Start a Cleaning Business: Franchise vs Independent Operation
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Start a Cleaning Business: Franchise vs Independent Operation

August 23rd, 2012   •   No Comments   

If you’re looking to get into the commercial cleaning industry, but not sure where to start, it’s time to weigh your options. You have two clear choices to consider:  a franchise or an independent operation. Which one you choose is entirely up to you, but don’t let the dust settle on your business plan before making up your mind. Here are some pros and cons to each to help you make a decision:

Independently Owned Janitorial Company

  • You can be your own boss—really!
  • You can be creative.
  • You can start out small.
  • Your earnings are truly yours.
  • You’ll have the responsibility of making all of the big decisions.
  • You’ll already have an established brand and business model.
  • You’ll have to build a customer base.
  • You’ll be taking a bigger risk with your investment.


Franchise Janitorial Company

  • The big decisions will be made for you.
  • You’ll be granted an established brand and tried-and-true business model.
  • You’ll inherit customers who are already familiar with your company.
  • You’ll receive training and support.
  • You won’t really be the one in charge.
  • You won’t have the satisfaction of truly building your own business from the ground up.
  • You’ll be paying a hefty franchise fee.
  • You’ll have to follow someone else’s business guidelines.

The bottom line is that if you purchase a franchise, you will be purchasing the rights to a reputable brand and established business model. Most of the quality assurance guidelines, procedures, and customer service standards will already be in place for you. You may also receive some training and support from the franchisor as you get your business up and running. In addition, you’ll have a greater chance of keeping your doors open and making a profit than if you decide to go it alone. Sounds great, right? There are some downsides to purchasing a franchise, however. If you decided to open a business to be your own boss, as so many people do, a franchise operation may cramp your entrepreneurial style. You’ll have a set of guidelines and procedures to follow, and it may feel a bit like living someone else’s dream. Your creativity will not be in high demand, but your managerial skills will.

If on the other hand, you’re simply looking to make a small profit and you don’t have a lot of personal or emotional investment in the business venture, then a franchise might be for you. Although clearly, there are advantages and disadvantages to each option, the choice should become clear to you if you weigh these pros and cons carefully while considering your own financial situation and personality traits. For example, consider the information below:

Personality Traits

Independent Operation:
  • Creative
  • Responsible
  • Adventurous
  • Achievement-oriented & Profit-oriented
  • Detail-oriented
  • Responsible
  • Careful
  • Profit-oriented


Financial Status

Indpendent Operation:
  • Small capital up front but potential for very large capital later
  • Large Savings
  • Willing to gamble
  • Larger Capital up front but not much potential for huge growth
  • Moderate Savings
  • Prefer a safe bet

You should also take into consideration your financial status and budgeting concerns when deciding whether to open your own small business or join up with a franchise. Although an independent operation may require a smaller start-up, you will also start with a smaller customer base and therefore, it may take you longer to see a return on your investment. If you go it alone, you should also have a considerable savings account and possibly even a “Plan B” in case something goes wrong. There is a significantly greater chance that your business may go belly up than if you were affiliated with a large franchise. The bottom line, financially speaking, is that you’ll be taking more of a gamble with your capital if you choose to start an independent operation.

There are many things to consider when deciding how to begin your company, not the least of which is whether to go with a small start-up or a large franchise. There is no right or wrong choice, but depending on your personal character traits and your financial status, there may very well be a decision that is more suitable to you and your business goals. If you do decide to go with a franchise, make sure it is a reputable one with a clean legal history and a track record of success. And remember that in all aspects of your business endeavors, an informed decision is the best decision.

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