About WILKINS CHIMNEY SWEEP
After being handed down through successive generations of the Wilkins family, the company was purchased by Peter Harris in 1998. Peter’s background in retail management and financial services meant he was able to identify ways to develop the business, and grow his customer base to ensure a full time year round business.
Today WILKINS CHIMNEY SWEEP in the Newbury area has two full time employees and onepart time. They sweep in excess of 3,000 chimneys each year in private homes, pubs and offices with repeat business accounting for approximately 80% of these bookings.
In 2009, Peter, and his wife, Louise, decided they wanted to expand the business. Rather than recruit sweeps as employees, and having previously been Franchisees themselves, they decided to explore franchising as a potential route. Their past experience meant they understood the need for a strong workable franchise model and the couple sought expert advice from the start to ensure they got it right first time.
In early 2010 they met Clive Sawyer of Business Options, a well respected Business & Franchise Consultant, who helped to form what is now the WILKINS CHIMNEY SWEEP franchise model.
With a format established, Peter and Louise sought legal advice from Jane Masih of Owen White Solicitors; an expert in the franchise field, Jane drew up the necessary documentation including a fair and equitable contract.
In April 2010, WILKINS CHIMNEY SWEEP Limited was formed and franchise recruitment commenced in December 2010 – offering an excellent chimney sweep training opportunity with ongoing support in managing the business through a proven model.
On 4th July 2011, BFA provisional membership was awarded and in the same month, WILKINS CHIMNEY SWEEP awarded their first franchise – to Mark Frost. He started trading in August 2011.
In 2012 Louise Harris was awarded the NatWest EWIF New Woman Franchisor of the Year Award, recognised in the industry for ‘doing it right’.
In 2013 the franchise was a finalist in the Best Growing Franchisor category at the Smith & Henderson Best Franchise Awards.
By 2014 there were 10 trading franchisees ranging from as far north as Whitley Bay to south in Worthing, east in Cambridge and west in Warrington and the WILKINS CHIMNEY SWEEP network swept in excess of 10,000 chimneys nationally.
In 2014 Peter Harris was appointed to the Steering Committee of APICS (Association of Professional independent Chimney Sweeps) and Louise was reselected for a second term as a committee member for Member Services at the British Franchise Association.
The franchise was awarded the Best Franchisee Marketing Support Award 2014 by the Franchise Marketing Association and was a runner up in the Best PR Campaign category.
The franchise model was enhanced in 2014 to include the WILKINS POWERCLEAN brand helping to drive a year round business and assist franchisees in expanding their business to a second van.
In 2017 the team is 14 franchisees trading from Whitley Bay to Worthing and many points in between. Three franchisees have a second van on the road and one franchisee runs two territories.
Wilkins have had finalists in the bfa Franchisee of the Year Awards for three consecutive years – 2015 (Adrian in Hampshire), 2016 (Richard in Tyneside North) and 2017 (John in West Cheshire) and one winner! Richard Bryan won the bfa Franchisee of the Year 2016 Microbusiness category .
And in 2017, Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchisee feedback resulted in us being shortlisted for the 2017 Best Franchise Awards (Man in a Van category).
Details of our Franchisees can be found on our operations website – Wilkins Chimney Sweep.