Wilkins Chimney Sweep Signs Up First Three Franchisees

In record time, Newbury based Wilkins Chimney Sweep have already awarded their first three franchises, in an exciting new direction for the company that began trading in 1895.

Wilkins, who have been sweeping the chimneys of Newbury’s residential and commercial premises for over 116 years, recognised that more and more households were turning to wood burning stoves and open fires as heat sources, in response to the steep increase in gas, electricity and oil prices, consequently increasing demand for their chimney sweep services.

Louise Harris, Franchise Director at Wilkins Chimney Sweep said: "As one of the longest established chimney sweeps in the country we noted a marked increase in people using wood and coal fires, making it an ideal time to franchise this already well known and successful business. We pride ourselves on our professional approach to chimney sweeping and, following extensive training, all our franchisees will be HETAS registered and members of APICS (Association of Professional Independent Chimney Sweeps)."

Louise continued: "We are absolutely delighted to have signed up our first three franchisees so quickly. Mark, Dave, Steven and Anne are all great characters and we are confident that following their training and with ongoing support from us, they will be highly successful in their Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchise businesses. We have recently become provisional members of the British Franchise Association and by meeting the exacting standards laid down by the association we are further underlining our commitment to running a highly professional operation, and are delighted to be the only chimney sweep franchise in the country to be members. We will be exhibiting at the The National Franchise Exhibition at the NEC, Birmingham from September 30 to October 1 2011, and look forward to meeting more potential new franchisees at the event."

Their first franchisee is Mark Frost, an ex-surveyor who will run Wilkins Chimney Sweep Brighton and Worthing. Their second franchise awarded was to ex-small business owner, Dave Connolly from Stourbridge in the West Midlands, who will be running Wilkins Chimney Sweep Black Country. Completing the trio of franchisees was Steven Gallacher, who was made redundant from a civil service position earlier in 2011, and will be running Wilkins Chimney Sweep Cambridge with his wife Anne.

Peter and Louise met Steven, Anne and Mark when they visited their stand at a franchise show in London, and were contacted by Dave when he read about their business online.

Peter Harris, who is a member of APICS and NACS (National Association of Chimney Sweeps) and Managing Director of Wilkins Chimney Sweep said that this was an exciting new venture for the company he took over in 1998. "Chimney sweeping is good honest work that would suit anyone who enjoys working with people in a variety of locations and doesn’t mind getting a bit grubby. With insurance companies now requiring policy holders to have their chimneys swept regularly, we have seen a steady increase in business over the past 24 months. We are delighted to welcome Mark, Dave, Steven and Anne into the Wilkins Chimney Sweep family, and, following this ringing endorsement of the Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchise offer, we are really excited about expanding our franchise operation further in the future."