Safeclean by Guardsman are a leading UK cleaning franchise operator with 50 franchisees who are passionate about cleaning and caring for carpets and upholstery.
The company has been established for over 50 years which means their expert technicians know exactly what cleaning detergents and stain removers to use on carpets and upholstery to rid them of grime, dirt, dust and stains. Safeclean by Guardsman is part of the global Valspar Corporation.
Prior to their use of Franchise 360, Safeclean faced a number of challenges. Their current franchise software was dated: it only ran on an old version of Windows and it could not be updated due to a lack of support; installed locally so that it had no connection to other corporate systems or any form of central reporting; offline and could not be accessed whilst on the road unless you brought a copy on the laptop; limited: it did nothing but very basic customer / job details
Franchise Manager at Safeclean, Maria Hartnell explains that, left unaddressed these challenges may have had wider consequences “Increasingly, we became concerned about the stability of the existing system due to lack of updates and in turn we feared that this might make it difficult to recruit new franchisees.” Additionally, it was clear that the replacement of the existing system would be a difficult process: a number of other company systems “talked” to the old system; many of the franchisees were not confident with technology; local installs meant that a data import was required. Additionally, the old system contains large volumes of data and so the new system needed to be sizable enough to cope.
Safeclean decided to contact several software companies in early 2015. A first contact with Franchise 360 in January was followed by a visit from our technical staff to talk about requirements. Maria says “We had heard only good things about Franchise 360 at various BFA meetings. We were duly impressed by how responsive their people were and how they seemed to understand our business goals”. With the requirements in hand a draft specification for the new system was prepared which was then followed by a “dummy” demonstration of the system to the franchise annual conference. By mid-April Safeclean had made the decision to go with Franchise 360.
The new system is designed to provide a much wider set of functionality than the old system (effectively becoming a full management system for the franchisee) including: Customer and Job Management, Quoting and Invoicing, Email and Postal marketing and Intranet (forums and documentation)
As part of the build, the new system needed to import the data from the separate desktop systems. A feed was also set up to receive new and updated data nightly from Guardsman’s central customer database. The main functionality of the system is job workflow: this involves quoting, completing and invoicing cleaning jobs for customers. Crucially, the system is designed to prevent double entering of data so that franchisee efficiency is maximized.
Since Safeclean needed to extract and import the data from the old systems for each franchisee, they decided to take their time to migrate from their old software to the new. The process is ongoing but those who have made the transition fully are now doing everything on the system. Franchisee Ed Withers says “I prepare quotes on the customers premises and email them directly to them, invoices are also sent directly from the customer’s house. All jobs and quotes are managed on the central calendar and then we can use the client group and campaigns to do marketing.” Maria says “Given the difficulties we faced, I got a few sceptical looks when we first proposed the new system. I am delighted to say that those looks have stopped: the replacement is in full swing and is fulfilling its promise in every way.” As Ed concludes “It’s great. It’s made my day a lot easier.”