Should You Buy A Cleaning Franchise?

Image of man holding the word franchiseOver 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 -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


image of 2 people shaking hands

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.

We spend money emotionally then justify it logically.

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

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Scott Gibbens

10 Responses to “Should You Buy A Cleaning Franchise?

  • Fairweather Green
    1 year ago

    Interesting perspective in the world of franchising Scott. Guess it applies to all sectors too.

    The franchise company always seems to set the franchisee up professionally and quickly. Naturally this must come at a cost.

    It may seem like the easy way to get a head start in business. However I’m sure that once inside the running of the business there is nothing particularly easy about it.

    • Scott Gibbens
      1 year ago

      I would have to agree, it’s an easy way to get started. Once you’re in it though, it’s a whole new ballgame. Thanks for the comment.

  • I always thought that getting a franchise solves alot of the issues with set up, processes, systems, etc.

    Never have I thought about the other end of the spectrum whereby the billing is done by the franchise (and not the franchisee) and to wait so long to receive any decent payment is actually quite mind-blowing.

    It’s an eye-opener! Thank you for sharing this piece of very informative content.


    • Scott Gibbens
      1 year ago

      Hi Julz – Most people think the same way, and do not realize some of the operating challenges. Thanks for the comment.

  • You have really opened my eyes to the requirements of being a franchisee. Now I know how McDonald’s, Tim Horton’s and other’s work. It’s a hard decision, to try a franchise out. We really have to weigh the pro’s and con’s to see if it would work for us. But I do agree with you. Things that might not be appealing to me, might be appealing to somebody else.

    • Scott Gibbens
      1 year ago

      Hi Reyhanna – Good point indeed. Most people really do not know how the franchise model works. Thanks for visting my site and for the comment.

  • lynnsamuelson
    1 year ago

    It’s been a while since I looked into buying a franchise and a cleaning franchise is one of the types of businesses that I looked into. You don’t mention dollar amounts in the upfront fees but I believe it was a significant amount. I was also concerned about the fact that franchise was free to open other locations which could potentially take away business from you if a new franchise opened near you. The fact that a franchise has the system all worked out makes it easier to start but it seems like there are too many potential problems that might develop down the road.

    • Scott Gibbens
      1 year ago

      Hi Lynn,

      You’re right about the fees, in many cases they can be significant. I have seen exactly what you’re talking about as well. Another franchise opens close by to an existing one. That would be upsetting to me. Thank you for the comment.

  • jschicanha
    1 year ago

    in my business course at the university i have been hearing of franchising and in most cases i have never been knowing the really definition of it and in most cases i have even ended up making jokes of it without knowing what it meant

    thanks for the information provided and please keep me updated with the pros and cons of franchising in details



    • Scott Gibbens
      1 year ago

      Hi Jose- I am glad that you found this helpful, thanks for the comment.