Today, there are record numbers of people opening their own businesses. One of the most popular of these is in the area of residential and commercial cleaning.
While some have taken the plunge as sole proprietors, others have opted to go the route of buying into one of the many franchise options that are available.
The Pros and Cons of Buying a Cleaning Franchise
While being involved in a franchise allows you to be part of an overall network – complete with training and an established way of conducting business operations – starting your own shop does provide you with the ability to control all aspects of your company, including the taking of potential profit should you sell the business down the road.
Each form of business ownership has its “costs” and benefits. Therefore, prior to diving in to either, it’s important to have a good understanding of how both options operate, and what each entails.
Advantages and Drawbacks of the Franchise Model
When considering a cleaning franchise, you have many factors to consider.
So, as you weigh buying a franchise against starting your company as more of a traditional business, remember to factor in both the advantages and the potential drawbacks.
Advantages of Buying a Cleaning Business Franchise
- Brand awareness. Certainly, one of the biggest benefits to buying into a cleaning franchise is the instant brand awareness that your company will have. In this case, you won’t have to work nearly as hard at selling potential customers on a well known firm as you would convincing them to go with the services of “XYZ Cleaning.”
- Ready-Made Business. A franchise literally provides you with a “business in a box.” If you want to read the directions and go from there, then franchising may be the perfect thing for you.
- Financing. Regardless of whether you buy into a franchise or start a traditional company, either way it is likely that you will need to come up with at least some amount of capital – and, unless you have a large amount of money in your savings account or a rich uncle, you are likely to receive more favorable financing terms if you have a stable franchise backing you.
- Marketing & Advertising. Similar to with brand awareness, marketing and advertising will be a much easier road with a franchise than it would be starting from scratch. In fact, if you’re a franchisee of a large multi-national company, it is likely that you’ll have some pretty big advertising campaigns backing you – which is bound to bring customers to your door.
- Training. As a one-man operation, you may not need to worry about training someone else. Yet, as your company grows, this could prove to be an issue. Using a franchise model, the training and support is already taken care of for you. In fact, typically, the home office offers extensive training in all aspects of the business operation – even as the business continues to grow.
- Ongoing Support. As an independent business owner, it can get pretty lonely out there. Going with a franchising model, though, there is always a support team available to contact for questions, concerns, and overall support. Depending on the size of the company, this support could be on a local, regional, national, or even international level.
Advantages of Buying a Cleaning Franchise
For years, the debate has raged on regarding whether it is better to start a company from scratch or buy into a franchise.
When weighing the pros and cons of each, however, the franchise model does tend to have many nice benefits.
When considering buying a cleaning business, there are a number of advantages to going with a franchise. These benefits include:
- Step-by-Step Instruction – When you start your own business from scratch, you typically are required to handle all of the details on your own. This oftentimes means figuring out each and every detail – which in turn could also entail making lots of unnecessary mistakes. When you purchase a franchise business, however, you are provided with step-by-step instruction as to how to get the business up and running. This helps you get the operation underway much more quickly, without the need to go through a painful, and typically costly, learning curve.
- Name Brand / Company Awareness – In many cases, a franchise will also provide you with instant brand awareness. Starting your own one-person firm would require you to go out and make a name for yourself. This is very difficult to do. Going with an already known name, however, gives you instant credibility with potential customers. This also makes your customers much more comfortable in doing business with a name that they already know and trust.
- Training and Support – A franchise will also provide you with training and support – both initially and over time. In the beginning, the franchisor will assist you in getting the business started, from how to set up shop, to your initial marketing campaigns, to any initial promotions. The franchisor will also assist you with any hiring that you may need to do if your company needs employees. Likewise, ongoing support is typically provided whenever you have any questions or concerns. This is the opposite of starting your own business where you are oftentimes out there on your own.
- Marketing and Advertising – Franchises assist you with marketing and advertising as well. In fact, if you are a franchisee of a large multi-national company, it is likely that you will have some pretty large ad campaigns to back you. This is bound to bring in lots of customers.
- Financial Backing – Depending on the franchise, you may also be able to obtain financing through your franchisor should you need to borrow money for a down payment, inventory, or supplies. Oftentimes, in order to get their franchisees up and running, the home office will offer financing at favorable interest rates.
Cleaning Franchise Drawbacks
Even with the many benefits to buying, franchise models aren’t for everyone. Some of the biggest drawbacks to going with the franchise arrangement can include:
- Control. When you own your very own business, you are able to control every single detail – both large and small. But when you buy into a franchise, you must sign an agreement that states you will follow their rules and operate the business in the manner that they set forth. This means abiding by their specific operating system, using their equipment, and even wearing their uniforms if applicable.
- Location. You also don’t have much say regarding your site location when you operate using the franchise model. This is because the franchisor typically already has the sites for their locations chosen. In many instances, the home office even has teams of real estate experts who take part in advanced site selection based on traffic patterns and other demographic factors in order to pick the very best sites for their particular brand.
- Resale value upon exit. Certainly, if you own your own company and it becomes profitable, there is a chance that you can sell it for a nice profit over time. Unfortunately, no matter how well you run your franchise location, it isn’t likely that you will be able to reap the resale value of selling the profitable location. (This works in the opposite manner, too, in that if the business is unprofitable, you can typically walk away, leaving the franchisor as the buyer or last resort.)
- Cost. While starting and operating any business will usually cost you money, going into a franchise will typically require some amount of down payment, along with ongoing fees. In addition, you may also be required to pay a percentage of your location’s income or sales performance back to the franchisor.