Edden Jones is a man who does detail, who likes order and processes, who’s at his happiest when things are being done properly.
So it’s quite a compliment to cleaning company Poppies that Edden, a senior railway engineer, has changed track and become its latest franchisee.
“I never really felt being a design engineer was the right fit for me,” says Edden, who’s Poppies’ new franchisee in York.
“A lot of the stuff I was doing was very abstract, just sitting at a computer, chained to my desk for eight hours a day.
“I wanted to do something a bit more real, where you’re dealing with people more, and I had a long-held dream to own my own business.”
Why a franchise?
It took him several years to decide what to do, but he did know his new business would have to be a franchise.
“Franchises appeal to me because, with my background in engineering, I like process and order. I’m not an innovator but am good at following a system, and I wanted support, which is a big thing in franchising.
“I wanted a business that’s easy to set up, easy to run, and scalable. I didn’t want it to be a one-man-and-van business as I had ambitions to grow it to a decent size which meant it had to have growth potential.
“Cleaning fitted that model. I heard about Poppies through the British Franchise Association, and my first impression was that it was a really professional, really well-set-up company whose values aligned with mine.
“I asked for details through Poppies’ website and had an initial call with their recruitment team.
“We had Skype calls, countless questions, a lot of back and forth, and months of getting to know each other.
“It was as much about Poppies getting to know me to make sure I’m the right fit for them as it was the other way around.
“I wanted to know more, so I spoke to existing owners and spent an afternoon with the Doncaster franchisee just to get a flavour of what the business was like on a day-to-day basis.”
Edden on his first 7 weeks
Edden, who opened his doors in January, says his first seven weeks of trading have gone fantastically – far better than he’d hoped.
“We’ve just brought on our eighth regular customer, we’ve done three one-off cleans of two days each, and we now have the equivalent of two full-time cleaners.
“It’s been a whirlwind and gone really well. It’s a steep learning curve, and I’m loving it. Every day I wake up and I’m excited to get started. That’s a great feeling.
“Having worked in a job where I felt at times I was just going through the motions, it’s such a change.
“I really like the freedom of being in control of my time. In my previous job I had to be at my desk from eight to five. This afternoon the sun’s out and I’ve taken the dog out for half an hour. I couldn’t have done that before.
“I’m not working stupid hours at all. It’s very manageable. The work-life balance is a lot better. It’s been fantastic and I haven’t struggled at all.
“I have the backing of the franchise which is a huge advantage. I wouldn’t be this far ahead if I were on my own. I can definitely say that.
“Another reason I chose Poppies was the longevity of their business They’ve been going 40 years plus and that stood out to me.
“This isn’t a fly-by-night company. They know what they’re doing to be in business that long.
“Some of them have been doing this for 25 to 30 years, and if I have any problems, they have the experience and can advise the best way forward.”
Edden hopes, eventually, to put in a day-to-day manager so he can take a strategic role as a director, steering the ship rather than being hands-on.
And he has ambitions to take on a second territory once he’s proven himself in his current patch which serves all of York inside the ring-road, the local equivalent of the M25.
“I’m 100% glad I took the jump,” he says. “I’ve no regrets at all. The support I’ve received has been amazing.
“I speak to Chris, the founder of Poppies, several times a week. He always has time for me and is always at the end of the phone. The whole set up of the business is so professional.”