(Ambrosio’s note: The following is a recent exchange I had with a reader on the comments section of my Jan-Pro Cleaning Systems review. I’ve reached out to my franchise contacts at Jan-Pro Cleaning Systems and Stratus Building Solutions for their comments. So far, I’ve only heard back from Marisa Lather of Stratus. I’m hoping that this short blog post will serve as a gentle nudge to our friends at Jan-Pro who can shed more light on this issue. I promise to update this post with their comments, should they choose to respond.
I’m also looking for honest feedback from unit franchisees (either past or present) of leading commercial cleaning franchises like Vanguard, Jan-Pro, Stratus and others. So if any of you are out there, I’d sure love to hear from you.)
K.H., reader: I read your review of Jan-Pro Cleaning Systems. I have seen some negative reviews that suggest the unit franchises are not financially successful because the Master Franchisee retains a good deal of the operating margins. What have you heard? Thank you.
Ambrosio, Franchise Chatter: Thank you for your comment and question. To be honest, I don’t have any deep industry knowledge or experience in the area of commercial cleaning, but I did reach out to two contacts on the franchisor side (one at Jan-Pro) to request for their comments. Hopefully, I’ll hear back from them soon so that I can share their insights with you.
Having said that, if the reviews consistently echo the same concerns, I’d take notice and would definitely press the franchise rep on this issue. Since we don’t have any reason to believe that the reviewers have a hidden agenda, the comments of current franchisees carry a lot of weight.
By just looking at the business model, however, if the Master Franchisee is the one responsible for getting clients, then he or she is justified in taking a decent cut off the revenues. It’s just like having a dedicated sales person who is responsible for signing new customers — and it’s a given that the best salespeople receive very generous commissions.
This is one industry where a resourceful individual, who doesn’t minding doing both the sales and cleaning functions, can have a decent chance at success by taking the independent route. It doesn’t take a lot of money or expertise to get started. There are books on this very subject, one of which I recommend as an affiliate.
Thank you so much for supporting my blog. Please check back soon. If I hear back from my two contacts, I will devote a separate blog post to this very question.
Marisa Lather, Marketing Coordinator, Stratus Building Solutions: What an outstanding question and one to definitely take into consideration. I can only speak for Stratus Building Solutions. It all goes back to creating a system built for success with appropriate margins for every participant. Every Stratus system has been built with the unit franchisee in mind.
The founding philosophy of Stratus Building Solutions is to draw distinction to the company by being a true bottom up organization. The success of the unit franchisee is paramount to the success of the company. Even in building our tagline of “Your Success is Our Only Business” we wanted to convey how truly committed we are to having successful franchisees on all levels, starting with the unit.
Every product, system and process has been carefully evaluated to see how it will influence the outcome of the unit franchisee’s investment. For example, we are the only company in our industry to have our own line of Green Seal Certified cleaning chemicals. When we were exploring the idea, we went to our developer and stressed it must be competitive or superior to anything else available in our market.
Our Stratus brand HEPA Filtration Backpack Vacuum is a top grade piece of equipment that costs $450 at retail. Through the Stratus program, unit franchisees are able to have the vacuum at a discounted price while still maintaining top quality.
It’s also worth noting that we have zero litigation (compared to our competitors) and we offer unlimited consultation on what the FDD states so that our prospective franchisees understand exactly what is coming in and going out.
We’re lucky to have avoided such issues for the most part, but it’s certainly a valid question and it’s best to know all sides of a business — good and bad — when evaluating a final choice. Buying a franchise is more than just an investment in your money – it’s your time, your life really.