A Day In The Life – Bernadette Hanley

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Following a career in HR and banking, Bernadette Hanley became the owner of Minster Cleaning’s Birmingham franchise in 2002 with her business partner Kevin Jones. Months later the pair snapped up the neighbouring Black Country franchise. Together they built a thriving business which Bernadette now runs on her own. We asked her what managing a £3million-a-year turnover commercial cleaning enterprise involves day to day.

6.30am – 8am: I’m up early to go for a three-mile walk. I like to get the blood flowing first thing and it really helps take a chunk out of the 10,000 steps a day I’m trying to do.

8am – 10am: Once I’m in the office, I start by reviewing the previous day and sorting out any issues for the day ahead. We have around 500 contracts and employ 400 cleaners so there are a lot of moving parts. We use very effective systems that enable us to run a smooth operation and quickly cover gaps in service when someone is ill, but inevitably challenges emerge which the management team and I will resolve as quickly as possible.

10am – 12noon: Because the business is my baby, I oversee all the financial side. We are responsible for a lot of people’s incomes, so it’s really important we get this right. I could be checking the invoicing, chasing payments or costing new jobs. If I’m not doing that I’ll be getting stuck into my emails which never stop arriving, whether its job applications, client questions or speculative customer queries.

12noon-1pm: One of the great things about running a Minster Cleaning franchise is the network of fellow franchisees eager to support you. I have a couple of franchisee buddies who I speak to on most days, so when I have a spare moment I may fit in a call to share advice, talk through problems or simply say hello.

1pm-2pm: At lunch I’ll head out for another walk to keep totting up those steps. I may also pop into the local pub for a bite to eat.

2pm-4pm:  Every day is different and you have to get involved in every aspect of the business, which is one reason I love the job. In the early afternoon I might be heading out to see a potential client, or reviewing our previous month’s performance, including the effectiveness of our marketing channels. In the early days when we were getting established, I’d get involved with the cleaning if needed, although I’ve hung up my Marigolds now we have such a reliable team in place.

4pm-5pm: We’re always looking to evolve and enhance as an organisation and Minster Cleaning’s Network Support Centre is very supportive of that, so I’ll look to fit in time to strategise or work on improvement projects. For example, we recently implemented some new tech systems that will help us operate more effectively and Minster Cleaning’s Head of IT really took the lead and made it a pain-free process.

5pm-6.30pm: Once most of the team have left the office and the pace of the day has slowed, I use the extra headspace to focus on tasks that would benefit from a little additional consideration. If I need to email a client about an issue, I’ll have the time to add the personal touch that really builds positive relationships.

I’ll also check the finances before I leave, updating the purchase ledger and seeing what money has come in throughout the day. Then it’s a short walk home where family, food and, once a week, Irish set dancing take over.

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