Author: Adam Povlitz
Franchise opportunities in the commercial cleaning industry offer a bright spot of hope during pandemic.
COVID-19 has threatened every aspect of our lives. Affecting everything from our family life and our finances to how and when we venture out into our communities, the pandemic has left no stone unturned.
The beginning of the pandemic was particularly unnerving; the uncertainty surrounding the virus and its spread forced many people to reevaluate their financial stability and security. The time spent inside under stay-at-home orders and social distancing encouraged people to look for different ways to secure their current financial position—and to strengthen that position for the future. For many, the idea of franchising made its way around the kitchen table and became a way to achieve financial security.
There is a seemingly endless number of franchising concepts to consider, spanning different industries, investment threshold points, and liquidity requirements. In light of the pandemic, a franchise’s viability factor is often a main point of discussion: Is the service or product offered by the franchise economically viable and resistant to future global events or economic recessions? COVID-19 taught us that most industries are vulnerable in one way or another. So, then the time-honored business tool of assessing the risk-to-benefit ratio comes in to play. In a COVID-19 world, that means finding a business model that is deemed essential yet safe for employees and clients.
Viability of a commercial cleaning business
Commercial cleaning businesses have been, and continue to be, vital in the fight against COVID-19. Hospitals, restaurants, banks, and other businesses quickly focused on the merits of professional cleaning services to mitigate the risk of the virus. With these cleaning services, businesses have been able to present safe, clean environments for their employees and customers. Commercial cleaning is considered an essential service, and owners of commercial cleaning businesses—many of whom are small business owners—suddenly found themselves on the front line, keeping their communities clean, disinfected, and as safe as possible.
Commercial cleaning certainly passes the business viability test. The recession of 2007-08 illustrated that commercial cleaning is (nearly) recession-proof, and it not only has survived but has thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic. At Anago, the number of franchise leads, or people inquiring about purchasing a franchise, increased by an average of 148% in April, May, and June 2020 compared with the number of leads for the same months in 2019. One of the main reasons for this growth is that these potential franchisees were looking to take control over their financial futures.
Commercial cleaning’s proven viability as a franchise is attractive to those wanting to operate their own business. The benefits of franchising are well known, but commercial cleaning seems to offer a bit more stability simply because cleaning services are needed across all industries. This is also an accessible option, as several entry points are available depending on the owner’s business acumen and professional background.
Many commercial cleaning franchises are turnkey, meaning that owners are buying into a reputable brand backed by industry knowledge, established support systems, start-up materials, and contracts ready to be started. In a turnkey scenario, the franchisee joins the brand and builds a strong reputation based on the level of service delivered, which is a huge draw for entrepreneurs willing to roll up their sleeves and start earning money. Turnkey franchise opportunities also boast fast growth, established revenue streams, and plenty of talented individuals ready to join owners on the journey.
Success despite COVID-19
Investing in a commercial cleaning franchise really can change the lives of those who take the leap into ownership. About 16 years ago, Nadine Middleton’s husband, James, came home from work and shared the idea of going into business for themselves. James had enjoyed a long career in environmental services for the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He loved the work, but he and Nadine dreamed of owning their own business. With an entrepreneurial spirit, they decided to take a chance.
After researching different opportunities, Nadine and James bought a turnkey operation that included financing, orientation, business contracts, insurance, start-up cleaning supplies and equipment, and a sales and marketing program. For Nadine and James, purchasing the franchise paid off big time.
According to Nadine, the best part of their experience has been having two of their three kids return to the family business after they graduated college. Today, the family works together to provide commercial cleaning services to companies in the Philadelphia metro area and employs nearly 20 staff members, many of them family. They have all been working hard to “keep Philly clean and safe,” as they too deal with the ups and downs of the coronavirus pandemic.
As COVID-19 continues to impact our lives, we must remember that there are brighter days ahead. People are using this time to reassess their lives and are looking for ways to secure their financial futures, and a hardworking attitude can make all the difference. If you are one of the many people thinking about branching out on your own—and becoming your own boss—consider commercial cleaning. This US$100 billion industry has a lot more to offer than you think.
Adam Povlitz is CEO and president of Anago Cleaning Systems, a leading franchised commercial cleaning company and a leader in technological advances relating to business operations and custodial services. Previously an IBM executive, Povlitz is a Lean Six Sigma green belt, an International Franchise Association-certified franchise executive, and an ISSA Cleaning Industry Management Standards (CIMS) expert.