Nowadays, and especially since the coronavirus outbreak, every business owner needs to ensure that their model is adaptive enough to stay relevant in this ever-changing environment. It is essential to have a particular solution to use to address a business issue. Anton Skarlatov, co-founder of Fantastic Services, is helping emerging entrepreneurs to achieve a proven, profitable and pain-free business model which equips Fantastic Services’ franchise partnership for success.
Before Fantastic Services came into existence, Anton was running a small commercial cleaning company in London with no more than 25 employees. Then, Lehman Brothers was the biggest client he had and in 2008 when the company bankrupted during the global economic crisis, Anton knew this would be destructive for his business and he needed to change his direction. “This painful experience has taught me never to put all my eggs in one basket again,” says Anton.
Shortly after, Anton met Rune Sovndahl, and they both quickly realized that they shared a vision and could deliver cleaning services in a much better way by working together. Anton mentions, “We launched Fantastic Services in 2009 using just two laptops, a sofa and a shared mobile phone with an investment of about £5,000. Today, we have over 530 franchisees operating on three continents and servicing more than 50,000 customers monthly. We have over 27,000 active club members and a huge loyal base of returning customers who enjoy numerous benefits, special pricing, and deals.”
Anton asserts, “I’m proud to say that 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. Last year, we introduced Antiviral Sanitization and Disinfection and Minimal Contact services, and since last month, we’re offering Mobile car wash services.”
A оne-stop-shop for 100+ Services
Fantastic Services was the first home maintenance company in the UK to introduce online bookings. It now has an in-house team of over 500 marketing, sales, SEO, finance, IT, and business development experts who constantly improve the business model, websites, and mobile apps. Its award-winning app, GoFantastic, integrated with Fantastic Services’ custom-built CRM system, ServiceOS, allows clients to book services in seconds.
Anton says, “Our other app, called BFantastic, automates thousands of interactions for our franchise partners and the professionals, including scheduling, marketing, invoicing, and communication with clients and customer service.”
Managing from Top to Bottom
At Fantastic Services, both founders are deeply involved in all activities at the company. Rune, having a digital marketing background, is mainly involved in the technological and marketing side of the business while Anton has experience in the service industry, and is mostly focused on the company’s franchise opportunities, service development, and global expansion.
With Rune’s technology-driven approach and Anton’s people-first perspective, they have successfully built the first domestic services company that has an online booking form, real-time availability, and the highest standards for services.
Anton opines, “We started Fantastic Services, trying to gamify the cleaning industry, but now we are more focused on improving people and our service. We have got to protect our customers and our franchisees. We care more. We care about people, and that’s what keeps us ahead of other disruptors or tech companies who might want to do something similar.”
Improve to Achieve Greatness
In Anton’s view, there’s always room for improvement, and the team is currently working on a bunch of interesting services and opportunities coming very soon. The team takes a genuine interest in all customer and franchisee feedback, seeking out what it can do better every single day.
While addressing the current topics of the pandemic, the management also decided it was time to create the company’s vision for the future, challenging people to think ahead and beyond. The organization sets the mission to help 1,000 people build a successful business worth £1 million in the next ten years. With several of its franchisees already hitting the benchmark, this vision attracted a lot of attention from outside the franchise community and contributed to advancing the cause of franchising.
The Challenges Pandemic Brought
The outbreak of Covid‐19 has had significant economic, political, and social consequences in almost all industries. With the F&B and hospitality sectors deeply affected, franchising was also seen as risky by some, since more than 80% of franchises are in the F&B industry.. Luckily, the property maintenance sector has even seen an increase in demand and Fantastic Services has expanded. The company developed new services and quickly adapted to the new normal. Anton opines, “Covid-19 just proved our business unbreakable. It made us stronger, more innovative, and focused on what’s important and led us to a new level of excellence. As I like to say: The pandemic determined that Fantastic Services is here to stay.”
Leading to Achieve the Mutual Goal
Throughout the Fantastic Services network, the team has built a culture of success and contribution. The team states, “As a customer-centric business, we are united in our mission to serve. Our 360-degree happiness philosophy revolves around the idea that each Fantastic family member is fulfilled – customers, franchisees, service technicians, and employees. We achieve this through optimizing technology operations and allowing everyone to focus on what truly matters.”
The Fantastic Services family has more than 500 in-house staff, 530+ franchisees, and thousands of technicians. The culture is fostered by great communication, relationships, and dedication to listening. The management encourages everyone to openly share their vision and address suggestions towards optimizing the business model.
Started the Company during Economic Crisis
Since day one, Rune and Anton committed to investing 80% of all profit back into the business. Anton describes that it wasn’t easy in the first three to four years. But what kept these two going was that they didn’t want to run a company that missed half of the opportunities, but its owners drove expensive cars and lived in fancy properties. He further says that the 20/80 system has also helped them prioritize the investments based on service performance. He says, “We agreed on a system to re-invest most of our money into the most profitable services.”
Starting a business from scratch is tough and risky in any environment, and there is no end in sight to the crisis we found ourselves in after the pandemic. We create a better environment for everyone who wants to start a business through our franchise opportunities. We offer three franchise models for people from all walks of life. 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.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve welcomed more than 30 new Area Development franchiseеs. Recently set foot in Ireland with our new Master franchisee, our plan to expand our brand to 40 countries in the next five years has started to bite.
Aspire for Creating Great Business
According to Anton, good businesses either solve a significant problem or make life considerably easier and happier but ‘Great businesses do both’. Anton considers these two as painkillers as people need them, want them, and are willing to pay for them. The crisis caused by the pandemic has brought to the market a whole new field for these ‘painkiller-necessities’. He asserts, “We help our franchisees turn these into opportunities. We turned the entire crisis into an opportunity, giving everybody who wants to run a business in the home services industry a chance to be part of shaping the future.”