Poppies franchisee tells her story

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Wendy James has described her journey as a Poppies franchisee, from uncertain prospective investor to self-confident business owner. 

Wendy first considered becoming a franchisee when she received an insurance pay-out following an illness. Rather than go on a spending spree, she decided to invest the money. She said,

“Poppies just felt right. Everyone I knew either had, wanted or needed a cleaner, so it was clear the demand was there. I didn’t look at any other franchise models because I liked the sound of Poppies so much.” 

Before joining the franchise, Wendy had worked in antibiotic resistance research at Edinburgh University. After moving to Leeds, she wanted to build a business to benefit her family for years to come. She said,

“As a single parent, I’d never had access to such a life-changing sum of money before. It wasn’t enough for us to live off comfortably for years so I had to look at investing it in something that could make a difference on an ongoing basis.”

Before taking the plunge, Wendy discussed the process with Nigel Bayliss, a franchisee of the nearby Sheffield region, and quickly discovered more about the franchise model.

“I wasn’t quite sure what franchising was, nor did I have any experience within the cleaning industry, but… I was instantly put at ease after hearing about the benefits of being part of a franchise network. As I didn’t have experience of running a business, I felt confident that I would never have to deal with situations on my own.”

After shadowing Nigel at his Poppies cleaning franchise business and completing a training programme, Wendy was ready to launch her own in September 2003. Now, she has a client base of 200 households and a team of 33 cleaners, and can offer a few words of wisdom for aspiring investors: 

“My Poppies business gives me the freedom to enjoy the rewards. I now have free time to do the things I love. It’s normal to think to yourself ‘What have I done?’ when there’s so much to learn. But it’s equally as exciting to get out there, launch your business and start delivering the service.” 

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