Wilkins Chimney Sweep Franchise

Introducing Pierre Goodwin, the youngest ever member to join the Wilkins network.

14th July 2016

Wilkins Chimney Sweep was established 111 years ago, but there’s nothing 19th Century about its latest franchisee appointment. 23 year old Pierre Goodwin has just completed his training to become the youngest ever member of the Wilkins network, taking on the Guildford territory.

Wilkins Chimney Sweep was established 111 years ago, but there’s nothing 19th Century about its latest franchisee appointment. 23 year old Pierre Goodwin has just completed his training to become the youngest ever member of the Wilkins network, taking on the Guildford territory. Let’s find out what attracted this young, sport mad, mechanical engineering graduate to the world of franchising, business ownership and chimney sweeping.

Wilkins Chimney Sweep Franchise | Pierre Goodwin

What have you been up to for the last few years that led you down this particular path?

Well, my degree course taught me that I loved University, but that I didn’t want to pursue engineering as a career, much to my parents’ consternation. I’ve watched my friends start to try and climb the corporate ladder in London, and whilst I’m not knocking it, it’s not for me. I’ve had some pretty interesting jobs actually, from waiting tables, gardening, working at a Gin distillery and even considering becoming a full time fitness instructor.”

Investing in a chimney sweep franchise seems the logical next step then?

Why not? My Father has had his own IT Programming business for 35 years. I’ve  therefore always had a good understanding of what it takes to build a company and the kind of hours you need to work to stay successful. The idea of being my own boss has always appealed to me, but to have your own company you have to have your own idea.

I’m pretty confident in my ability to turn my hand to most things and I’m not scared of hard work, but I appreciated that there was a lot about starting a business that I didn’t know. Franchising stood out as an obvious way to start a business with a huge leg up the ladder in terms of initial training, mentoring, and ongoing support.”

I don’t think there are any Gin franchises, but there are plenty of fitness ones. Nothing in that area catch your eye?

Not really, but I have to admit that Wilkins Chimney Sweep may have appeared on my radar in a slightly unusual way. My Girlfriend’s Father, Nick, is a Wilkins Franchisee, in-fact he’s their highest earner and it’s been impossible not to notice just how much he loves what he does every day.

Wilkins Chimney Sweep Franchise | Pierre GoodwinThere was no big push from him to consider Wilkins necessarily, but he encouraged me to look into franchising as a serious option and pointed me in the direction of the British Franchise Association website.

I liked the idea that the franchises in membership had been independently assessed and accredited, so to me that felt like a very good place to start, especially given how many franchises there are out there.

Louise Harris (Co Owner of Wilkins Chimney Sweep) is on the bfa board, which again seemed to suggest they were very much committed to the idea of ethical franchising and actively involved in the industry. Combining those perceptions of trust with my conversations with Nick, it really felt like a great option to fully explore.”

What did your friends and family think of the idea of you starting your own business?

They were really supportive and all agreed that it seemed to be a great business model that had enormous potential where I live near Guildford. They know that I’m the sort of person that needs to enjoy what I’m doing if I’m going to be working long hours. Funnily enough, Nick was a fitness instructor before buying his Wilkins franchise, so I suppose my girlfriend might be worried I’m following his career path a little too closely, but she’s really pleased I’ve found something I can throw myself into and make a real success of.”

Presumably there was more to it than just calling Wilkins up and telling them you were going to take the Guildford franchise?

Yes. A lot more. Louise and her husband Peter (the other co-owner) were really approachable and keen to meet with me, but wanted to hear about how much research I had done and how serious I was about coming on board.

It’s easy to miss the point that this is very much a business partnership, whereby the franchisor has to believe in you just as much as you believe in them. Yes, you have to pay for the franchise, but they are investing heavily in you too in terms of training, trusting you with their brand and believing that you will be doing everything you can to grow your business better than someone else could in your territory.

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Wilkins Chimney Sweep Franchise Case Studies

Jon McDougall, loved his job so much he bought the company!
27th April 2016
Jon McDougall started work in 2013 as an employee of Wilkins Chimney Sweep in Newbury and has just become the latest franchisee.

Introducing Richard Bryan from Wilkins Chimney Sweep North Tyneside
5th September 2013
Whitley Bay man Richard Bryan, who spent nearly 30 years working in the local public sector, has become the latest to join award-winning...

Introducing Nick Ménage from Wilkins Chimney Sweep North Oxon
17th July 2013
Nick Ménage is married to Gillian, lives in Bloxham and has two children, Jessica and Georgina. Amanda. After 27 years of running a Gym in...

An Update From Mark Frost the First Ever Wilkins Chimney Sweep Franchisee
14th February 2013
Mark Frost from Wilkins Chimney Sweep Brighton and Worthing gives an update after 18 months in business

Adrian Steel - Wilkins Chimney Sweep (North Hants)
7th August 2012
Adrian Steel has recently launched Wilkins Chimney Sweep in Basingstoke.

Meet Mark and Justine, Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchisees
19th June 2012
Meet former Police Officer Mark and his wife Justine, owners of Wilkins Chimney Sweep West Suffolk

Up on the roof!
15th March 2012
Dave Connolly spent over 20 years running his own woodworking business before buying his Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchise.

Trading up the ladder!
14th February 2012
Meet John Parker, 47, who purchased his Wilkins Chimney Sweep Franchise in September 2011.

Wilkins Chimney Sweep Franchise

Further Information

Franchise Information

BFA Membership Status
UK Years Established
5 years
Current UK Coverage
Franchisee Support Staff
Personal Investment Req.
Total Startup Cost
Home-based business location Home-based business location
Business to consumer services Business to consumer services
Franchisee operates individually Franchisee operates individually

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I liked the idea of working for myself doing something more hands on than I had been used to as an ex-surveyor. Franchising gave me professional backup, training and an established name to use.

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