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Young Ones To Watch: Adam Povlitz, CEO of Anago Cleaning Systems

1851 Franchise Magazine has recently recognized President and CEO of Anago Cleaning Systems in their Young Ones to Watch 2020 series! We are so proud to have Anago’s President and CEO included in this prestigious list.

Read the complete article below!

Andrea Jablonski


2:08 PM • 12/14/20   People Spotlight

Adam Povlitz, CEO of Anago Cleaning Systems, took over the commercial cleaning franchise from his father when he left the corporate finance world after the 2008 recession. Since then, Povlitz has been getting his hands dirty finding the best ways to redefine what clean looks like. The tier three commercial cleaning franchise is celebrating 32 years in business, and it’s what Povlitz says is one of the younger, scrappier players in the industry because of its strong focus on tech that helps to provide instant communication between client and franchise. 

1851 Franchise spoke with Povlitz as part of our Young Ones to Watch series to learn more about his story.

1851 Franchise: How did you get into franchising?

Adam Povlitz: My background is corporate finance. I worked at IBM in New York. My father founded the business in 1989, and I got involved in 2009. IBM is a great company, but I was hired during a major initiative and then when the recession hit in 2008, I was part of the team determining who was being laid off and something stuck in my stomach. I’m sure I could’ve stuck it out to get the watch and the pension, but I felt like a number. That’s when my dad started talking to me about working with Anago. I knew some of the business, but not everything. He made me start from the ground up as a franchisee’s assistant at night. I was cleaning a daycare. I did every job from cleaning to customer service to sales before I moved up to the corporate office and eventually worked my way up to CEO. 

1851: What do you love about the industry?

Povlitz: The beauty of the business is that we’re not in cleaning, not a legalistic way. We just so happen to be selling commercial cleaning services, but really we’re helping thousands of people get into business for themselves. We’re still keeping the proverbial of American dream of business ownership alive. We’re in the business of putting people in business. That’s what I love about it. 

1851: What makes someone a good fit for the franchise industry? Are there traits that are shared by the most successful franchise professionals you know?

Povlitz: In general, I think the No. 1 trait has to be drive. You have to be self-driven. I always like that phrase, “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or gazelle.”

I like the idea of those franchisees who come in every day and say, “What can I do to drive this thing forward?” versus the ones just who are just coming to work. The ones that truly treat it like a much bigger business are the ones who are most successful. 

1851: How do you feel about the industry’s response to the coronavirus crisis so far? Are there challenges or opportunities that the industry still needs to address?

Povlitz: I’m pretty involved in the IFA*. I know what we and what several other brands have done and it’s been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve doubled down in terms of advertising and new marketing pieces to position ourselves well. In conversations with other brands, it seems as though everyone’s thinking with the same logic. We’re all in this together, helping our franchisees through this crazy year and we’ll be there as it continues into next year. It’s incredible that a lot of businesses that are franchises that probably wouldn’t exist if they weren’t a part of a bigger company. 

In commercial cleaning, one of the biggest things we have to focus on is, “what does clean look like?” People weren’t that concerned with commercial cleaning before this year. Now, it’s coming into people’s awareness of health and virus outbreaks. You see this change in the world, it’s a great thing. Obviously people should be washing their hands more, but at the end of the day there’s a lot of media hype on both sides right now. How do we as a commercial cleaning franchise strike a balance where people feel comfortable returning to work? We have a new Protection Plus Disinfecting Program, which leaves behind visual clues of what’s being cleaned and it’s crystal clear what areas have been disinfected. 

I can’t tell you home many times. I’ve been to a restaurant and have seen a waiter wipe down a table with a dirty rag and put a sign up that says “just sanitized.” Now we’re in the business teaching people what clean and disinfected looks like. If you look at your coffee table or desk, how do you know if it’s disinfected or just clean? That sort of focus is something our industry is going to continue to come up with, so offering ways to picture what exactly that looks like at the visual level becomes important.

This is probably one of the best times to be in commercial cleaning. We’ve never been more in demand. The paradigm of the business has completely shifted. Before it was us soliciting the business owners, now it’s the end consumer demanding they have cleanliness in commercial spaces. The whole flow has shifted in the opposite direction. We’re in the business of infection prevention and safety. Overall, the pandemic has been very good for the future of commercial cleaning. 

1851: What advice do you have for other young up-and-comers in the space?

Povlitz: Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, whether you’re in the cleaning business or not. There’s such a value in learning everything there is to learn from the bottom up. That way you’re able to go and work with Franchise Owners who have been in business longer than you’ve been out of college. Work your way up from the bottom, get your hands dirty and learn a little bit about everything and you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else.