Interview with Mike Stringer, Housework Heroes
An Australian Franchisor Interview
Franchisors name: Mike Stringer
Name of franchise: Housework Heroes
Tell us about how/when Housework Heroes was started and the motivation behind establishing the company.
The business was started in 2001 and the main inspiration was the growing demand for household services.
When and why did you decide to go down the franchise route?
The business was set up as a franchise from the outset as the owners at the time had been operating the Car Care franchise since 1987 and had franchising in their blood from previous experience with launching Pizza Hut in WA.
What have been the company’s biggest achievements/successes to date so far?
That would have to be the opportunities that the business has created for people to realise their dream of operating their own business.
What challenges have you had to overcome?
I suppose the biggest challenge is getting to a size where you can compete with the larger players and to do that across all states.
What marketing/promotional tools do you use to grow your franchise?
We use the same tools as everyone else – website, radio, Adwords, referrals. The trick is not what you use but how you use them.
What differentiates Housework Heroes from the competition?
We operate in a service industry so our point of difference is largely determined by the quality of our people. One major point of difference is that, despite being National, the majority of our calls are handled locally so the customer gets to talk to a real person involved in the business.
In your opinion, what makes a successful Housework Heroes franchisee?
Our franchisees come from a wide range of backgrounds and are all individuals but if you had to select one thing the successful ones have in common it is that they follow the system.
What changes have you seen in your industry over recent year?
And how have you adapted to them? We haven’t seen many changes in the service delivery but there has been a huge shift in the way we attract clients. Five years ago we would have generated 70% of our enquiries via Yellow Pages. Now, with about 80% of our enquiries coming from on-line sources we have to constantly adapt our advertising to keep in front of our audience.
What does the future hold for Housework Heroes?
Home Services will continue to grow and we will continue to adapt our business model to stay at the forefront of our market.
What expansion plans have you got nationally and internationally?
We don’t have any international plans as we feel we have a long way to go in our home market. We will continue to grow our franchisee base to meet the demand for our services.
What advice would you give to someone considering franchising their business?
Make sure you do it properly and do it from the bottom up. What I mean by that is make sure the Franchisee can make money first.
If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?
I would have expanded more quickly.