Over the past few decades I’ve watched cleaning franchises spring up all over the country. It’s been a popular way for people to start a cleaning business. Is it really the best option? I want to take a few minutes today and go over the pros and cons of buying a cleaning franchise.
Some may be wondering, what exactly is a franchise to begin with?
From franchise.org -Franchising is simply a method for expanding a business and distributing goods and services through a licensing relationship.
In franchising, franchisors (a person or company that grants the license to a third party for the conducting of a business under their marks) not only specify the products and services that will be offered by the franchisees (a person or company who is granted the license to do business under the trademark and trade name by the franchisor), but also provide them with an operating system, brand and support.
A brief separate glossary of franchising terms is available on their website at http://www.franchise.org/what-are-common-franchise-terms
The benefit for the buyer is they are receiving a turnkey system to launch their business. In most cases the franchisor has a strong vested interest to help the new franchisee obtain clients and customers. The franchisee is required to pay a percentage of their sales to the franchise.
First we will look at the pros:
- Buyer receives a proven system to start and grow a cleaning business.
- Buyer can use the franchise brand and logo which should be recognizable to the general public.
- Franchise offers ongoing support including marketing, HR, legal support and bulk purchasing.
- The franchise will often locate cleaning contracts for you.
For many people starting a cleaning business is an intimidating process. Having the support of an established franchise can be very appealing, after all we spend money emotionally then justify it with logic. Logically it might make sense to buy a franchise, but the emotional peace of mind will be the deciding factor for most people.
Unfortunately, we spend money emotionally… and often do not make good decisions. I have seen people jump into franchises over the years and live to regret it. The excitement, the professional sales presentation from the seasoned franchisor, the appeal. It all sounds so good, but is it?
Let’s look at the cons:
- You are never completely independent, the franchise maintains control over how and where you operate.
- The franchise bills the client and then pays you. This could mean waiting 60+ days to be paid from the time you start a client. Can you meet 8-10 weeks of payroll with this model?
- You are required to pay ongoing fees to the franchise.
- If the franchise is locating cleaning contracts they determine the pricing. In my experience in the industry I’ve found the prices are too low.
Are there alternatives?
Of course, there are alternatives but most of them require more upfront work. You have to decide for yourself because in business, it’s your time or your money. Spend your time to develop your own systems or spend your money to learn them from someone else. There are many resources to show people how to start a cleaning business.
Personally, I would never buy a franchise but I can understand why someone would. It could be a great opportunity for the right person. I have clients that use our service that also own franchises. They have found our marketing approach works better than the franchise and it’s more cost-effective.
I also have associates that love the franchise they are with and would not look elsewhere. It’s really a matter of preference. Whatever you decide, if you are looking to start a cleaning business or buy a franchise I wish you all the best in your venture!
Check out our free course on locating commercial cleaning contracts