Here in Part 2 of our multi-part series on how to thoroughly size up a home-cleaning franchise partner, we look at three more important questions to ask before you sign a contract.
Q4: Are there requirements around who I can send out to clean homes?
As a home-cleaning business owner/operator, you need to constantly focus on earning and maintaining the trust of your customers. All personnel and operating requirements that MaidPro insists upon — for example, proof of legal rights to work, criminal background checks, proper insurance, bonding, training, quality control, and security protocols for managing customers’ house keys — are designed to build and support that crucial bond of trust.
Unlike other home cleaning franchisors, we don’t get involved in mandating the sizes and/or composition of the teams you send out to clean. While we certainly have time-tested ideas about what are the most effective and efficient ways to staff cleaning jobs, we do understand that each customer — each job — is unique so you always have the freedom to choose.
Q5: Will I be required to purchase specific cleaning solutions, tools, or equipment? And, if so, will I be buying at cost? Or is the franchisor earning a margin?
A big benefit of being part of a franchise system is that you gain access both to a franchisor’s expertise around the best products, tools, and equipment and to group-buying leverage, which can lower your operating costs.
To ensure the kinds of buying volumes that will yield discounts and other favorable commercial terms for the group, many franchisors will require you to purchase supplies and/or services from specific providers. Other (less scrupulous) franchisors might even buy goods and services outright, mark them up, then re-sell them to you at a tidy profit.
At MaidPro, we do neither of these things. We do, however, invest in a Chief Cleaning Officer who is, among other things, dedicated to seeking, researching, thoroughly testing, negotiating deals, and recommending cleaning solutions, tools, and equipment that are proven to deliver the safest, most effective cleans at lowest possible costs for our franchisees. And those activities take place with direct and consistent input from a franchisee advisory board. Not to mention we also have a partnership with Proctor & Gamble!
Q6: What, if any, big-ticket investments will I be required to make?
Sometimes, buying into a franchise requires you to make upfront investments in things you might not consider top priority if you were building the business on your own from scratch. In residential cleaning, a good example of this is branded cars. Because the basic business model for home cleaning has people (or small teams) driving around your territory all day, every day, branded cars — featuring your local phone number, web site address, and so forth, are a great investment for building local brand recognition and growing your customer base.
Here at MaidPro, we’re big believers in the branded car concept. We’ll show you hard evidence that it’s an effective strategy for marketing your business and offer plenty of awesome options for different makes, models, and price points. We recognize, however, that buying company cars is a big investment. While some residential cleaning franchisors insist that each crew you send out be outfitted with a branded car, we give you the flexibility to start small — with just one required car — and build from there as you expand your customer base and cash available for reinvestment in the business.
Stay tuned for Part 3 in our series in which we’ll look at questions to ask to reveal your potential franchising partner’s commitment to providing state-of-the-art technology to help you run your business.