Learn About Starting a Cleaning Service Franchise


If you'd like to start a business but you don't have a lot of money to spend, consider a cleaning service franchise. You're buying into a proven business model with a successful company - all for a relatively small investment.

There are many types of cleaning service franchises. You can start a traditional maid/janitorial service, or you can specialize in health-based cleaning, carpet cleaning, pressure washing, air duct cleaning, floor care - and more.

How a Cleaning Service Franchise Works

According to the Federal Trade Commission, cleaning service franchises typically charge a fee in exchange for a "package" of cleaning accounts. The fee is usually equivalent to about half the gross annual income of the accounts. For example, you might invest $10,000 to purchase a package of accounts grossing $20,000 per year.

In addition to the initial franchise fee, most cleaning service franchises charge ongoing royalty and management fees. Some have performance obligations that require you to meet monthly minimums or achieve a certain amount of sales growth in a set period of time. Contract lengths range from just a few years to 20 or more. Rules vary from franchise to franchise, so be sure to read the fine print.

Cost of Starting a Cleaning Service Franchise

Cleaning service franchises are very affordable compared to other types of franchises. Initial franchise fees can range from just $2,000 to $50,000, but most fall in the $5,00o to $17,000 range. The fee includes training and, in some cases, equipment.

Royalties are generally 5 percent to 10 percent of gross sales. Billing cycles are different for every company, so check with the specific franchise to find out how often royalty payments are due.

Some cleaning service franchises offer financing; others don't. If not, you'll have to seek funding from a bank or private lender if you don't have the start-up capital.

Choosing a Cleaning Service Franchise

Fees are an important consideration when comparing cleaning service franchises, but cost shouldn't be your only concern. Find a company with a good reputation, strong brand recognition, and policies and procedures you can accept.

When you're ready to start talking to various franchises, be prepared with a long list of questions. How big are the territories? What happens if you lose an account? Do you have to put up personal property as collateral in order to obtain financing? Get a written copy of the franchise agreement and read it in full. Never sign anything until you know exactly what you're getting into and feel comfortable with the arrangement.

If you're overwhelmed, turn to existing franchisees for advice or seek the help of a small business counselor. Nonprofit organization like SCORE and government agencies like the U.S. Small Business Administration offer free advice to startups.

Author: Ashley Smith

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