For many people wanting to enter the world of business ownership, buying a franchise seems like an attractive way to go. A cleaning franchise would seem to solve many of the problems that traditional startups face.
It’s true in many cases that a cleaning franchise will have an established brand, proven systems in place, and the proper support and training that a new business owner would need. Are there any downsides to buying a cleaning franchise?
The answer would be yes, but without the industry knowledge that an experienced business owner would have, someone would not know what they are. I want to be fair and unbiased in writing this. If you haven’t already figured it out, we are a cleaning franchise alternative.
We believe that in the long run, our systems can help you achieve the same or greater success as a cleaning franchise.
With that being said, I will outline the pros and cons of buying a cleaning franchise based on my 30 years of cleaning business experience. I know some people who own cleaning franchises and do not regret their decision to purchase one.
For them, it was a good fit. I also know some people who had a terrible experience and wish they had done more research before going down the franchise path.
- Instant name & brand recognition
- Proven systems for you to follow
- The franchise may already have clients for you
- Ongoing guidance & support
- Account location service may be included
- You do not have complete control over the brand/name
- Other franchises in different areas may have a bad reputation that affects you
- In most cases the franchises does the billing and you never own the account
- High comissions for new contracts
- Ongoing royalties
- No control over pricing the contracts
- Waiting 30-60 days to get paid
- Restrictions on areas you can operate in
It’s an unfortunate fact that most new businesses in the USA do not succeed. The statistics say that 4 out of 5 will not make it past the first 5 years. Many people who start a cleaning business are great at cleaning, but they have no idea how to run a business. This is a common problem with all business startups and is discussed in a great book called The E Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber (a must read).
There are many aspects to business ownership outside of the service that’s provided. A cleaning franchise can help someone with many of the business details including insurance needs, billing, HR compliance, etc. But are the cost and restrictions really worth it?
Let’s take a look at the differences between buying a cleaning franchise vs starting your own business from scratch:
Choosing a Business Structure:
Franchise- The franchise will most likely assist you
Independent- You will need to hire your own attorney
Franchise- The franchise will most likely find clients or assist with client location
Independent- You will need to figure out what works to find clients on your own
Building a Brand:
Franchise- Established brand recognition
Independent- You will be building it from scratch
Franchise- Controls the billing/collections
Independent- You do your own billing/collections
Franchise- Handled by the franchise
Independent- You are responsible
Franchise- May have a call center for the clients
Independent- You will handle and address the calls/communication
Franchise- May offer in house support and legal counsel
Independent- You will need your own attorney for legal needs
Franchise- May have coop advertising in place or pay for advertising cost
Independent- You will need to pay for your own ads/ad agency
Franchise- May assist with referral programs/prescreening
Independent- You will need to find your won staff
You can see that starting from scratch is more work, more work will mean more money & more profit in the long run. If you need immediate income, and the franchise has clients right away, then that might be the best fit for you.
If you can think long term and have the working capital to build your own business then you’re better off starting from scratch or buying an existing business.