last updated 07/12/2023
Scaling The Heights
last updated 07/12/2023
Nepalese couple living the Kiwi dream as Cleancorp franchisees
Smriti Ghimire says that it’s thanks to their Cleancorp franchise that she and husband Manoj are living the dream of home ownership. The couple left Nepal for New Zealand in 2015 during a period when their Himalayan homeland was experiencing political change and slowly recovering from a devastating earthquake.
‘Newly married, we were looking to emigrate to a country that was safe, beautiful and known for kind and friendly people, like Nepal,’ explains Smriti.
Smriti is a microbiologist by training, and Manoj a physiotherapist. The couple first settled in Rotorua until the snow-capped Southern Alps drew them and new daughter Jyotsna to Wanaka, where Smriti took on a casual cleaning job. That started Smriti thinking about owning a cleaning business to help them get ahead.
Time to get serious
In 2021, the couple moved north for Manoj to study at Auckland University. Smriti settled into working as a technician in the food industry while Manoj found part-time work in aged care. ‘It was time for us to get serious about becoming first-time business owners,‘ says Smriti. ‘Commercial cleaning meant we could start with part-time night work.
‘I knew cleaning was pretty much stress-free – do it properly and you’ll have happy customers. But I wanted to go with a reputable New Zealand-owned brand who would find us the customers and give us the training and support we needed. After looking into six or seven, Cleancorp stood out for me.’
Cleancorp was founded in 1998 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest commercial cleaning companies with over 150 franchisees. It offers an affordable franchise fee from $33,000, which includes a start-up kit with everything you need. There’s a $2,000 +gst training fee, which covers two people, and the franchise provides a guaranteed monthly income for the first two years.
Understanding and helpful
Being a microbiologist Smriti says she was also impressed with Cleancorp’s commitment to using eco-friendly products. All this made her feel confident about getting in touch with Loraine Reinsfield, Cleancorp’s general manager.
‘Loraine is so understanding and helpful,’ Smriti says. ‘Once she was satisfied that we had the skills Cleancorp looks for, we talked about our ambitions and financial position. Her advice was to start small, with just two sites. This would allow us to learn the business at our own speed and fit in with my working hours and Jyotsna. Loraine also made sure our sites would be in Newmarket, where we were renting, so we weren’t wasting time travelling.’
With a Level 2 NZQA Certificate in Cleaning completed, and on-the-job experience through working with experienced Cleancorp franchisees, they were about to transform their lives.
In less than two years, the Ghimires’ first-time venture into business ownership has increased to eight sites including offices, a surgical unit and dental unit. With growth firmly on the agenda, they already employ one person full-time and several students as part-time cleaners, all trained by Smriti and regularly audited by Cleancorp quality control staff.
‘Cleancorp actively encourages franchisees to feel part of a big family, so we’ve made friends and if one of our team is away, we can ask others for help,’ smiles Smritri. ‘And, of course, we’re happy to help them out, too.’
The couple also help new immigrants ‘like we were’ to earn as they learn. ‘I introduce them to the New Zealand culture, teach them about health and safety and how to approach a prospective employer or customer,’ Smriti says.
Franchise key to home loan
When Smriti’s parents decided to come to New Zealand for six months or so to get to know their grand-daughter, Smriti and Manoj realised they had to move to somewhere larger. Even with two stable jobs, being a first-time buyer in Auckland isn’t easy, and Smriti says she has no doubt that the success of their Cleancorp franchise was key to getting home loan approval.
‘We were lucky to find the perfect house with room for my parents and other visitors and plenty of land for Jyotsna to run around,’ explains Smriti. ‘If we hadn’t had such a good business in a good franchise, I don’t think the bank would have been interested.’
Now the couple are looking to the future. ‘There’s really no limit to the potential of our Cleancorp business. We want to grow it until it’s no longer a side hustle but our main income earner, but we could also build it up to sell in just a few years. The choice is ours – and, in the meantime, we’re loving it.’
Following their lead
If you are inspired by the story of Smriti and Manoj, Loraine says Cleancorp has similar opportunities for you in Auckland. ‘You can start small and grow big, knowing you have the support and friendship of the whole Cleancorp team,’ she promises.
‘We have computer-based systems and procedures to make life as simple as possible for you and to help you stay on top of work and scheduling, so as long as you have an excellent work ethic and an eye for detail, this could be your perfect part-time business. Call me now – who knows where Cleancorp could take you?’
Contact details for Cleancorp
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