Freddie Rayner left school in 1963 at age 15 with no qualifications and no idea where life would take him. Freddie accepted he was never going to be rich. He was an average guy and fell into what many consider an average job - a cleaner. But he was his own boss, and as a rebellious teenager, that worked just fine for him!
Time to act like a business owner
Fast forward to 1997, and things were okay. But just okay. So Freddie decided to get serious and start thinking like a businessman – he had a wife and a family to think about. With no clear direction, he began posting leaflets through doors while simultaneously using his sales technique of telling the homeowner, "It's your lucky day…what would you like me to clean for free?"
It resulted in a steady flow of new clients, and things were ticking over, but he never felt any passion for his work. It was 'just a job'. He was never going to be a millionaire. And he rarely got paid on time.
In 1998, a catastrophic event led to a series of decisions that would result in an eventual meteoric rise as a franchisor!
While knocking on doors near Silverstone (home of the British Grand Prix), he was unaware that a few miles away, his wife Ruth had suffered a cardiac arrest in the local doctor's surgery in Northampton while there on a routine appointment.
A matter of life and death
Ruth died… literally died. But there is no better place to be than a doctor's surgery if your heart stops and they were able to resuscitate her. But she died again. The paramedics were able to revive her – again – and she was immediately flown to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where the prognosis was that she wouldn't make it through the night.
All the while, Freddie had no idea this was happening. That evening, he arrived home to find no Ruth. He had to use some logical thinking and eventually tracked her whereabouts, learning of the day's events via the staff at the doctor's surgery.
Thankfully, Ruth did make it through the night. However, the specialists were concerned that the lack of oxygen to her brain during the cardiac arrests meant she was likely to suffer complications.
The Rayners' 'annus horriblis'
The troubles continued. The 50 mile round trips to the hospital Freddie had to make every day for many weeks meant a complete drop in earnings for the couple. To the point where they had no money at all. Freddie took on local contract cleaning work as soon as he could, which he describes as some of the grimmest work he's ever done. He hated it.
A couple of months later, as Ruth started to recover mentally and physically, they decided to work together as a cleaning duo - so Freddie could keep a watchful eye on her. They took on 'end of let' cleaning for local estate agents and continued that for a few years. They settled back into a routine of earning 'just enough to get by', and Ruth continued to get stronger.
A new direction ended in disaster
In 2001, they decided to focus on commercial cleaning and were subcontracted to clean a hospital undergoing refurbishment. It was weeks of hard but rewarding work.
Finally, it was finished, and the £8,000 payment (a lot of money back then!) was due.
But no money came. The main contractor had gone bust. No payment.
Freddie held what he refers to as one of his alcohol-fuelled 'Pity Parties'.
He was skint. Completely broke. He allowed himself to sink into desperation as he considered the sad truth. At age 50, he had no money and no qualifications to get a better job than the one he had as a cleaner.
Time for some 'do or die' decisions
It's not part of Freddie's make up to wallow for long. So, with new determination and £200 from his mother-in-law to get some leaflets printed (she also agreed to pose for the pics in those leaflets!), Maid For You was born (no it's not a typo - the business was originally called this!) With not one but two HUGE differences to his operations. This time ALL payments were taken in advance.
And Freddie and Ruth would no longer take on all the cleaning work themselves.
Freddie's idea was to act as a 'broker' for clients. He tried his theory out one Saturday. He booked two appointments on the same day – because he couldn't afford to travel to the location on separate days. He told both potential clients what he was offering: to provide them with a perfect, fully vetted and reliable cleaner. For that, he would be charging a small fee, and the client would be responsible for paying the cleaner.
They agreed! Leaving both houses with cash from one and a cheque from the other, Freddie headed to the newsagent to find ads for local cleaners. With all the necessary due diligence, he chose a lovely lady who agreed to take on both cleaning jobs.
Freddie had hit on the perfect formula for success. Payment upfront AND no more cleaning for him and Ruth. His role was finding and meeting the clients and the cleaners, then matching them together.
He was astonished at the results, especially as nobody questioned his request for payment in advance. What a revelation after years of chasing payments and sometimes not getting paid at all!
Rapid growth ensued
What followed was equally astonishing. Demand outstretched their resource. Homeowners across the UK were asking for this service, and soon Freddie was racing across the country meeting with new clients.
It wasn't sustainable, and Freddie and Ruth realised what they had created with Maid For You was a perfect franchise business model.
A franchise business in the making
In 2002 they asked for guidance from a professional franchise consultant—nervously parting with £10,000 for his advice. It was a huge risk, and Freddie thought there was every chance he wouldn't see the guy or the money again.
But they did, and it turned out to be the best investment of their lives. Among the many gems, he suggested changing the business's name from the old fashioned sounding Maid For You. Freddie wanted something that described what they were offering. It was more than cleaning; it was giving clients back valuable time. And so Time For You became the company name.
Later in 2002, after a big publicity campaign, the Time For You franchise launched.
They sold the first franchise immediately for…£50! Not a lot, but a considered decision by the couple. They wanted to be sure the model they had created worked. It did, and as more and more franchisees came on board, they slowly increased the price. A year after launch, they sold franchises for £11,000 and five years after that, £15,000.
In 2003 the BBC featured Freddie & Ruth's story on its Working Lunch programme, using them as a model example of a Franchise success story.
Rapid expansion, without the pitfalls
Possibly fuelled by this national TV exposure, the franchise went from strength to strength. They continued to expand and in 2010 ventured into Ireland after Freddie responded to an online advert.
Then, in 2015, and although never part of his growth strategy, a serendipitous moment occurred while on holiday in Australia. When realising he had seriously overspent his holiday budget on that holiday of a lifetime, Freddie's business brain went into action. His solution was to sell a Master Franchise licence to a consultant in Australia, realising the cost could be offset against taxes and pay for his holiday overspend!
A year later, in 2016, would-be business owners in Norway were given the opportunity to buy a Time For You franchise. And around the same time, they were invited to be official suppliers on Channel 5's Cowboy Builders.
This time next year, Rodney, we'll be millionaires!
We're all familiar with that famous line from TVs 'Only Fools and Horses'. But this couple has gotten closer to achieving that than many of us can dream of. More importantly, Time For You has dozens of super-successful franchisees with many earning six-figure incomes WITHOUT cleaning any homes themselves.
It's why, as you'll discover in the rest of this pack, the Time For You franchise is one of the most successful in the UK FOR ITS FRANCHISEES.
In 2021, almost 20 years after Freddie's desperate Pity Party, the business has 221 happy franchisees across the UK, Australia, Norway and Ireland – with ambitious plans to expand to Canada, the US and New Zealand!
Could this be Time For You to join them?
Freddie and Ruth's story is far from over.
They've invested a lifetime of learning into their franchise model so that you can skip years of indecision and bad choices. They want to be there when your story begins. And there to guide you through your journey towards building a business that supports the lifestyle you choose. A few UK areas are still available for grabs... Is it Time For You?