From humble beginnings
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!
Fast forward to 1997, and things were okay. But just okay, with no clear direction. Freddie now had a wife and family to think about. So, Freddie decided it was time to get serious and start thinking like a businessman!
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.
A matter of life & death
In 1997 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, whilst there on a routine appointment.
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 120-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. 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
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 or qualifications to get a better job than the one he had as a cleaner.
First steps to recovery
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 in 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.
Success at last!
Freddie had hit on the perfect formula for success. Payment upfront AND no more cleaning for him and Ruth. After years of chasing payments and sometimes not getting paid at all, what a revelation!
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.
In 2000 Ruth 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 2001, the Time For You franchise launched.
Time For You makes national TV!
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. 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.
Possibly fuelled by this national TV exposure, the franchise continued to expand and in 2010 ventured into Ireland.
Then, in 2015, 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 in Australia, realising the cost could be offset against taxes and pay for his holiday overspending! 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 cleaning suppliers on channel 5’s cowboy builders.
Sam joins the family business
In 2009 Sam and his wife, Emma decided to join the business as franchisees taking over the Milton Keynes area. They quickly grew their business in the midst of the global economic crisis and soon Sam was being tasked with training new franchisees.
Sam was made a Director in 2013 and was charged with modernising the company. Since then he’s looked at improving all aspects of the business from training courses to software development. In May 2022 he was made the Managing Director and is in charge of securing the future of the company and has ambitious plans for growth of not only in the amount of franchisees but in the franchisees individual success.
The story is far from over
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!
Freddie and Ruth have 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 guide you through your journey towards building a business that supports the lifestyle you choose.