When A Natural Affinity To Help
Became a business opportunity ...
Posted on: 22/02/2013 By: Claire Robinson
Following on from our theme over the last few weeks of hearing what our franchisees have to say, this week we hear from Claire Harris who owns two Extra Help franchises one in Milton Keynes and the other covering Buckingham, Bicester, Towcester and Brackley ...
Claire is a helper by nature, it's what Extra Help was set up to do
When a busy mother of three took on extra work alongside a full time job, little did she know this would be the start of a new life, as the owner of her own business that would build her confidence and put her in charge of her own destiny, while doing something that was right - helping others.
Claire Harris has been the Franchisee for Extra Help in Buckingham since June 2012 and for Milton Keynes since January 2013. She loves being her own boss and manages a team of domestic helpers that look after clients who need a little extra help in their homes like cleaning, ironing, walking the dog and shopping.
Claire has lived in Milton Keynes since 2000 and previously worked with Sarah Jackson, Joint Managing Director of Extra Help, as part of Sarah's cleaning business for several years.
The situation, domestically for Claire, was tough. She was working full time, looked after three children and had a terminally sick husband to care for. In order to make ends meet, Claire, in addition to her full time job took on additional work for Extra Help early in 2012. It didn't take long for Claire to see the potential for taking on an Extra Help franchise, focus on running one career full time to guarantee the income, enable her to manage her own home life better and do something more fulfilling.
Claire took on the Buckingham franchise in July 2012, sadly the same month that her husband died. The dedicated support, advice and encouragement from both Sarah Jackson and Claire Robinson, has not only helped her get through a very difficult and emotionally distressing time, but also helped her franchise to flourish.
Claire saw the following opportunities as an Extra Help franchise as;
She was already signing up clients in her part time work for Extra Help - she knew she could do this quickly and easily.
This was a recession-proof business - with our 24-7 demanding lifestyles and an aging population, most people needed some extra help at some time.
Good reputation and trust - she had already worked with Sarah Jackson and knew that she was ethically sound. Claire trusted her and found that trust has been well placed.
She was part of a team - Claire Robinson and Sarah Jackson, Joint Managing Directors of the business, provide advice and support at the end of the phone and face to face, whenever required. Very helpful as Claire hadn't run her own business in the past.
A strong brand identity - that positioned the business well to the potential customers in Buckingham that would help to combat competitors.
She was her own boss - and it gave her the confidence to drive the business forward and generate her own income.
So what prompted her to 'go for it'?
"I had thought about buying an Extra Help franchise for some time before I actually made the decision to go ahead. Extra Help is such a unique service and it's not for everyone. You have to be a certain type of person to buy an Extra Help franchise. I am a helper by nature, helping people is what I do, it's what Extra Help was set up to do. It's important to me that I work within a company whose values and ethics reflect my own, and at Extra Help caring, kindness and understanding are the key points."
So does she have any regrets?
She continues, "I have loved every minute of buying my franchise, yes it is hard work and long hours, and the first few months are the hardest, but I knew it was going to be from talking to the franchisors, who are honest and upfront about the business and don't try to sugar coat the pros and cons just to sell a franchise. The continued support from the franchisors is also a big selling point for me. It's like being your own boss, but if you get stuck or unsure at any time the franchisors are right behind you to guide you through."
So what about the future?
"We provide the service that suits the client's needs as an individual, not everyone is the same and not everyone needs the same service. I think it's good for people to know they can use us as and when they need us, short term or long term, it's all about the client's needs. And we can help anybody at any age; we all need a little Extra Help at some point.
I would wholeheartedly recommend Extra Help to anyone, I am very passionate about what I do, and the service we provide can make a huge difference to people's lives, there are not a lot of companies out there that treat its customers as individuals.
I am finally where I am supposed to be."
If you need help for yourself or a family member in Milton Keynes contact Claire on +44 (0) 845 219 8976 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For help in Buckingham, Bicester, Towcester and Brackley then you can email her on email@example.com
If you are interested in running your own business, finding out more about what's involved with running a franchise business and running one in the home help sector, please call Claire Robinson or Sarah Jackson on +44 (0) 845 618 2904 or click here to ping over an email to arrange an initial meeting and conversation to find out more.
Until next time ...
Claire is a serial entrepreneur having successfully established a networking group, a magazine advertising company and a building contracting company over the past few years.
Now living in Cornwall and handling Extra Help operations countrywide, Claire has a passion for business and is determined to grow Extra Help into a nationwide brand.