Former Time For You Franchisee Sells Business For Six Figure Sum
In 2012, Zana Barros bought her first Time For You Franchise in North London, a challenging and competitive territory for domestic cleaning services. In her previous career, she worked in recruitment, child care and then later the banking sector, a world away from managing a domestic cleaning business. After being made redundant from her role in banking, Zana decided she wanted to create her own destiny and become her own boss.
In just five years, Zana grew the business, bought another franchise territory in St Albans and then sold the entire business for a six-figure sum! We caught up with Zana to find out why she chose to set up a Time For You Franchise and the secret to her rapid success.
“I didn’t want to work for anyone else anymore”
“After being made redundant I didn’t want to work for anyone else again. I wanted to set up my own business. My initial idea was to set up a child care agency using all my experience from my previous job but I thought this would be unfair on the director who trained me. I didn’t want to be competing with her.
My initial thought was to set up a cleaning business. After doing a lot of research I realised there was so much for me to think about including legal responsibilities, accounting, websites, all the upfront costs of setting up a business, I decided buying a franchise would be the best strategy as everything is provided for you from the offset to start trading straightaway.”
“I researched a lot of different cleaning franchises but chose Time For You”
“There are many different cleaning franchise businesses out there and I spent a lot of time researching them to make sure I chose the right one. I found Time For You and met with Freddie and Ruth Rayner, the founders, in person and soon realised they were a friendly and personal, family run business. I found out that there were a lot of other franchisees doing well too which made it an easy decision to choose them. The initial set up fee was manageable and pretty much the same as setting up my own company from scratch, but all the hard work would be done for me. The monthly fee to head office was also very low which would make it easier to manage my cash flow.”
“I made £35,000 profit in the first year”
“Once I had bought the franchise I received a start-up package with everything I needed to set up the business including websites, leaflets, marketing advice, accountants, absolutely everything. I also had two full days training and was given a mentor, Sam Stawarz, the Commercial Director of the business who also runs his own franchise. The team at Time For You were always available by phone and email should I ever need to ask advice.
Within the first three months I acquired 20 clients. I started the business just before Christmas so it made building clients a little harder, plus the territory I ran was challenging. In North London, there is a lot of competition. But it wasn’t difficult to grow and within the first year I had attained 100 active clients. You just need the right marketing and the right attitude. I didn’t take holidays for the first year, to make sure I kept momentum. I made £35,000 profit in the first year which is not bad for this type of business”
“Marketing is an investment more than a cost”
“I tried everything in terms of marketing, leafleting, Google advertising, upstands, Facebook, free advertising online, a wide range of different things. You need to try everything then focus on whatever works the best for your business. North London is a large area so I subdivided it into different territories because some approaches worked better than others depending on location. Closer to the city people reacted differently to marketing than people who lived in the suburbs. Overall Google advertising was the best tool for me. It is not cheap in London because of the competition but it is an investment, more than a cost, if it brings you clients and profit in the long run.”
“The first year was fantastic, I had money coming in which allowed me to buy properties abroad in cash”
“Due to the success of my first year I bought another territory in St. Albans. The business grew to a point where I couldn’t manage on my own any more so I brought someone in part time to help me with admin and an operations manager to help me out with day to day enquiries. It is not difficult to build client numbers if you provide a good service and market effectively. I really enjoyed running the business. The first year was fantastic as I had money coming in which allowed me to buy properties abroad in cash.”
The team at Time For You really helped me to grow the business. Regular meetings and workshops helped me motivate myself to keep pushing. They put on a lot of events including the AGM and dinner and dance which bring all the franchisees together. I have met some amazing people at the events and we all work together to share problems. As neighbours, we work together and even share cleaners. Franchisees and head office also communicate through the Facebook group to stay in touch and give advice and share experiences or funny stories.”
“The business gives you the opportunity to stay at home with the kids, to travel and still earn good money”
“Time For You gives you flexibility. I worked within school hours so I could spend time with the children outside of school. You are your own boss so you can work when you like and even take calls on holiday if you want to. The business gives you the opportunity to stay at home with the kids, to travel and still earn good money. I only worked during school hours and then took Fridays off when I had admin support. You can work as much or as little as you want to. It works well for families that run the business together.”
“I sold the business for a six-figure sum so it was fantastic for me”
“Just five years after I set up the franchise I decided to sell some of the business because I had a second child and wanted to spend more time with the children. Because my territory was so big I decided to divide it into three businesses, sell two of them and keep a small territory for myself. As a family, we also decided to relocate to southern Spain so I needed a business that I could run online. I didn’t plan to sell the entire business but I received an offer that was too good to turn down.
I sold the business for a six-figure sum so it was fantastic for me.” The most important part of making a success of Time For You is your attitude. Worrying doesn’t solve problems. You need to be decisive. If you have a problem like not enough cleaners, go out and find them. It’s not a difficult business to run, you can do it part time and take it as far as you want.
“With the right marketing and positive attitude, you will be successful.”