On the 1st of October 2013 Claire and Andrew completely changed their lives.  They had moved to Devon from their Home Counties leaving friends and family behind, Claire was expecting their first child and they had taken on ownership of ServiceMaster Clean Torbay, Exeter and East Devon.  So we asked Andrew and Claire how they felt their first year had gone.

Q: So are you enjoying living in Devon?
A: “We love it and are really enjoying getting out at weekends to visit places especially as we have had so many friends and family come and visit.”
C: “It’s a great area especially to bring up our daughter.”

Q: So what made you decide to buy a ServiceMaster Clean in Devon?
A: “We looked at many different franchises before settling on buying this ServiceMaster Clean. We liked ServiceMaster Clean as it is a well-respected brand. This particular franchise area was well established with a good track record and we felt it was a manageable size and had potential for further growth.”

Q: What have you learned in the first year?
A: “Loads! We had a huge amount to learn as neither of us had worked in the cleaning or disaster restoration industries let alone owned a business before. Initially we set out to learn as much as possible about the services we offer, and the processes we use both operationally and in the office.”
C: “It was a steep learning curve at times, plus we became parents in December so as well as a new business we now had a new-born to cope with!”

Q: Have you accomplished what you set out to achieve in the first year?
C: “Yes – we wanted to maintain the high customer service ethos within the business and have recently completed a survey with our customers which showed that over 94% found our service ‘excellent’ and remaining 6% found us ‘good’.”
A: “Despite changes in the disaster restoration industry in the last year we are pretty much on track with the business. We are also focusing on staff training and I am attending some courses myself.”

Q: What has been your biggest challenge?
C: “Initially juggling a baby whilst assisting Andrew with the management of the business, this is getting a little easier now she is older so I can devote more time to being in the office!”
A: “Managing and understanding all the aspects that make a business work from finance, purchasing, marketing and service delivery!”

Q: What is your assessment of where the business is now?
A: “We are in good shape, we have an excellent customer base and our retention of customers is very high. The changes in the disaster restoration side of the business have put pressure on other parts of the business to deliver, but we are looking forward to our second year.”

Q: What are you focusing on in the future?
C: “Good customer service from when we pick up the phone to the actual delivery of the cleaning by the technicians. Ensuring standards remain high at all levels, at all times, is very important to us and something we monitor very closely to ensure we continue to meet our ‘Caring Experts’ ethos.”
A: “We have plans for business growth in the commercial carpet and hard floor cleaning sectors and this is something that I will be focusing on with our sales team.”

Congratulations to Andrew and Claire on their first year and all the team who have contributed to make it a success.