How one man quit the daily grind in a cafe for bigger profits with a Kleenit franchise.
For many, the idea of owning a business – and the freedom that comes with it – is very appealing, but there doesn’t seem to be a straightforward way to make the leap into a new endeavour. Neal Munson made two pretty large career leaps, including a move to Australia from the UK, eventually finding the right balance for lifestyle and income with a Kleenit franchise, and a turnover nearing AUD$1,000,000/annum in recent years.
Not a tradie by trade, before he began with Kleenit he admits: “I’d never done a manual day’s work with a tool. Never, apart from painting some bits and pieces around the house.”
Neal started his working life at 18 as a salesperson for a printing company. He went with the company as they moved into London, became a sales director, and then took on a similar role when moving to Australia.
“Then I chucked in the towel and said we’re going to go for a lifestyle change with the cafe.”
He became the co-owner of a small sandwich shop and cafe in Perth, but eventually could feel it was time to move on. In fact, looking at the numbers it was clear that the business was not going to be able to adequately support the families of both owners.
Neal saw that it was time to go silent partner, stop making coffees, and look for other opportunities. In 2006, the chance to own a Kleenit territory in WA became a possibility.
“I knew the people,” he says, “but then when I looked into the figures I was quite comfortable with it.”
After signing on and equipment training, Neal started with pressure washing. It was only a few short months before he picked up a large contract for anti-graffiti coatings.
“I started doing small jobs. Then a big project came up in my area, valued upwards of a few hundred thousand dollars: graffiti protection for noise walls and bridges. That initial big job also introduced me to a big part of my network, the project managers and supervisors that help me know what work might be coming up.”
Franchisees get more freedom and family time with Kleenit
Kleenit has become a family business for Neal. His first son worked alongside him for a few years until he was 21. “My younger son went to uni, didn’t really fancy it, and is now a part of the business. And can run a team of four or five guys when I’m away.”
Neal says he enjoys the freedom of being able to go away for two or three months of the year, but that he is definitely a workaholic: “I never turn my phone off.” He explains, “When I’m away, my son will take the lead on doing the physical work, but I’m an early riser, so I’ll get on the email at 3am in Europe to organise my paperwork, then the rest of the day is mine to enjoy.”
Of the 20+ services that Kleenit offers, Neal specialises in protective coating, pressure washing and technical graffiti removal.
The Kleenit franchise product base is broad, with training available to upskill to offer new services. They’re trade skills that anyone can master with practice. But Kleenit franchisees come from a wide variety of backgrounds, from bakers to bankers, sparkys to scaffolders, and many who’ve had an experience in management or owning a business.
Tips for starting a Kleenit franchise
Over 14 years as a Kleenit franchisee, Neal’s success is a mix of working hard and smart.
“Kleenit has an excellent reputation, the systems are very very solid, they’re backed by three types of ISO, which is a huge benefit when you’re going for contractual work for big civil contractors or government bodies. That’s a big plus as a franchisee.”
For Neal, responsiveness has proved to be one of his most powerful tools. “I try to expand my business through my contacts, and where jobs come through from head office I try to respond as quickly as possible. I think a fast response time can sometimes be what wins the work. The Kleenit job logging system means that requests come through very quickly, so if you want to be a responsive franchisee, that is a big bonus.”
He admits that a franchisee needs to put the effort in, like any business, but the support of the Kleenit brand is a huge benefit.
“The backup is very good, the reputation is very good. It’s well organised, the processes: everything works. It’s a brilliant brand and a great service. It’s been going for 25 years with outstanding processes, with great credentials.
“You need to have some working capital and put in the work, but if you’re organised, you can sell, and you’re physically fit enough to do the job, there are big opportunities without a shadow of a doubt.”
To find out about becoming a Kleenit franchisee, and claim a territory in your region, contact Kleenit head office on 1800 255 336, or search our franchise opportunities.