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Rainbow International: The franchise opportunity

A leading provider of disaster restoration and specialist cleaning, Rainbow International's franchisees boast revenues of over £35m...

Franchise: Rainbow International
Description: Disaster restoration and specialist cleaning experts
Started in: Texas in 1981; opened in the UK in 1987
Founder: Dwyer Group
No. of franchises: 66
Coverage: UK
Average cost per franchise: From £55,000, plus VAT and working capital

Founded by Don Dwyer in 1981, Rainbow International quickly became a flagship company in the Dwyer Group.

Success in the USA brought Rainbow International across the pond in 1987 and over the past 30 years, the franchise has become a leading provider of specialist cleaning and restoration services in the UK.

Today, Rainbow International within the UK is owned by ISS Group. The franchise continues to reinforce its stronghold on the country’s restoration sector.

Moving into franchising

So how did you move into franchising?

It’s a long story, but a British brewery brought Rainbow International over to the UK having gone to the US with the aim of finding a cost-effective cleaning company for their pubs.

Where did the business open its first franchises?

Our first franchise was opened in Mansfield, and quickly expanded across the UK.

Today, we continue to run the business from our Mansfield headquarters, where you can find our world-class training centre.

How successful were those original franchisees?

The fact that many of our earliest franchisees are still with us today speaks for itself.

In 30 years, our franchise network has grown exponentially. We  now have over 66 franchisees throughout the UK, with a combined turnover of more than £35m.

The franchise opportunity

What makes the franchise different/unique?

Firstly, our heritage in the sector makes us unique. We’ve built a reputation over three decades, and have the backing of a global brand to give our franchisees confidence in our pedigree.

Secondly, we operate within an extremely recession-resistant industry.

Specialist cleaning and restoration services aren’t subject to consumer trends; in fact, as extreme weather becomes increasingly common, demand for our services is growing…

What services do you offer?

Our franchisees provide specialist cleaning and restoration services to homeowners, businesses, insurers and public sector organisations.

From refurbishing properties damaged by floods and fire to niche cleaning tasks on any scale, we offer a diverse range of services.

How big is the market opportunity?

This depends on the ambitions of the individual as, essentially, the opportunities are endless. While our franchisees benefit from centrally-sourced work, successful franchisees actively seek opportunities in their region.

Each Rainbow International franchise territory has approximately 180,000 prospects, giving you an idea of just how big the market potential is.

How many franchisees do you have today?

We currently have 66 franchisees.

How is the brand marketed?

We work closely with our franchise partners to take a two-pronged approach to marketing.

Our team promote the franchise group and its members on a national level, as well as supporting our franchisees with marketing through local channels.

How do you divide the regions?

A franchise region – or area, as we call it – is made up of a number of territories. Each territory has approximately 45,000 households. Our franchisees can buy additional territories to increase both their earning potential and value of their business.

The perfect franchisee

What do you look for in potential franchisees?

We’re looking for commercially aware, driven and ambitious individuals.

Previous experience in business or the industry isn’t necessary, however it can prove beneficial.

Ultimately, we seek people who have the energy and intuition to build a successful franchise business on the foundations we provide.

So do franchisees work from an office, or are they home-based? Is it part-time or full-time?

This isn’t a lifestyle business; running a successful franchise takes time and commitment. However, it’s extremely rewarding – no two days are the same, and the job will involve work in the office, on site, and at home if you like.

While it is a full-time pursuit, you’re the boss and you set the hours so whether you have childcare commitments, or you have other responsibilities to juggle, you’re in control of the business and its direction.

How are franchisees vetted?

When someone decides to apply for a Rainbow International franchise, we support them through the process of developing a business plan and securing finance agreements, before introducing them to the directors.

At this stage, franchisees are vetted to ensure they have a robust plan and the necessary drive to move forward.

What do you offer franchisees that sign-up?

Franchisees receive a dedicated territory, full training and ongoing support, a branded vehicle and all the equipment they’ll need to get started.

How much do franchisees pay and what are the ongoing franchise fees?

The total initial investment starts from £55,000, plus VAT and any working capital required.

We also charge a management service fee of 9% and a National Marketing Fund of 2% of invoiced sales.

Success and growth

How successful are some of your franchisees today?

We have seen countless franchise success stories over the years.

Many have built businesses that have provided both an income and lifestyle they could never have hoped to achieve from employment. Just see the case studies on our website.

How is the brand looking to grow?

As a mature franchise, we have only a limited number of available territories to sell, along with occasional resale opportunities.

For us, it’s not about the quantity of sales but the quality; we are looking to grow with the right partners.

What is the potential of the business?

To give you an example, we have one franchisee whose annual turnover exceeds £1mHowever, surpassing £500,000 is an achievable benchmark for all franchisees.

What will the challenges be in achieving that?

As we’ve fine-tuned processes and systems over 30 years to provide a ‘business in a box’ for our franchisees, the only thing standing between our partners and their financial goals is themselves.

Drive and desire are essential for franchise success.

What awards has the business won?

In 2016, we were thrilled to be finalists in the BFA’s Franchisor of the Year awards.

To what extent are the founders involved today?  

There have been several changes to the business over the past 30 years, including the acquisition of Rainbow International by ISS Group. The group provides invaluable support for the franchise and its partners.

Finally, is the company a British Franchise Association (BFA) member?

Absolutely, we are proud to be full members of the BFA, and align ourselves to the ethical franchising values that the organisation stands for.


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