Expansion beyond Dorset on the cards after home cleaning service welcomes fifth franchisee onboard

Sam Acton, Founder, Domestic Angels (left), and new franchisee/Area Manager Vicky Holloway. Picture: Dorset Biz News.

By Andrew Diprose [email protected]

Published: May 25, 2023 | Updated: 25th May 2023

A home cleaning business is looking to expand beyond Dorset after welcoming on board its fifth franchisee.

Domestic Angels, which celebrated its 21st anniversary last month, has awarded the Bournemouth Central Parks franchise to Vicky Holloway.

As Area Manager, she will recruit up to ten ‘Angels’ and develop the business in an area stretching from Bournemouth Pier through the town and up to Winton, Moordown and Charminster.

Other franchisees cover Christchurch, Southbourne, Poole and Ferndown/West Moors.

Collectively annual turnover is around £500,000.

Founder Sam Acton, pictured left, said Vicky’s arrival had re-established the original foundations of the business.

She said: “Our pandemic recovery is now complete which means that the expansion to other areas is now going to be possible.

“I will have the time and energy to do that because I know that my proper foundations are in place.

“It was all going to happen a few years ago but the pandemic got in the way.

“We have had quite a few enquiries around the South Coast from Southampton to Brighton and on the outskirts of London.

“I’m quite happy to take my time with it.

“I’m hearing from some really great candidates and starting to have some good conversations but they take a long time.

“You really need to get to know each other.”

Vicky, 50, previously worked for the John Lewis Partnership for 25 years, latterly as a Department Manager, before taking voluntary redundancy last year.

She saw the Area Manager’s job advertised on LinkedIn.

Vicky said: “I knew Sam through sailing and thought this could be something totally different.

“I’ve never run my own business, never been self-employed and always worked for a company.

“But I thought if I’m not going to do something now then I never will.

“Now is the opportunity to try something different so we met up and had a chat.

“I was intrigued and thought: ‘let’s do it’.

“It was time to step out of my comfort zone of being employed.”

Services provided by Domestic Angels include weekly cleaning, spring cleans, ironing, general housework, home help and holiday home changeover management.

They can be tailored to individual needs rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Vicky Holloway.

Sam said: “Vicky is a franchisee and owns her own business, uses the Domestic Angels model, the IP (Intellectual Property), the processes, all the structures and then you just add Vicky.

“Vicky’s responsibility is to develop the business in the Bournemouth Central Parks area, to recruit good staff to come onboard.

“It’s giving people opportunities who need that kind of work as well because it’s very flexible and can fit around a lot of established responsibilities.

“Obviously it is also to bring onboard customers; people who have the same ethos and moral framework as us.

“They appreciate having employed staff, not self-employed, not black market and want to be looked after.

“I award a franchise – and I’ve awarded the franchise to Vicky because she qualified.

“Vicky convinced me that she could do it.

“I don’t go looking for people and saying I want you to be this.

“You’ve got to convince me that you totally understand what it is about and that you can do it.

“I hold those values so dearly that I don’t roll the dice very quickly.

“I haven’t spent 20 years building the reputation of Domestic Angels to throw it away overnight because I want to earn a few quid.”

Sam said the demand for domestic cleaning had more than doubled following the pandemic.

She said: “People went into lockdown and even if they were working, or schooling, from home they found that they had more time.

“Now time is the commodity that they don’t have when they go back to work.

“They can buy time by having someone to help in the home.

“Attitudes towards having help at home have shifted dramatically.

“Across Northern Europe it’s really normal to have help in the home and that’s been the case for years.

“Here it’s still been perceived as Victorian, a bit under the stairs and, oh, I can do it myself or the wife can do it.

“That has continued but the pandemic has actually  gone a long way to bursting that issue.

“It’s a big shift.”

Vicky said she had already recruited one ‘Angel’ and signed up two regular clients while dealing with plenty of enquiries.

She said: “It’s a learning curve but it’s interesting and very different and definitely not boring.

“Working in retail for 25 years also meant 25 years of working weekends, nights and over the busiest time of the year at Christmas.

“Now I have my weekends and my evenings back.”

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