for, as I work from home, and all my home-helpers are self-employed.”
Since launching her business, Sam has made a conscious effort to focus her efforts on providing a wide range of home-help services to the elderly, such as shopping, gardening, meal preparation and companionship, rather than just cleaning.
She says: “Clients come and go, so I’m constantly searching for the next opportunity. The cost-of-living crisis has meant I’ve lost a few of my cleaning clients, who see our services as a luxury, but the elderly depend upon us and see it as essential. Plus, they do get help from the government to pay for our services, which means they’re less affected for now.”
As the majority of her business comes through Facebook, Sam constantly monitors her local groups, ready to respond to requests for home-help services immediately. She has also built a great relationship with her local Social Services department, which she admits has taken the best part of a year and only happened by chance.
“It’s hard unless you have a way in!” she says, “Someone who happens to work for the local council in Public Health contacted me about gardening services. I built up a relationship with him and he recommended me to a social worker, who then passed my details to her colleagues.”
Sam now receives regular requests for companionship services via these social workers, which is helping her to achieve and exceed the very high targets she sets for herself. She attributes her success to having a great team in place and admits her biggest challenge is finding and retaining the right staff.
“It’s a skill you can only learn with experience,” she says, “I’ve learned to be very choosy and only take them on if I think they’re exactly the right fit.”
Sam’s achievements certainly haven’t gone unnoticed. At the last Extra Help Conference, Sam was thrilled to win three awards, ‘Highest Achiever – Year 2’, ‘Sales Superstar’ and ‘Most Improved Clients’.
Sam says the key to her success is being extremely driven and setting herself high targets. She advises potential franchisees to be aware of the local competition and prepared to come up against private cleaners and home-helpers, who will inevitably be charging less for their services.
She says: “Clients are paying extra for that peace of mind and a guaranteed, consistent service, even if their home-helper is on holiday or sick. I also emphasise that all of my home-helpers are DBS checked, which provides additional peace of mind, especially when dealing with elderly or vulnerable clients.”
“It’s really about the added value and enhanced service you provide. For example, I always attend the initial visit with the home-helper, to ensure they’re a good fit. Another benefit for the client is, if they don’t get on with their home-helper, they can easily request a different one through me, without any awkwardness!”
Lastly, Sam advises not to go out and do any jobs yourself, but to concentrate on building the right team to do the work.
“If each of my 27 home-helpers does a 2-hour clean, and I earn £5 per hour for each job, that’s £270 for two hours’ work!” she says. “In my mind, this is the only way you’ll earn decent money. I will step in if someone is off sick and I can’t get cover, but this rarely happens. My time is better spent managing the business,” she says.
What Sam loves most about Extra Help is the flexibility of the job and the fact she can work around her other commitments.
“I try to be available for new and existing clients when they need me, but my work/life balance is very important to me. This business has enabled me to do the school run, walk my dogs twice a day and be around for my daughter before and after school, I couldn’t ask for more!” she says.
If Sam’s story has inspired you and you’d like to learn more about owning a rewarding home-help and cleaning franchise, please give us a call on 01752 905790 to find out if your area is available.
You can also click here to find out more about the Extra Help franchise opportunity.