Surveying his work-life balance leads Oli to My Window Cleaner
Oli Ronan and his wife Claire moved from Kent to Cornwall to start their new business, in a completely different industry! For very good reasons, as he explains below.
I’d been a quantity surveyor since leaving university. I worked my way up in a big company, then went travelling, and went freelance after I returned. It’s been good to me, but I always wanted to work outside. After travelling and seeing the world, sitting in an office didn’t appeal quite as much!
So I wanted something outdoors, but also something scalable. Working as a contractor I got a taste for running my own business and I wanted to start something I could grow for my family.
I was walking along the Thames one morning and saw some happy window cleaners, plus I have a family member that’s in the trade. I began looking at franchises and found My Window Cleaner. I contacted Ian and, as they say, the rest is history!
Start up, scale up
The scalability was the main thing that drew me to MWC. The investment in the technology, Gloria, has been substantial – and having gone through the training, it’s a brilliant system. I’m a numbers guy because of my background and the level of data and metrics you can monitor is so good. I love the idea of running different marketing campaigns and having clear insight into which ones are working and which ones aren’t.
Also, being sensible, I’m not a window cleaner! I don’t have the skills and experience to build a round without any support.
The support I’ve already had from other franchisees, as well as Ian, Dave and Karen, has been unbelievable. You feel so confident when you’re launching. Things like understanding how your marketing spend is linked to new customers and what’s working best, that’s very exciting. I’m looking forward to building a sizeable business.
I’m quite young at 32, so while I’m in no rush to get out of the van and away from the cleaning, I definitely want to build a multi-van operation over time.
Seeking a better life
My family is 100% why I’ve done this. In my surveying career I knew where I wanted to get to, and when I got there, I started thinking: ‘What now?’ I was working long hours, often 14-16 hours a day, and I just wasn’t getting to see my daughter.
My wife Claire is Cornish and we always wanted to live in Cornwall. So when I had an accident that I was lucky to walk away from, it put everything in perspective for me: I was living somewhere I didn’t necessarily want to live, doing a job I didn’t necessarily want to do, and not seeing my wife and daughter enough. Those were the key drivers for me to make a better life for us.
Claire’s been fully supportive and will be a big part of the business as well, which we’re so excited about. We travelled together and when we came back I missed not being with her as much!
She’ll be running the admin and behind the scenes stuff. We’ve got a buddy group with some of the other franchisees who also have their partners running the admin side of the business, which is brilliant. It’s already been so useful hearing their experiences. It’s a common set-up with franchisees to be joined by their partners and it seems to work really well.
One of the main reasons I’m so excited about the business is that surveying’s quite a confrontational role – but I’m actually just a really friendly guy, I can’t wait for people to be pleased to see me! I love being friendly, I’m ultra-reliable and hard-working and I’ll get the job done to the best of my ability. I can’t wait to get started.