From Football to Franchising

Phillip Wingfield from ServiceMaster Clean talks about life after professional sport.

Before becoming a business owner, Philip Wingfield played semi-professional football for Farnborough FC and Kingstonians FC.

Some career highlights included playing in the final of the FA Trophy at Wembley.

He now has a ServiceMaster Clean franchise, covering Kingston Upon Thames in Surrey.

He sat down with our partners at LAPS: Life After Professional Sport to talk, well… life after professional sport.

Phil’s start in football

“I’d had trials as an 18-year-old for Crystal Palace FC but hadn’t quite made it, so I’d ended up playing semi-professionally.”

“My teammates were people who hadn’t quite made it in the leagues above or former professional full-time players who were coming to the ends of their careers. Farnborough FC and Kingstonians FC were the two clubs I spent some time at.”

“The highlight of my career was probably scoring in the fourth round of the FA Cup or playing at Wembley in the final of the FA Trophy.”

“Match of the Day, that sort of thing; special moments.”

Joining ServiceMaster Clean

When Phil was 18, he started working for ServiceMaster Clean.

“I sort of fell into it by accident,” he says.

“But I swiftly realised it was good hours as I also wanted time to train and play football. I was working for my boss at the time. When I retired from football, I’d built a career doing it, so I decided to buy the franchise from him, as he was looking to retire. The timing worked out well. That was 20 years ago!”

Phil took over a business that was already well-established and had been working in it for 17 years prior, so he knew it had a solid customer base and was well-known in the area.

“I knew if I ran it as my boss had, it would be successful.”

Football vs Franchising: What’s the difference?

He says being sporty helped him when we took over his franchise because he was used to hard work, routine and discipline.

“Even at the semi-pro level, it’s a tough environment,” he says. “With people criticising you and that sort of thing, you’ve got to be quite thick-skinned to be successful in it.”

He adds that in this vein, sportspeople are typically cut out to be great franchisees because of the overlapping qualities needed to succeed in both environments.

“Sportspeople are usually driven people, they’re usually competitive, and they don’t like losing. So, you like to succeed in whatever you’re doing. And that’s why running a franchise is a good fit for a sportsperson. And it’s also allowed me to stay connected to football.”

At 34, Phil stopped playing semi-professional football and then didn’t play any football for six years.

He then got back into it playing veterans football at age 40 and played for another ten years.

“I only retired at 50 because of my knee. It’s veteran’s football, and I’ve played with a few ex-pros; we even won the Veterans National Cup!”

LAPS: Our partnership

Life After Professional Sport (LAPS) is a careers resource platform offering advice, networking and job opportunities for future, current and former athletes.

As official partners of LAPS, three ServiceMaster Brands UK brands – ServiceMaster Clean, TruGreen, and ServiceMaster Restore – are three of ten brands that work exclusively with LAPS to provide entrepreneurial opportunities to former athletes across different sports.

Looking for a fresh start?

If you’re looking for your next opportunity after a professional sports career, you might find your future with ServiceMaster Clean.

Contact us on 0116 275 9000 or book a brand intro call with our Franchise Recruitment Manager today for any of our three brand opportunities: