The Silicon Review
In the technologically advanced world we live in, on-demand apps are gaining immense traction and have managed to supersede traditional industries. From the way we eat, travel, and shop, every action of ours has all managed to get a modern touch. Apart from the mentioned segments, entrepreneurs are now modernizing the on-demand services to ease the work of searching and hiring professionals to receive quality services. Various services like plumbing, AC servicing, home cleaning, washing machine repairing, refrigerator mending, and so on are just a click away in recent times. These on-demand applications provide one-stop solutions for consumers and local vendors to deal with household services.
Globally various companies are providing excellent on-demand services, but Fantastic Services stands out from the rest. Fantastic Services was launched in 2009 when Anton Skarlatov and Rune Sovndahl met at a dinner party. Shortly after realising that they can provide home services in a much better way, by using just two laptops, a sofa and a shared mobile phone they launched the company with an investment of about £5,000. Today, Fantastic Services has over 530 franchisees operating on three continents and monthly servicing more than 50,000 customers. Fantastic Services is getting stronger day by day with over 27,000 active club members and a huge loyal base of returning customers who enjoy numerous benefits, special pricing, and deals. Today, Fantastic Services is a one-stop shop for over 100+ services, including cleaning, gardening, tradespeople, builders, removals, waste removal, pest control, appliance repair, inventory, locksmith, and more. The list is long, and it’s getting longer with time.
In conversation with Anton Skarlatov, CEO and Co-Founder of Fantastic Services
Q. Do you maintain a database of candidates already pre-screened to accelerate the search process without affecting the quality of your service?
At the very core of Fantastic Services is the commitment to provide the highest quality service to our customers. This is one reason why we decided to become a franchise, not only to support people to build a successful business but also to establish consistently high service standards for all our customers in each location. Recruiting the right franchisees is key to maintaining those standards. All our franchisees are selected very carefully and undergo thorough training through our digital training platform Fantastic Academy. The recruitment process itself is designed to select the most appropriate candidates for each service and franchise package. We offer three franchise models. Working franchise – where the franchisee manages a small team and delivers services, and we handle everything else from marketing and SEO to customer service and even accounting. Area Development franchise gives the franchisee exclusive rights to represent the company in a large territory and develop the brand by recruiting and managing working franchisees. And finally, the Master franchise allows bringing the Fantastic brand to a whole new country.
We normally have a pipeline of candidates applying to become franchisees, and we select them based on well-thought-out criteria for each service group. At the same time, our onboarding process eliminates any gaps and ensures that the minimum quality standards are met. The timeline of starting a franchise with Fantastic Services varies depending on the model of a franchise the person/entity is interested in, their resources, the country or territory they’re going to operate in, and many other factors. With the working franchise model, a new franchisee gets on the field in two weeks, while Area Development and Master franchise agreements take at least a month.
Q. How do you maintain a strong relationship with franchisees and how does feedback help you?
Many of our competitors and other companies discover that ‘family feeling’ can suffer a significant blow as they grow. It is quite a challenge to simultaneously improve the business and still hold on to that team dynamic that was an essential part of getting the whole business off the ground. At Fantastic Services, we meet this challenge every day. Our franchisees operate in different industries and have various challenges. We admire how different all our franchisees are, while at the same time, we continue to foster family values. In the past 12 years, we’ve created a Fantastic community of young, innovative, and motivated people with whom we reach new heights every day. The truth is, no matter how big we get, we’ll always care about our Fantastic Family. At the end of the day, family is not only about joy, but it also takes a lot of work and responsibility.
Q. Growing the company based on employees’ passions must be the priority. Do you ask your employees what they are interested in doing and how they would like to see their career unfold?
The idea behind Fantastic Services was to build something that is simple and yet delivers the best service for all clients, franchisees, cleaning crews and HQ employees. That’s what the 360-degree happiness philosophy is about. The company’s priority is to ensure all parties have everything they need to provide exceptional quality services. We constantly encourage employees to think proactively about their emotional wellness and physical health by organising different activities and workshops. Our Area Development and Master franchisees have personal coaching sessions that help them unfold their entrepreneurial potential, develop a stable business and reach their personal goals.
Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?
We offer more than 100 services for the home and office and are always on the lookout for the next service we can make Fantastic. Last year, we launched several new services in response to the Covid pandemic - Antiviral sanitisation and disinfection, minimal contact services, and home deliveries. A new service we are currently launching in Australia is bathtub restoration. It’s a highly effective service that can render an old bathtub all shiny and looking new. This will then be rolled out onto our other locations. Next in line are mobile valeting and mobile car wash, mobile PC repair and much more. We have an in-house team of experts who have the knowledge to adapt the services to our customers’ needs through technology. Nowadays, and especially after the coronavirus outbreak, we ensured that our business model is adaptive enough to stay relevant in this ever-changing environment.
Q. What does the future hold for your company and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?
Global expansion: During the past year, we’ve significantly expanded our franchise network across the UK, as well as internationally, with over 30 new Area Developer and Master franchisees since the beginning of 2020. We believe that this is just the beginning. Our goal is to expand our franchise to 40 countries in the next five years.
The million-pound mission: While addressing the current topics of the pandemics, we also decided it was time to create our vision for the future, challenging people to think ahead and beyond. We set ourselves the mission to help 1,000 people build a successful business worth £1 million in the next ten years. With several of our franchisees already hitting this benchmark, this vision attracted a lot of attention from outside the franchise community and contributed to advancing the cause of franchising.
Sustainability: We actively strive to minimise the negative impact on the planet and have a positive effect on the global and local environment, community, society and the economy overall. To meet the triple bottom line, we introduced our new Sustainability Policy. Apart from giving all customers the chance to take care of their homes or offices in a more nature-conscious way, we believe that our franchise model is no less sustainable. We build small businesses that support local communities. Fantastic Services franchise enables everyone who wants to start a local business to invest in branded franchise systems and, through hard work and the support by our side, create equity in their business. This way, we enable independently owned and operated businesses to deliver a consistent and sustainable brand promise to all of our customers.