How to write an effective and reliable business plan

The essentials of writing a great business plan.

So, you’re ready to write your business plan.

First of all, congratulations on deciding to go into business!

The business plan is one of the first (and most important) documents to complete when starting a business.

Making it a good one is vital for many reasons.

Whether it is to apply for finance, attract a business partner or give you a clear path to achieving your business dreams, ensure that your plan achieves what you set out for it to do.

What needs to be covered in a business plan?

Executive Summary

The purpose of your Executive Summary is to make your business proposition understood by others.

Think of it as a short paragraph outlining what your business is and what it sets out to achieve.

Business Description

In addition to your summary, the business description should further detail your business’s purpose.

Here are some key questions to consider when writing this section.

  • What are the products/services it will provide?
  • What is its overall structure?
  • How will it achieve the business goals?

Market Analysis

This section is dedicated to the research underpinning your decision to go into business.

It includes market, competitor, and customer research.

It may be helpful to use SWOT analysis here.

People & Processes

Outline the people and processes that will be used to run the business effectively.

Organisational charts and process maps are your friends when constructing this section.

Marketing Plan & Sales Strategy

How will you attract customers/clients?

In this section, describe the activities that will take place to attract customers to enquire and buy from you.


Reveal the financial goals and expectations of the business in this section.

This proves the financial viability of the business.

Profit and loss, cash flow and balance sheets are good models here.

How a franchise model helps your business plan

With a franchise business like ServiceMaster Clean, you have the support of a world-renowned franchisor and nationwide brand.

As a result, the stress of writing a business plan is massively alleviated as much of the content is pre-established.

Can’t think of a sales pitch? We already have.

With over 60 years of experience in what we do, our proposition (delivering professional commercial and residential cleaning services to residents and commercial properties across the UK) is already set out.

As are our core services, the market, competitor and customer research.

ServiceMaster Clean’s systems for success have been tried, tested and proven to provide excellent results.

Our franchise models give you the support, tools, technology, and expertise in operations, sales, marketing, and recruitment to set up a thriving business.

Commercial Cleaning Opportunity:

The value of the commercial cleaning market in the UK was estimated to be around £5.6 billion in 2022.

So, you can expect an average gross profit percentage of 31%* and an average turnover of £1.1 million!

*These are projected averages based on franchisee turnover YTD 2021-2022, not financial certainties or expectations.

Residential Cleaning Opportunity:

There are approximately 27 million dwellings across the UK.

This multi-million-pound residential market consists of homeowners, tenants and landlords looking for a solution to maintain the appearance of their carpets, floorings and furnishings.

This means that by completing 423* cleans a year at a national job average of £133, you can earn £56,206 p.a.

*Based upon nine jobs per week, 48 weeks a year, five working days a week.

Working with our dedicated team, you’ll have support in your operational, sales and marketing activities to ensure you hit the ground running and are on the path to continued growth and success.

This includes a comprehensive starter pack that contains all the marketing and branding materials you need to make a great first impression.


  • Marketing and promotional materials
  • Vehicle branding package
  • Fully bespoke and maintained website
  • Pre-launch support from over 40 head office staff
  • Products, equipment, uniforms, stationery
  • Pre-planned Marketing Launch: local PR, Google Ads and a leaflet drop, targeted directly at your key customer base

As part of a franchise business, you’ll still be writing a business plan, but with the content and support behind you.

Don’t know where to start? We do.

There’s so much to get from a world-renowned franchisor.

Everything that we offer is to help you on your way to business success.

Whether that’s providing support with finances or giving you the tools for an excellent business plan.

Contact our head of franchise sales by calling 0116 275 9000 or emailing to find opportunities near you.

Homecoming: family returns to Scotland to launch new business

A family from Aberdeen has relocated back to its original roots to launch a new business following a substantial career in the oil fields of Canada.

Jim and Christina McPhail, along with their son Michael, decided to invest in one of the leading disaster restoration and emergency cleaning franchises in the world, ServiceMaster Clean. Now back in Aberdeen, the hometown they left back in 2002, they are each looking forward to launching their new business. The family all underwent substantial training at the ServiceMaster Franchise Support Centre in Leicestershire prior to the company’s launch and are now raring to go.

A former cleaning company owner himself, Jim McPhail said: “I had experience of the cleaning industry throughout the 90s and in fact, ServiceMaster Clean was one of our biggest competitors for the emergency cleaning work we were involved in. The time was right for us to move back and we wanted to start something that could involve all three of us yet offer opportunities for employment as the business develops.”

ServiceMaster Clean Grampian will provide cleaning and restoration services following floods, fires, accidental damage or escapes of water, as well as providing emergency response services such as removing dropped needles or glass from public areas. The company will also provide services such as clearing up after fly tipping and will work closely with the insurance industry to provide services for policyholders.

Christina McPhail added: “We’re excited for the challenge ahead. We’re trained and ready to go and we’re looking forward to building our family business together. We plan in time to add additional vehicles to our fleet and offer younger, local people an opportunity to learn new skills in this vital industry.”

Angus Dodds, brand operations manager, ServiceMaster Restoration Services UK commented: “Jim, Christina and Michael will be a great asset to the ServiceMaster Clean franchise network. Their work ethic and desire to provide a best in class service to their customers is second to none and I’m confident they have a fantastic future ahead of them.”

ServiceMaster Clean is a franchise of ServiceMaster, which launched in the UK in 1959, and currently operates in over 300 locations across the UK.

Newbury franchise celebrates 25 years in business

ServiceMaster Clean Newbury, a multi award-winning, commercial and residential cleaning franchise operating across Berkshire, North Hampshire and Wiltshire is celebrating 25 years in business, having launched in 1991 as a commercial contract cleaning franchise.

ServiceMaster Clean Newbury was established by local businessman, Nick Dee Shapland and today provides commercial contract cleaning, commercial and residential cleaning of soft and hard furnishings and domestic fire and flood restoration work. Nick, who previously worked in the agricultural farm machinery industry, has led the company to become one of the largest ServiceMaster Clean franchises in the UK, with a turnover of over £4.7 million, employing over 450 staff from its base  in Newbury.

Nick Dee Shapland, managing director said: “We’re very proud to have achieved this milestone anniversary and privileged to have grown and developed our business on our culture of Principles – People – Performance.  We are in a very strong position to grow the business even further, as our culture is embraced by our Human Resources department and our performance is measured through our Quality Assurance Management Programme. We continually invest in our people through training and provide them with the latest equipment and machinery in order for them to deliver an optimum performance.

ServiceMaster Clean Newbury has received numerous awards, most notably the British Franchise Association Customer Service Franchisee of the Year Award in 2013.  The company is a franchise of ServiceMaster Limited, which has been franchising in the UK since 1959, and operates from the ServiceMaster Franchise Support Centre in Leicester.

Alan Lewin, managing director of ServiceMaster Limited added: “ServiceMaster Clean Newbury’s longevity is testament to its quality of service and the investment in its people. Huge congratulations to Nick and the team on this great achievement.”

ServiceMaster Clean Newbury recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary with an evening at Newbury Racecourse for staff and ServiceMaster network colleagues.

Surrey cleaning company celebrates 45 years in business

A family domestic and commercial carpet and furniture cleaning company is celebrating 45 years of service to its loyal customer base across Surrey.

ServiceMaster Clean, which operates in Dorking,  Epsom, Reigate and Sutton and the surrounding areas was founded in 1971 by Micheal Ashenden and calculates it has cleaned more than 250,000 floor coverings in its 45 year history. The company is now operated by Michael’s son Andrew, his wife Sue and their business partners, Darren and Alison Perry, all from Caterham.

ServiceMaster Clean Reigate is a franchise of ServiceMaster, one of the world’s longest established franchises. The company provides a family-run, local service whilst having the advantage of a global franchisor behind them, who provide ongoing technical support and continual product development to ensure all ServiceMaster Clean customers receive the highest quality cleans available.”

Andrew Ashenden, director said: “We’re delighted to be celebrating this landmark anniversary and attribute our longevity to our high quality service and loyal customers. We work hard to ensure each and every customer receives the very best clean money can buy and we thank them all for their support over the years.”

Darren Perry, director added: “It’s a privilege to be part of a company that has achieved 45 years continuous service. We’re excited about the future as we aim to expand our business and ensure the floors, upholstery and carpets of Surrey are cleaner for longer.”

ServiceMaster Clean in Reigate, Dorking, Epsom and Sutton is a franchise of ServiceMaster, which was established in the UK in 1959.

Celebrating a quarter century of service in Dorset

ServiceMaster Clean and Furniture Medic in Dorset recently celebrated 25 years’ service for two of its employees, Wayne Goff and John Palmer.

The company celebrated in style with dinner and in true Furniture Medic style, presented both Wayne and John with gifts that had been hand-crafted by managing director, Robbie Taylor.

With a passion for steam engines, Wayne was presented with a print of a steam engine by well-known artist, James Green, in a bespoke, solid oak frame. Not to be left out, John received a crystal wine decanter, displayed in a hand-made presentation box.

Sharon Taylor, director said: “It was a great evening celebrating the service of both Wayne and John with the whole team. In this business we value our people and our longevity of service to our customers is a result of the great team we have.”

ServiceMaster Clean and Furniture Medic Dorset operates across Dorchester and provides domestic and commercial furniture and floor cleaning and all types of furniture repairs and restorations. The company was first established in 1987.

New owner for Southampton business adds 109% growth in first 18 months

A contract cleaning franchise operating across Southampton, Bournemouth and Poole has posted turnover figures with 109% growth after the company was taken over by a new owner just 18 months ago.

Businessman, David Cram, purchased the franchise license to operate ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services Southampton, Bournemouth and Poole (CS Southampton) in December 2014, when the company held a small number of cleaning contracts and employed a handful of staff. Now 18 months later, the company employs over 50 staff and handles 25 contracts worth over £300,000 per year.

Business owner, David Cram said: “I’ve worked for a ServiceMaster Clean business for a number of years and jumped at the chance to purchase my own company. The results we are seeing are down to hard work and a real focus to put our customers first. We add value where we can and our mission is to delight our customers so they recommend us to others.”

In January 2016, CS Southampton was awarded the contract to provide cleaning services to 12 sites managed by the homelessness charity Two Saints and is now providing free training to their clients in a bid to develop skills and help them gain employment opportunities. The training includes interview practice, e-learning and practical, on-the-job work experience. CS Southampton is also providing a cleaning service at Two Saints Enterprises in Southampton, free of charge, for the duration of its contract.

“I didn’t want to be just another cleaning company so I developed the idea when meeting with the Two Saints team. Cleaning isn’t glamorous but its honest work and all my staff have the opportunity to make another person smile and that’s what I love about what we do.”

Cleaning up – new owner for Derbyshire cleaning company

An established domestic and commercial cleaning firm in Derbyshire is set to grow after being taken over by a new owner.

Micheal Ireland, 30, from Retford purchased the ServiceMaster Clean Derby franchise after building his career as a lead technician with neighbouring business, ServiceMaster Clean Doncaster. A British Damage Management Association Senior Technician, Micheal has seven years’ experience in domestic and commercial floor cleaning and property disaster restoration. In the aftermath of Storm Desmond in later 2015, Micheal was working closely with insurers and homeowners in Cumbria to restore their properties back to pre-flood conditions.

Micheal said:

“Having been a technician for number years, when the opportunity arose to purchase a business of my own, I jumped at the chance. Being from the Midlands, I know the area well and now I have the chance to serve my local customer base. I have big growth plans for the business and hope to be bringing in new technicians of my own very soon.”

Angus Dodds, brand operations manager for ServiceMaster Clean added: “With his vast experience, Micheal is in a great position to make his new venture work. Being part of a franchise, Micheal has all the support from the franchisor ServiceMaster and the network of ServiceMaster Clean business owners across the UK.”

The company is part of the ServiceMaster Clean franchise network, which launched in the UK in 1959 and currently has over 100 locally owned businesses.


Established East Birmingham cleaning firm under ownership

A specialist cleaning company, which has been serving both domestic and commercial customers in East Birmingham and Solihull for 15 years, is under new ownership as it looks to expand and develop the business and its workforce.

New owners of ServiceMaster Clean East Birmingham and Solihull, Emanuel and Claudia Chiriac relocated to operate the company from their new base in Stechford and plan to employ new technicians within six months. The company offers a range of domestic and commercial cleaning services, including carpets, upholstery and hard floor; and specialist cleaning services for the restoration of properties after fire and floods.

Emanuel, an accredited British Damage Management Association Senior Technician, has 15 years’ experience in the construction trade and says he is looking forward to transferring his skills. “With my experience and knowledge of construction and damage management, we are well prepared to serve our customers to the high standard they are used to. As a team, Claudia and I are ready to grow our business, bringing employment opportunities and added benefit to the areas we serve.”

With a number of years in customer service roles, Claudia added: “Our priority is on customer service; ensuring that every customer receives the service they expect and deserve. With the ServiceMaster Clean name behind us, we have a duty to ensure that our customers come first.”

The company is part of the ServiceMaster Clean franchise network, which launched in the UK in 1959 and currently has over 100 locally owned businesses.


The Marion E. Wade award goes to ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services Stoke

ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services Stoke, which specialises in school and education cleaning, medical care facilities and commercial premises, has scooped ServiceMaster’s most prestigious honour ahead of over 200 other businesses at the company’s 2015 national conference in Warwickshire.

The Marion E. Wade Award of Excellence is the pinnacle of achievement within the ServiceMaster network and Tony Quinn, managing director of ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services Stoke, was quick to pay tribute to his staff after collecting the accolade.

He said: “This is a massive achievement for the company and is testament to the hard work of the entire team. The company has had a real focus to its work over the past year and we’ve won a number of high profile school cleaning contracts as a result. This award will give us an extra boost to achieve even more over the next year.”

Gemma Quinn, operations director for the company, commented: “I’m so proud that our team here has been recognised amongst the many businesses in the network. We pride ourselves on our quality of service in all sectors but with our growing reputation for schools and academies, our aim is to be the number one choice for school cleaning in Stoke.”

ServiceMaster’s managing director, Alan Lewin, added: “ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services Stoke has displayed the highest achievement in the pursuit of excellence and professional management in the ServiceMaster tradition. Tony and his team have shown superb results and they are a real asset to the ServiceMaster franchise network.”

ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services Stoke has been trading for 19 years and employs over 300 people across Staffordshire.

Winners of the Marion E. Wade award, first presented in 1985 and named after the founder of ServiceMaster, receive an engraved wooden plaque and an all-expenses paid trip to the company’s Partners Achievement Seminar in the USA the following year.