If you’re interested in running your own business but want to mitigate the risks that come with ownership, starting a franchise could be a fantastic alternative. One of the most lucrative, in-demand sectors in the franchising world? Cleaning. Here’s how to make a career change with a cleaning franchise.
The cleaning industry is booming, contributing £54.5 billion to the UK economy each year [British Cleaning Council]. If you’d like to become one more success story within this thriving sector, start with this article. Find out what steps you need to take in order to get involved.
Why start a cleaning franchise?
On the heels of a global pandemic in which hygiene has been a high priority, demand for the cleaning industry has seen a rise where other industries saw a fall across 2020 and 2021. Between March and May of 2020, when the pandemic first began, UK sales of liquid disinfectant were 74.9% higher than the year before [The Guardian]. Over the course of the year, many cleaning franchises then enjoyed their most successful years ever for customer enquiries, like Ovenclean, who saw a 37% increase.
Even as lockdown has eased over the last three months or so, we’ve continued to see record numbers of leads from customers who have discovered our service in the past year and now never want to go back to DIY oven cleaning.
—Robin Auld, Marketing Director
Beyond the increase in demand that’s occurred during and after COVID-19, there are plenty more advantages to opening a cleaning franchise, whether commercial or domestic, including:
- You’ll work in an essential field, doing important work
- You’ll be able to work flexible hours
- You’ll enjoy a lot of repeat business
- You’ll find it relatively straightforward to staff and manage a team of cleaners
- You’ll be able to invest at a low cost, but see high reward down the line
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How to become a franchisee with a professional cleaning franchise in 3 steps
1 Research your franchisor and the market you’re looking to enter
Before making any kind of investment or financial commitment, it’s crucial that you do your research. Especially for a franchise investment, in which you’ll commit yourself to remaining with your franchisor for a number of years or face legal repercussions. Before you enter that legally binding franchise agreement, make sure it’s right for you, and make sure it’s a competitive opportunity compared to what else is out there in the sector.
Not all franchisors are the same, so you need to do your research and get to know everything you can about the franchisor. This includes things such as how long has this company been in business, what is its average success rate and how long do franchisees stay on average.
— Gordon Tredgold, Entrepreneur
In terms of market research, the professional cleaning services sector consists of three different and distinct areas - domestic, commercial and specialist. Here’s what each kind of cleaning business gets up to:
- Domestic cleaning businesses - These businesses operate in domestic spaces, AKA people’s homes. Domestic cleaners dust, hoover, clean surfaces, mop, wash up, even do laundry and ironing. In most cases, domestic cleaners will use the client’s preferred cleaning products and home equipment. Joining a domestic cleaning franchise is often the cheapest investment option available.
- Commercial cleaning businesses - Commercial cleaners work in private and public commercial spaces, like schools, banks, shops, hospitals, offices and supermarkets. Commercial cleaners usually utilise special equipment, and unlike domestic cleaning businesses, commercial cleaning businesses complete work that is more contract-based, with set hours and costs.
- Specialist cleaning businesses - These businesses cross a wide spectrum, and operate in more specific cleaning niches, like car cleaning, window cleaning, oven cleaning, chimney sweeping and dry cleaning.
When you know the market, you’ll be able to find your place in it, asking yourself whether you’d prefer to manage a team of commercial cleaners, offer domestic cleaning services, or invest in a narrower specialism with, say, a window cleaning franchise.
2. Assess your transferable skills
In return for a franchise investment, you’ll receive an extensive programme of training and support from your franchisor. Because of this, you often won’t need any experience in the cleaning sector in order to enter it as a franchisee, particularly if you’re planning to take on a managerial role. There are, though, some transferable and invaluable soft skills that franchisors in the cleaning industry will be looking for, such as:
- Business acumen
- Time management and organisation
- Attention to detail
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3. Handle the financials
The cost of investing in a cleaning franchise will vary depending on the type, size and location of the particular opportunity. To give you a rough idea, the average cost of starting a franchise in 2018 was £42,200 [British Franchise Association], and these cleaning franchise opportunities require the following:
- Homeclean - To become a franchisee with Homeclean, you’ll need to make a minimum investment of £12,000.
- HOODZ - To become a franchisee with HOODZ, you’ll need to make a minimum investment of £40,000.
- My Window Cleaner - To become a franchisee with My Window Cleaner, you’ll need to make a minimum investment of £8,000.
- Prestige Oven Cleaning - To become a franchisee with Prestige Oven Cleaning, you’ll need to make a minimum investment of £11,500.
- Jani King - To become a franchisee with Jani King, you’ll need to make a minimum investment of £20,000.
If covering the costs of franchising upfront isn’t possible for you, there are multiple ways to secure franchise funding. Most UK banks, for example, are willing to lend 50-70% of start-up costs, assuming that the franchise of intended investment is vetted and the franchisee intending to invest has a good credit history. Alternatively, you might choose to turn to a less traditional funding method, like the government’s Start-Up Loans Scheme, which could cover 100% of costs for investments up to £25,000.
Make a career change today, and start your cleaning business tomorrow
If you’re looking to make a profitable, successful investment, a cleaning franchise is a fantastic choice. But if, after reading this article, you aren’t sure cleaning is the right sector for you, there’s plenty more to choose from. On the Point Franchise website, you can browse career transforming opportunities of all kinds, from making a career change with a coffee shop franchise to making a career change with a mortgage franchise.
Lily Sweeney, Point Franchise ©