What I Like About the ServiceMaster Clean Franchise Opportunity
1. Established in 1952, ServiceMaster Clean is one of North America’s leading cleaning and restoration companies, with a worldwide network of over 4,500 franchises. The company now operates in more than 12 countries and serves over 1 million customers through the ServiceMaster Family of Brands, which includes Furniture Medic, Merry Maids, Terminix, TruGreen-ChemLawn, American Home Shield, AmeriSpec and InStar. The marketing materials for the ServiceMaster Family of Brands provide additional exposure for the ServiceMaster Clean franchise.
2. The franchisee can provide janitorial and commercial cleaning services, both short and long term, for the cleaning of office buildings, retail centers, or any other institutions that require cleaning on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Commercial cleaning services include the cleaning and maintenance of general office areas, floors, walls, restrooms, and public areas, as well as regular, one-time or as-needed deep cleaning of carpets and upholstery.
3. The ServiceMaster Clean franchise opportunity is one of the top low cost franchise opportunities (#10 in 2011), according to Entrepreneur Magazine. The initial franchise fee ranges from $24,500 to $65,000 depending on the size of the territory. A new franchisee who qualifies for financing can start a ServiceMaster Clean franchise with a minimum down payment of just $8,380, plus working capital.
4. ServiceMaster Clean has a Fast Start Program to jumpstart a new franchisee’s business. A professional start-up coach will work one-on-one with the new franchisee for the first 12 months. Together, they will develop a customized marketing plan funded by $5,000 of the initial franchise fee. The start-up coach will also share best practices for business development and cost reduction.
5. The initial franchise fee already includes two weeks of intensive training (including classroom and hands on learning) at ServiceMaster Clean Academy in Memphis, TN, a notebook computer with business software, and initial promotional and marketing materials. Professional cleaning equipment, supplies, tools, and products may be purchased separately from the Regional Office.
6. ServiceMaster Clean is one of the few franchises that offer in-house financing through its subsidiary, the ServiceMaster Clean Acceptance Company (SMAC). Qualified franchisees enjoy the benefits of quick approval decisions; no application fees, administration fees, or closing fees; financing of up to 80% of the total investment needed; and payments can be spread out over 7 years. Additional financing is also available to grow the business, subject to credit approval. This can be used towards the purchase of equipment, computers, vehicles, additional franchise licenses, or for use as a line of credit.
What I Don’t Like About the ServiceMaster Clean Franchise Opportunity
1. Unlike its competitors Vanguard Cleaning Systems and Jan-Pro Cleaning Systems, there is no reference anywhere in ServiceMaster Clean’s website to a master franchisee and unit franchisees. Therefore, my assumption is that ServiceMaster Clean franchisees not only service the contracts (like a unit franchisee), they also have to secure the commercial cleaning contracts (like a master franchisee).
The skills set needed to perform these distinct functions are usually not found in the same person. So franchisees typically hire employees to perform the service while they secure commercial cleaning contracts. This takes more work and entails more expenses during the start-up phase, compared to the master franchisee-unit franchisee model used by Vanguard and Jan-Pro (the #1 and #2 Low Cost Franchises in 2011, according to Entrepreneur Magazine).
But on the positive side, once the difficult start-up phase has passed, this business model allows the franchisee to grow the business as far as his or her efforts will lead, without depending on a master franchisee to secure commercial cleaning jobs.