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Wilkins Chimney Sweep Case Study
Meet John Parker, 47, who purchased his Wilkins Chimney Sweep Franchise in September 2011.
Wilkins Chimney Sweep Case Study
Franchise Information
  • BFA Membership StatusAssociate
  • UK Years Established7 years
  • Current UK Coverage15%
  • Franchisee Support Staff4
  • Personal Investment Req.£9,170 approx
  • Total Startup Cost£13,100 approx
  • Home-based business locationYes
  • Territory-based business locationYes
  • Business to consumer servicesYes
  • Franchisee operates individuallyYes
  • Part of a collaborative networkYes
Next Steps

Trading up the ladder!

John Parker, 47, purchased his Wilkins Chimney Sweep Franchise in September 2011. He had previously spent 10 years working as a Police Officer before emigrating to Australia where he did a variety of manual labouring jobs. On his return to UK he worked for 16 years as an Enforcement Officer with the Trading Standards Service before taking voluntary redundancy. He is married to Ruth and they have two children, Michelle 14 and Sam 12. He lives in Malvern, Worcestershire.

Wilkins Chimney Sweep FranchiseWhat made you buy a franchise business?

I was fed up with my working life being constantly affected by cuts and pay freezes so I took voluntary redundancy. I knew that when buying a franchise I would benefit from training and business advice from someone who was already a success in the field and in a job I thought I would enjoy too.

What made you buy a Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchise?

Having looked at several franchises I decided I wanted to buy into a relatively new organisation. I’d spotted some difficulties with the territory sizes offered by some more established franchise businesses operating in my area; joining a new business with larger territories made sense to me. I also liked owners Peter and Louise Harris and felt I could trust them; with such a big decision that initial feeling of trust was very important to me. Being a new and relatively small franchise I have direct contact with the bosses when I need to ask them a question, which is very useful; in addition the nature of the business and their professional aims suited me perfectly.

Have you done your training with Wilkins Chimney Sweep? If so how did you find it and what did you learn?

As we have young children and because my wife wanted to learn how to use all the systems as well, Louise kindly offered to come and deliver the training package for us both at our home, which made life really easy for us. We spent that week learning about marketing, IT and the accounting side of the business which was useful even though I’ve always hated paperwork! Following that I spent 2 weeks with Peter initially just watching him sweep chimneys and then, under his watchful eye, learning to sweep them myself. Who’d have realised sweeping a really sooty chimney could be so satisfying? I also had a half day Ladder Association course, plus training on cages caps and cowl fitting.

What skills do you think you need to be a chimney sweep?

Naturally you need good training and professional accreditations to enable you to professionally sweep chimneys and fit cages caps or cowls. You need to be professional both in your work and in how you treat customers and be happy to get hot and dirty sometimes. On the practical side you need to pay close attention to the safety of chimneys and wood burners for the benefit of your customers and a healthy dose of determination and fitness are needed to complete those particularly busy days we sweeps often get.

What skills do you think you need to run a franchised business?

First and foremost I think you need a willingness to take and follow advice from your franchisor, after all that’s why you chose a franchise. You need good attention to detail and to be efficient at dealing with accounts and documents; an aptitude for marketing is also useful. I’d also say you need a certain amount of ‘nerve’. Starting up any new business is scary stuff and luckily with a franchise the risks are that much fewer, but it can still be a daunting experience. I’m fortunate that Peter and Louise give me such great support.

What are your plans for the business in the next 12 months?

I plan to establish a good customer base that generates a solid and sensible income. I’d like to think that in year 2 the business will have developed and grown to such a point that I can consider taking on an additional sweep.

Do you think chimney sweeping is a recession proof business? If so why?

Yes, I do because it’s so important from a fire safety point of view to have your chimney swept. The cost of fire damage to your home caused by a chimney fire is so huge that it’s a totally false economy to skip on the sweep and most home owners do understand this. Also, many people have invested large sums of money in their fires and wood burning stoves and are keen to maintain their property; add to this the fact that many insurance companies now require a certificate of sweeping to validate a home insurance policy and this ‘need not want’ service becomes as recession proof as you can get in 2012.

What are you enjoying about running your own business?

I’m thoroughly enjoying being in charge of my life again, knowing that my efforts will mean my rewards. I also love sweeping chimneys and look forward to meeting new customers every day and giving them a first class service.

What support have you received from your franchisor?

I speak with them most days of the week; being able to ring Peter about any practical issues whilst out on a job has been invaluable and I’ve rung Louise so often with admin queries that I’m surprised I haven’t been told to ‘leave me alone’ yet!

Any other comments you would like to make

I’d like to see every franchisee in every franchise receive the same tremendous level of support I get from Peter and Louise. I’m now moving confidently in an area of work I enjoy and I believe the future of my success is up to me and the only question is, how big do I want my business to be?

To find out more about Wilkins Chimney Sweep Franchise just click below

Introducing Pierre Goodwin, the youngest ever member to join the Wilkins network.Introducing Pierre Goodwin, the youngest ever member to join the Wilkins network.

23 year old Pierre Goodwin has just completed his training to become the youngest ever member of the Wilkins network.

Jon McDougall, loved his job so much he bought the company!Jon McDougall, loved his job so much he bought the company!

Jon McDougall started work in 2013 as an employee of Wilkins Chimney Sweep in Newbury and has just become the latest franchisee.

Introducing Richard Bryan from Wilkins Chimney Sweep North TynesideIntroducing Richard Bryan from Wilkins Chimney Sweep North Tyneside

Whitley Bay man Richard Bryan, who spent nearly 30 years working in the local public sector, has become the latest to join award-winning Wilkins Chimney Sweep.

Introducing Nick Ménage from Wilkins Chimney Sweep North OxonIntroducing Nick Ménage from Wilkins Chimney Sweep North Oxon

Nick Ménage is married to Gillian, lives in Bloxham and has two children, Jessica and Georgina. Amanda. After 27 years of running a Gym in Banbury he bought his Wilkins Chimney Sweep business..

An Update From Mark Frost the First Ever Wilkins Chimney Sweep FranchiseeAn Update From Mark Frost the First Ever Wilkins Chimney Sweep Franchisee

Mark Frost from Wilkins Chimney Sweep Brighton and Worthing gives an update after 18 months in business.

Adrian Steel - Wilkins Chimney Sweep (North Hants)Adrian Steel - Wilkins Chimney Sweep (North Hants)

Adrian Steel has recently launched Wilkins Chimney Sweep in Basingstoke.

Meet Mark and Justine, Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchiseesMeet Mark and Justine, Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchisees

Meet former Police Officer Mark and his wife Justine, owners of Wilkins Chimney Sweep West Suffolk

Up on the roof!Up on the roof!

Dave Connolly spent over 20 years running his own woodworking business before buying his Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchise.

Mark Frost surveyed several franchise opportunities before choosing Wilkins Chimey Sweep FranchiseMark Frost surveyed several franchise opportunities before choosing Wilkins Chimey Sweep Franchise

Meet Mark Frost and find out more about Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchise.

From the Home Office to Home Working for Wilkins Chimney Sweep FranchiseeFrom the Home Office to Home Working for Wilkins Chimney Sweep Franchisee

Meet Steven and Anne Gallacher, Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchisees

What Our Franchisees Say

WILKINS CHIMNEY SWEEP have been very supportive in providing both practical training, and also advice on how to run a business with accounting and tax information.

I liked the idea of working for myself doing something more hands on than I had been used to as an ex-surveyor. Franchising gave me professional backup, training and an established name to use.

Why Choose Us

We are the only bfa accredited chimney sweeping franchise

Build a sustainable, ethical, saleable and scalable business

Annual repeat business with excellent cash flow!

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