Starting A Franchise Cleaning Business? Read This!

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by Tom Watson on March 31, 2010

The cleaning business is not the same as the burger business! Let me repeat the headline again…The cleaning business is not the same as the burger business.

You must be thinking I’m losing my marbles, but I’m not. A long time ago (before I owned my own cleaning business) I was in the same boat as you. I was looking for an opportunity that fit me.

Not to mention one that I could afford. This of course led me to determine the cleaning business was for me. Mainly because of the low start-up costs and the fact that I could begin part-time and grow at my own pace.

But once I came to that conclusion I was faced with the decision to purchase a franchise or just dive in and do it myself. So I decided to educate myself on the topic. It was quite eye-opening to say the least.

Why buying a cleaning franchise is a bad idea

I purchased a book from a retailer about starting my own cleaning business. I dived right in with great anticipation expecting my preconceived notions (you need to be a franchise) to be validated. But they were not confirmed at all.

In fact I was dead wrong. The only real message I remember from the book was “the cleaning business is not the burger business”. What does that mean you must be asking. Well…let me explain.

If you are interested in starting a fast food joint you have several options. They include purchasing a franchise or going it alone and doing it yourself. The do it yourself method would be tough.

This of course means that you need to literally start from scratch and build everything from the ground up. This would include sketching out the layout, designing the logo, designing the interior of the store.

After that you would still be left with designing the exterior of the store, designing the menu and the list goes on and on. It may be a lot of fun if you are really into that stuff. However the time it takes will set you back months.

Now let’s assume you get all that done and let’s assume further that you did everything perfect. The store looks great with a wonderful layout and pretty menus. It’s a real piece of art that is visually stunning. The only problem is that may not be enough to save you.

Odds are you will still wind up in the scrap heap of fast food establishments. Why is that? Well the burger business is dominated by only a few big players. No need to mention their names but they spend millions each year to solidify their brand.

Some indoctrinate children from birth with mascots that get kids hooked to their brand. You can not compete with that type of company. If you plan on trying you better have a bunch of cash stuffed away to finance your effort.

This is where a franchise would be a better option. They already have done all the hard work for you. The store is already designed, the menu is done, the exterior of the store is sketched out and the best part is that the entire community is already sold on your products.

Basically you enter the market as a known commodity. You will pay a fee for this privilege, probably a hefty one. But odds are your chances of success increase dramatically with a franchise.

Take a look around your neighborhood. How many mom and pop restaurants went out of business compared to fast food franchises? I bet the ratio is close to twenty to one if not more. Now lets transfer that argument over to the cleaning industry.

Does it hold up? No…not at all. Why? Because this is not the burger business. This is the cleaning business and the cleaning business works entirely differently. When I started out I had to take this on faith. I was really hoping the author of the book was right.

Well she was right. Spot on right. I have been in business for ten years and I have never had a customer be disappointed because I’m not a franchise. In fact I have never even had a customer bring up the topic of choosing a franchise over non franchise business.

It is a non issue to say the least. There are many other industries that franchises are not needed to have success as well. A painting business, handyman business, car repair shop are just a few of countless examples where a franchise is unnecessary.

Why you don’t to be a cleaning franchise to have success

Why is that? The main reason is because these businesses operate on word of mouth referrals. When someone is happy they tell their friends. Alternatively when someone is looking for these types of service they do not think franchise first.

Why…because they have not been brainwashed by millions of dollars of advertising and mascots since coming out of the womb. No one player dominates these markets. What does that mean to you? You get to be the main player in your market.

You also get to be the main player without paying a ridiculous franchise fee. If the fee does not get you instant recognition and business what are you paying for? Another benefit of skipping the franchise option is do you really want to pay a royalty fee?

This fee is a percentage of your earning to a parent company for the life of your business. The fee could be five to ten percent (maybe more). This means you have to work five to ten percent harder to have the “privilege” of their name attached to yours.

Doesn’t sound like a good idea to me at all. It doesn’t sound like a good business decision either. The cleaning business is not so complicated that you need a franchise to back you. It is not necessary to pay a fee to get into the business.

Instead of paying the franchise fee (and the royalty fee on top of that) put that money to use in starting your own company. Educate yourself with a few good books and keep all the money you earn instead of just a portion of it.

Remember these words, the cleaning business is not the burger business. Keep repeating that message as much as possible whenever you feel the urge to start a franchise cleaning business.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kurt January 17, 2017 at 12:58 am

I feel after having a cleaning franchise I’ve learned why many go this route? To begin with, I’ve encountered many who aren’t very good in English. So they would have a hard time bidding on accounts themselves with the English barrier. Maybe it’s just they feel a lack of self confidence in talking in English as well. For me it was just not knowing how to pick up new accounts and thinking “door to door” soliciting was the only way ? So I paid for a few big accounts I could have eventually got myself?

2 Tom Watson January 19, 2017 at 9:37 am

Hi Kurt! Yes… some have issues with English. I also think a lot of people are just SCARED to go get the accounts themselves, so they lean on someone else to do it for them, not knowing that they will LOSE OUT BIG TIME by getting accounts that ARE NOT WORTH HAVING.

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