So you’ve decided that buying a cleaning franchise is the right choice for you – now you need to choose between the various options out there.
This is your chance to create and build a business that puts you in charge of your destiny. So what should you look for if you’re to have confidence in, and compatibility with, your soon-to-be franchise partner?
Potential clients seeking a cleaning service will consider a wide variety of things when deciding on the best provider – including quality, trust, reliability, ease of use, personal recommendations and, of course, ‘people buy people’ first.
You will be doing exactly the same thing when choosing a cleaning franchise. As you consider various options, think about what will attract customers.
How long has the franchise been in business? Are they growing? Do they get good reviews from clients? Have they won awards? Does the brand have a ‘wow’ factor that makes them stand out?
If a company takes their brand and profile seriously they will shout about it from the rooftops – in the franchise media, in national press, on social media – and franchisees will benefit from that awareness.
Training and support
Some franchisors only offer support for a limited period after you become part of their network. So be clear as to what training, help and advice you will receive before you sign up.
Will they offer regular training and help you take your business to the next level? Or are you on your own after year one?
Running a cleaning franchise you may employ and manage people, all of whom need to feel happy and confident in their work. Make sure that the franchise has HR support that you can call on to help you recruit, manage and develop your team.
Profitability and growth
Profit is not a dirty word and any franchised cleaning business worth its salt will be very open and up-front about achievable profit levels.
Obviously, whether you meet these goals depends on the time you invest in growing the business. As you grow more confident in running your franchise you will want to scale up, employ more cleaners and admin staff and take on more clients.
The franchise will have franchisees at different stages of maturity within its network and should be able to give you a pretty clear indication of what profit you can realistically make at various stages in your journey. This doesn’t mean there are guarantees – like any business, franchisees are ultimately responsible for developing their business and controlling costs.
Ask the franchisor questions about funding and capital investment. How much do you need to grow a solid business over three to five years?
What other up-front capital investments do you need such as equipment, vehicles or premises? What are the regular costs associated with operating the business?
Put together a business plan and cash-flow forecast that you are confident in and which you can realistically deliver.
When you start your own business it can seem a bit lonely – especially if you’re used to the camaraderie of an office environment. Ask questions about how the wider franchise network works: can you talk to other franchisees locally? Are there opportunities to meet them online via webinars or social media channels?
There are very few problems raised by franchisees that a franchisor won’t have encountered, but it’s good to know that there are lots of channels through which to share your experiences.
And most importantly, do you like the people who own and operate the franchise? Do you feel you can trust them and that your values match theirs?
Location, location, location
If the franchise network is reasonably large and has established franchisees in a number of locations, then it clearly has a formula that works. If you want to work in a specific area, you will obviously need to check with the franchisor that the territory is available.
If not, are you comfortable considering an area that may be further away from home? You need to be confident that you understand the geography of your territory, how you will recruit and where your clients will be situated.
Most of all, if you decide that this is the franchise for you, then you might not want to hang around in making your decision, lest you miss your opportunity and your territory is given to someone else.