The Ultimate Guide for Buying a Commercial Janitorial Cleaning Franchise in 2023

how to buy a cleaning franchise

Looking to start your own commercial janitorial cleaning business? This guide will help you find the perfect franchise and equip you with the knowledge and training you need to succeed. From price comparisons to customer reviews, this comprehensive guide has everything you need to make an informed decision.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the entire process, share with you a checklist to make sure you’re prepared, discuss the pros and cons, and help you determine if this is the right move for you. I’ll even throw in a list of the top 15 commercial cleaning franchises in the US for good measure. So, let’s get started!

Why Buy a Commercial Cleaning Franchise?

The commercial cleaning industry is an attractive and lucrative option for entrepreneurs looking to enter a stable and growing market. It’s a vital service in high demand, as businesses, schools, medical facilities, and other establishments require regular cleaning to maintain a safe and healthy environment. As a result, the industry has seen consistent growth and is expected to continue expanding in the coming years.

Benefits of the industry:

  • Recession-resistant: Cleaning services are considered essential, and demand remains steady even during economic downturns.
  • Scalable: As your client base grows, you can expand your business by adding more staff and equipment.
  • Repeat business: Commercial cleaning contracts typically involve recurring services, ensuring a stable income stream.
  • Diverse client base: You can serve a wide range of clients, from small offices to large corporations and government facilities.

Challenges of the industry:

  • Competition: The commercial cleaning sector is highly competitive, with both independent operators and established franchises vying for market share.
  • Labor-intensive: Managing a cleaning crew can be demanding, requiring strong organizational and leadership skills.
  • High employee turnover: The industry often experiences high turnover rates, making employee retention and training essential to your success.

Size of the industry:

The commercial cleaning industry is a multi-billion-dollar market in the United States, with an estimated value of around $117 billion in 2021. It is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 5% between 2021 and 2026.

Earnings potential:

Let’s assume you manage to close 3 clients per month, each paying $1,000 a month for a yearly contract. This would result in a total of 36 clients by the end of the year.

  • Monthly revenue: 3 clients x $1,000 = $3,000
  • Yearly revenue for new clients: $3,000 x 12 months = $36,000
  • Total yearly revenue for all clients: $1,000 x 36 clients x 12 months = $432,000

Keep in mind that these figures don’t account for other costs such as labor, supplies, equipment, and franchise fees. Your net income will depend on how effectively you manage your expenses and grow your client base. Also, as long as you keep doing a good job and your retention year over year is more than 95%, you will only be adding to your bottom line, and your numbers can grow. 

Entering the commercial cleaning industry as a franchisee can provide you with the support and resources needed to overcome challenges and maximize your earnings potential. By capitalizing on the benefits and addressing the challenges, you can build a successful commercial cleaning franchise that generates a substantial income.

Commercial cleaning franchises offer numerous benefits, such as brand recognition, training, support, and a proven business model. By investing in a franchise, you can hit the ground running and avoid many of the common pitfalls of starting a business from scratch.

2. Pros and Cons of Buying a Commercial Cleaning Franchise

Brand Recognition: Customers are more likely to trust a known brand, giving you a competitive edge. Initial Investment: Franchise fees and startup costs can be significant.
Proven Business Model: Franchises have established systems in place, increasing your chances of success. Ongoing Fees: Franchisees typically pay royalties and other fees to the franchisor.
Training & Support: Most franchises offer comprehensive training and ongoing support to help you grow your business. Less Flexibility: You must adhere to the franchisor’s rules and regulations, which may limit your creativity and independence.
Marketing Assistance: Franchises often provide marketing materials and strategies to help you attract customers. Potential Conflicts: Disagreements may arise between franchisees and franchisors over business decisions or contractual terms.
Clients: Most franchises will provide you with clients and will keep your contracts as long as you do a good job. Less Control Over Suppliers: Franchisors often dictate which suppliers you can use, which may not always align with your preferences.
Networking Opportunities: Being part of a franchise network can offer access to valuable connections with other franchisees and industry professionals. Profit Sharing: Some franchisors require franchisees to share a percentage of their profits in addition to the regular royalty fees.
Exclusive Territories: Many franchises grant exclusive territories, reducing direct competition with other franchisees in your area.  
Bulk Purchasing Power: Franchises often negotiate lower prices for supplies and equipment due to their collective buying power.  
Easier Financing: Lenders may be more likely to approve financing for a well-established franchise compared to an independent startup.  

By carefully weighing the pros and cons of buying a commercial cleaning franchise, you can make an informed decision about whether this opportunity aligns with your personal and financial goals. Understanding both the benefits and challenges will help you set realistic expectations and prepare for success in the commercial cleaning industry.

3. Are You the Right Fit for a Cleaning Franchise?

Before diving into a commercial cleaning franchise, it’s essential to determine if it’s the right fit for you. Successful franchisees typically have strong management skills, excellent customer service abilities, and a willingness to follow established systems.

  • Entrepreneurial spirit: Franchise owners should have the desire to build their own businesses and take ownership of their success. They should be willing to take risks, make decisions, and lead a team of employees.
  • Strong work ethic: The commercial cleaning industry can be physically demanding, and franchise owners should be prepared to put in long hours and hard work to build their businesses.
  • Customer service skills: Franchise owners should be able to establish positive relationships with their clients and provide excellent customer service. This includes being responsive, communicative, and professional at all times.
  • Attention to detail: Commercial cleaning is all about creating a clean and hygienic environment, and franchise owners should have a keen eye for detail to ensure that no corner is overlooked.
  • Ability to manage and lead a team: Franchise owners must be able to effectively manage and lead a team of employees. This includes hiring, training, and managing staff, as well as creating schedules, tracking performance, and providing feedback and coaching.
  • Business management skills: Franchise owners should have a solid understanding of basic business concepts such as financial management, marketing, and operations. This includes the ability to track revenue and expenses, develop marketing strategies, and manage the day-to-day operations of the business.
  • Sales skills: Franchise owners should be comfortable with sales and have the ability to sell their services to potential clients. This includes the ability to build relationships, identify customer needs, and close deals.

4. Buying a Franchise vs. Building Your Own Cleaning Company

When deciding between buying a franchise or starting your own cleaning company, it’s crucial to consider factors such as your experience in the industry, your risk tolerance, and the level of support you desire. Both options come with their own set of advantages and drawbacks.

Buying a Franchise:

Support is one of the key benefits of purchasing a franchise. When you invest in a franchise, you gain access to a wide range of resources and assistance that can help you succeed in the commercial cleaning industry. Some of the support services that a franchise may offer include:

  • Comprehensive training programs that cover essential aspects of the business, such as operations, marketing, and customer service.
  • Ongoing support from the franchisor in areas such as business planning, performance analysis, and problem-solving.
  • Access to proven marketing strategies and materials designed to attract clients and increase brand awareness.
  • A network of fellow franchisees who can share best practices, advice, and experiences.
  • Assistance with site selection, equipment purchasing, and negotiating contracts with suppliers.

While it’s true that some people criticize cleaning franchises for their fees, it’s essential to consider the value of the support and resources you receive in exchange for these fees. The investment in a franchise can be well worth it, as the support provided can significantly improve your chances of success and reduce the risks associated with starting a business.

Building Your Own Cleaning Company:

Starting an independent cleaning company comes with its own set of rewards and risks. Some of the benefits include:

  • Greater flexibility and control over business decisions, allowing you to tailor your services and operations to your preferences.
  • Potential for higher profits, as you won’t need to pay franchise fees or share your earnings with a franchisor.
  • The ability to build a unique brand identity that differentiates you from competitors.

However, owning an independent cleaning company also comes with increased risks and challenges:

  • A lack of a proven business model and support system can make it more challenging to navigate the industry and grow your business.
  • Greater responsibility for all aspects of the business, from marketing and customer acquisition to training and managing employees.
  • Difficulty in securing financing, as lenders may view independent startups as riskier investments compared to established franchises.

In summary, buying a franchise provides you with the support, resources, and proven business model that can reduce risks and improve your chances of success. On the other hand, starting your own cleaning company allows for more creative control and the potential for higher profits, but it also comes with increased risks and responsibilities. Carefully consider your personal goals, risk tolerance, and desired level of support when choosing between these two options.

5. What You Should Consider Before Buying A Cleaning Franchise

  • Financial Commitment: Assess your financial situation and determine if you can afford the initial investment, ongoing fees, and any additional costs associated with running the franchise. Also, consider the time it may take to achieve a return on your investment.
  • Market Research: Investigate the demand for commercial cleaning services in your desired location. Analyze the local competition and identify any potential gaps in the market that your franchise could fill.
  • Franchise Selection: Research various commercial cleaning franchises and compare their offerings, fees, support, and reputations. Look for a franchise that aligns with your goals, values, and expectations.
  • Personal Goals: Reflect on your personal and professional objectives. Does owning a cleaning franchise align with your long-term goals? Are you willing to put in the necessary time, effort, and commitment to make your franchise a success?
  • Skills and Experience: Evaluate your management, customer service, and industry-related skills. While franchises typically provide training and support, having a background in the industry or business management can be beneficial.
  • Work-Life Balance: Running a franchise can be demanding, especially during the initial stages. Consider the impact on your work-life balance and whether you’re prepared to make the necessary sacrifices to grow your business.
  • Legal and Contractual Obligations: Thoroughly review the franchise agreement and any associated legal documents. It’s advisable to consult with an attorney experienced in franchise law to ensure you fully understand your rights and obligations as a franchisee.
  • Franchisor Support and Communication: Evaluate the level of support provided by the franchisor, including training, ongoing assistance, and communication. Speak with current and former franchisees to gain insight into their experiences and the franchisor’s responsiveness to their needs.

By carefully considering these factors before investing in a cleaning franchise, you can make an informed decision and choose the path that best suits your personal and financial goals. Taking the time to research and evaluate your options will ultimately increase your chances of success in the commercial cleaning industry.

6. Questions to Ask the Franchisor Before Buying

Before signing on the dotted line, make sure to ask the franchisor essential questions, such as:

  • What is the total investment required to open a commercial cleaning franchise, including startup costs and ongoing fees?
  • What support and training will I receive as a franchisee, both initially and ongoing? Will there be any additional costs associated with this support?
  • What is the term of the franchise agreement, and what are the renewal terms?
  • What marketing support and resources will be available to me as a franchisee? Will I be required to contribute to a marketing fund, and if so, how much?
  • What is the franchise’s track record of success, and what are the average revenues and profit margins of existing franchisees?
  • What are the exclusive territories available for franchisees, and how are they determined?
  • What are the ongoing royalty and advertising fees, and how are they calculated?
  • What is the process for hiring and managing employees, and what are the typical staffing requirements for a commercial cleaning franchise?
  • What are the terms and conditions for terminating the franchise agreement, and what happens to the franchise territory and assets in the event of termination?
  • What is the franchisor’s plan for future growth and expansion, and how will this affect franchisees?
  • Can I sell my business or my accounts?

7. Top 15 Commercial Cleaning Franchises in the US

Here’s a list of the top 13 commercial cleaning franchises in the United States to help you start your research:

  1. Jani-King: Jani-King is a leading commercial cleaning franchise known for its professional cleaning services for a variety of industries, including healthcare, education, and hospitality. Established in 1969, the company has a strong global presence and a reputation for providing high-quality, customizable services.
  2. Coverall: Founded in 1985, Coverall is a top commercial cleaning franchise with a focus on offering environmentally friendly, health-based cleaning solutions. The company serves various industries and prides itself on its proprietary Core 4® Process, which ensures consistent and thorough cleaning.
  3. JAN-PRO: JAN-PRO is an international commercial cleaning franchise established in 1991, recognized for its commitment to quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction. The company provides tailored cleaning services to various industries and features its exclusive EnviroShield® disinfecting system for a germ-free environment.
  4. Vanguard Cleaning Systems: Launched in 1984, Vanguard Cleaning Systems is a reputable commercial franchise that offers customizable cleaning solutions. With a strong emphasis on advanced cleaning technologies and green cleaning practices, Vanguard caters to a diverse clientele across numerous industries.
  5. ServiceMaster Clean: ServiceMaster Clean is a prominent commercial cleaning franchise with a history dating back to 1929. Known for its extensive range of cleaning and restoration services, the company serves both residential and commercial clients, offering expert solutions for disaster recovery, janitorial services, and more.
  6. Anago Cleaning Systems: Established in 1989, Anago Cleaning Systems is a leading commercial cleaning franchise that provides innovative and customizable services. The company focuses on utilizing advanced cleaning methods, eco-friendly products, and strong client support to ensure customer satisfaction.
  7. Stratus Building Solutions: Founded in 2006, Stratus Building Solutions is a rapidly growing commercial cleaning franchise offering green cleaning services. With its commitment to environmentally responsible practices and state-of-the-art cleaning technologies, the company serves a wide range of industries, including medical, industrial, and educational facilities.
  8. CleanNet USA: CleanNet USA is a commercial cleaning franchise established in 1987, known for its emphasis on quality assurance and customer satisfaction. The company provides a full range of cleaning services, utilizing cutting-edge technology and environmentally friendly products to cater to diverse clients.
  9. Buildingstars: Launched in 1994, Buildingstars is a commercial cleaning franchise that offers comprehensive cleaning solutions for various industries. The company is known for its Integrated Facility Services, which combines janitorial, carpet, and floor care services for a seamless cleaning experience.
  10. System4: System4 is a commercial cleaning franchise founded in 2004, specializing in facility management and commercial cleaning services. The company serves a wide range of industries and focuses on providing customized, high-quality solutions through its network of local franchises.
  11. OpenWorks: OpenWorks, established in 1983, is a commercial cleaning franchise that offers integrated facility services. The company prides itself on delivering consistent, high-quality cleaning solutions through its TotalWorks™ program, which covers a comprehensive range of cleaning and maintenance needs.
  12. Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services: Office Pride is a faith-based commercial cleaning franchise founded in 1992. With a commitment to honesty, integrity, and professionalism, the company provides comprehensive cleaning services to various industries, focusing on customer satisfaction and a strong work ethic.
  13. The Cleaning Authority: The Cleaning Authority, established in 1977, is a residential and commercial cleaning franchise that emphasizes eco-friendly practices. The company uses Green Seal Certified® cleaning products and a Detail-Clean Rotation System to provide clients with a thorough, environmentally responsible cleaning experience.
  14. Green Building Maintenance: Green Building Maintenance is a forward-thinking commercial cleaning franchise with a focus on sustainable cleaning practices. Established in 2009, the company utilizes eco-friendly products and advanced cleaning technologies to provide a wide range of services to various industries, including office buildings, healthcare facilities, and educational institutions.
  15. Prestige Pro Clean: Prestige Pro Clean is a commercial cleaning franchise founded in 2010, known for its premium cleaning services and exceptional customer care. The company offers tailored solutions to meet the specific needs of clients in various sectors, such as retail, hospitality, and corporate environments, while maintaining a commitment to environmentally responsible practices.

8. How much do I have to invest in owning a commercial cleaning franchise?

Before diving into the initial investment ranges for the top 10 national commercial cleaning franchises in the United States, it’s important to note that the information provided here is based on available data up to September 2021. As franchise costs and fees can change over time, the figures presented here may no longer be accurate. We encourage readers to consult directly with the franchisors for the most up-to-date and accurate pricing information. The data presented here should be considered as a rough estimate, and proper due diligence must be conducted before making any investment decisions.

  • JAN-PRO: Initial investment range: $4,170 – $54,700
  • Coverall: Initial investment range: $6,339 – $32,934
  • Anago Cleaning Systems: Initial investment range: $10,440 – $68,548
  • Vanguard Cleaning Systems: Initial investment range: $10,700 – $38,100
  • ServiceMaster Clean: Initial investment range: $32,300 – $120,000
  • CleanNet USA: Initial investment range: $16,650 – $93,000
  • Stratus Building Solutions: Initial investment range: $4,450 – $72,850
  • Bonus Building Care: Initial investment range: $9,020 – $44,650
  • Jani-King: Initial investment range: $11,600 – $100,000
  • Building stars: Initial investment range: $2,245 – $53,200

These initial investment ranges typically include the franchise fee, training, equipment, supplies, and other startup costs. Remember that ongoing fees, such as royalties and marketing fees, are not included in these ranges. Always perform thorough due diligence and consult with the franchisor to understand the complete financial obligations associated with owning a commercial unit cleaning franchise.

Now that you have a solid understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of buying a commercial cleaning franchise, as well as a list of top franchises to consider, you can make an informed decision about whether this opportunity is right for you. Remember, the key to success in any business venture is research, preparation, and dedication. Good luck on your journey to becoming a commercial cleaning franchise owner!

Final Thoughts on Buying a Commercial Cleaning Franchise

Now that you have a solid understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of buying a commercial cleaning franchise, as well as a list of top franchises to consider, you can make an informed decision about whether this opportunity is right for you. Remember, the key to success in any business venture is research, preparation, and dedication. Good luck on your journey to becoming a commercial cleaning franchise owner!

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