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Len Donnelly


Len has been with Dublcheck for over 10 years and his franchise covers the Shropshire area


What did you do before franchising? Before I joined Dublcheck, I spent 30 years in food retail management. However, this ended in redundancy and so I began to look at a number of other avenues. I could see other retailers restructuring as well and I realised that I needed to get into another sector.


Why did you choose a Dublcheck franchise? I looked at franchising with a few different companies to begin with. However, I felt that Dublcheck had the best offering when it came to finance, both in terms of the investment and the return I would get.


What is the training and support like? The training and camaraderie within Dublcheck is excellent and we all communicate with each other for help and advice. I help with the mentoring programme, delivering the training to six new franchisees.


What do you attribute your success with your Dublcheck franchise to? It has to be my commitment to customer service – word of mouth has played a huge role in generating much of my success. I spend the first week of any new contract working onsite and getting to know the client’s requirements. All my clients have my personal phone number so they know they can contact me with any issue they might have.


How has investing in a Dublcheck franchise influenced your personal life? In retail, it is all long hours and working weekends. Since I changed my career path and decided to become a Dublcheck franchisee, my work-life balance has improved a huge amount. I can now spend more time with my wife, Sue, and see more of my children and my eight grandchildren, as well as take more holidays with them without worrying too much about work.


Would you recommend a Dublcheck franchise? I would recommend Dublcheck to anybody. I also encourage people to go and visit the franchise exhibitions, where I help out onsite.


What has been your proudest moment? I was awarded a one-week holiday to Bellagio in Las Vegas for being the Franchisee of the Year at Dublcheck’s 20th anniversary celebrations in 2013. I took the holiday in 2014 and, with permission, I extended it into a three-week trip to celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary.


What are your plans for the future? I want to keep building my business and my reputation. Recently, I have been asked to carry out some cleaning on barn conversions. I don’t want to get so big, however, that I don’t have the personal contact with my clients and staff. I enjoy this element of interaction within the business a great deal.


Graham Hey


Graham ran his franchise in Leeds for eight years and now provides franchisee support


What tools do you use to provide support to franchisees? I make use of all the experiences I had as a franchisee; for example, I think about the problems I encountered and the ways in which I addressed them and subsequently resolved them. In addition, my understanding and trust in the Dublcheck organisation, gained over a number of years, has proved to be very helpful in giving new franchisees confidence that they are on track, particularly in their early days.


Does the members of the franchisee network support each other? Yes, through the various training and social events. There are many opportunities to build helpful relationships with fellow franchisees.


Before starting your current role in franchisee support, you spent eight years as a Dublcheck franchisee. Why did you make the change? Over the period I had grown my franchise from scratch to almost £400,000 per annum. It was a


profitable and mature franchise. By chance, an opportunity arose that allowed me to capitalise on that growth and increased asset value and sell the franchise and take the money. It was important to me that the people I sold


the franchise to were capable of sustaining and growing the business further. This has been achieved with the new franchisees recently hitting the £600,000 turnover mark.


How have you used your experience of being a franchisee in your current role? Just being there for the new franchisees, as someone to talk to who has ‘been there and done it’ is helpful. It can be a bit lonely out there by yourself and having someone to chat to about the issues you may be facing can be a reassurance.


How has your life changed since starting your Dublcheck career?


Without a doubt it was the best thing I ever did. Throughout my career I was always used to working within a rigid corporate environment


with well-defined reporting and performance requirements – the freedom and independence of the franchisee lifestyle has suited me down to the ground. I wish I had done it earlier.


Do franchisees need to have previous experience in the industry? No, everyone has their own background and they are all very different. What is important is the fire in your belly and the desire to achieve and make a success of the route you have chosen.


What sort of person do you think would suit a Dublcheck franchise? Almost anyone – we have franchisees from almost all walks of life and backgrounds. A Dublcheck franchise can be shaped to suit anyone.


What advice would you give to someone looking to invest in a franchise? Spend time trawling the market. Look for stability and look for continuity of operation. What’s more, make sure you have a good emotional fit. n


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