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We are not a cleaning franchise…

After talking to scores of facility managers over the years, one question that regularly pops up is this: “Are you a franchise company?” Now, why is such a question raised so frequently? It seems that many companies have had unpleasant experiences with cleaning franchises. But why is this often the case? And in what instances does using a franchise make sense? What are the benefits of a locally owned, independent janitorial company?

Why franchises often aren’t a good choice for your janitorial

For better or worse, many franchise owners didn’t have the ability or means to enter the business on their own. A franchise offers systems, processes, and helps with growth. But for the companies who will hire them, there are some potential risks. Here are a few:

  • The reputation of the franchise company is not always reflective of the quality of the franchisee.

  • Franchises offer an easy way to get into the business along with promises of good returns. This increases the likelihood that many franchisees will start but not become a solid, reputable cleaning company.

  • Given the quantity of franchise companies, the ratio of good/bad contractors is low.

  • Some franchisees use 1099 employees, which basically means they are subcontracting the work and not maintaining control.

When does a cleaning franchise make sense for you?

There are instances where a cleaning franchise might make the most sense for your facility.

First, cleaning franchises often excel at cleaning very small facilities. This is where they typically

get started and can do the work cheaper than many competitors. Second, cleaning franchises

make sense if you have multiple facilities spread out over several cities. If there are multiple

franchises of the same company, they can often partner together to service the various

buildings. Finally, there are some good, established franchise companies. These may be harder

to find as you sift through the various franchises, but we want to acknowledge that they do


The benefits of a locally owned, independent janitorial company

There are numerous benefits to a reputable, independently owned cleaning company. Here are a few that you should consider:

  • Longevity - Getting into the business is harder on your own, but the school of experience and risk creates companies that will stick around for a long time.

  • Capacity – While franchises often tout the size of the franchise, it is actually independent companies that clean most of the larger, more complex facilities. They typically have greater financial and people resources than their franchise counterparts.

  • Competitive Pricing – Independently owned companies do not pay franchise fees. Therefore, they can keep costs lower, especially on larger accounts.

  • Customization – A locally-owned cleaning company does not have to offer a cookie-cutter approach. They can customize the services, systems, and processes to meet your specific needs.

To recap, there are advantages and disadvantages to using a cleaning franchise. Consider the

unique needs and goals of your facility, along with some of the pros and cons listed above, and you will be in a better position to select the right janitorial company for your facility.


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