Entrepreneurs looking to buy into one of the best commercial cleaning (janitorial) franchises have a small but solid list from which to choose. According to IBIS World, the janitorial and cleaning services industry is worth $56 billion a year, and a third of that is commercial cleaning. Of course, those figures include both franchise and non-franchise businesses.
Most of the companies on this list follow a common structure of offering both “unit franchises” and “master franchises.” In this approach, the master franchisee is the one selling owner-operator unit franchises. It is the master franchisee who takes on the responsibility of finding clients and negotiating service contracts with them while it is the unit franchisee who delivers the actual cleaning services. With this model, the unit franchisee doesn’t have to worry about sales. Note, however, that not every
company follows this model.
Trends in this industry include “green cleaning” (eco-friendly) and “cleaning for health” (getting rid of germs). Some companies lean more towards one than the other, while others focus on both. Whether or not these stated commitments are serious or meaningful requires closer examination by potential franchisees.
Here are the top 15 commercial cleaning (janitorial) franchises of 2018:
Coverall has been providing commercial and office cleaning services since 1985 to all types of clients from simple offices to a wide range of industries such as healthcare, fitness/spas, retail, education/childcare, and industrial sites. Its Coverall Health-Based Cleaning System “goes deeper” to create cleaner, healthier work environments. While the company talks about achieving its cleaning services in an eco-friendly way, it does not appear to have pursued any specific certifications or seals.
Unlike many other commercial cleaning franchises, the company only offers singe-unit franchises, not master franchises. There are currently 8,575 locations, of which none are company-owned and 1,203 of which are located outside the U.S.
JAN-PRO offers customized commercial cleaning plans delivered by janitorial cleaners who are franchise owner-operators, not hourly employees. Among its services is the proprietary EnviroShield commercial disinfectant system, which mimics the same cleaning process used to sanitize hospital operating rooms. The company’s backpack vacuums exceed HEPA filtration standards to deep clean while enhancing indoor air quality, and it also utilizes color-coded microfiber cleaning cloths that eliminate the transfer of germs from one area to another.
Founded in 1991, the company offers both master and single-unit franchises. The number of locations currently stands at 8,486, none of which are company-owned and 1,381 of which are located outside the U.S.
3. ServiceMaster Clean
ServiceMaster Clean started providing commercial cleaning and janitorial services more than 60 years ago for all types of clients. It has developed a healthcare training and certification program for its local owners covering five levels of healthcare cleaning. The program adheres to standards the franchisor has developed based on best practices and procedures for the industry established by OSHA, CDC, AORN, HIPAA, EPA, and other regulatory healthcare organizations.
Unlike most companies on this list, ServiceMaster Clean offers in-house financing through its subsidiary, the ServiceMaster Clean Acceptance Company (SMAC). It appears to only sell unit franchises, not master franchises. The number of locations has held steady now for several years and currently stands at 5,033, 10 of which are company-owned and 1,919 of which are located outside the U.S.
4. Vanguard Cleaning Systems
Vanguard Cleaning Systems has been offering a full range of cleaning and janitorial services to a wide range of clients since 1984 through its five service standards: 1) A dedicated account liaison for each customer, 2) Informed and motivated to exceed expectations, 3) Advanced cleaning technologies, 4) Diverse and specialized capabilities, and 5) A disciplined approach. It claims expertise in green cleaning but doesn’t offer up any particular certifications.
The company offers both master and unit franchises. The number of locations has grown steadily over the last 10 years from 848 in 2007 to its current 3,237 locations, of which 317 are located outside the U.S.
5. CleanNet USA
CleanNet USA has been offering its customized commercial janitorial services solutions to clients of all types since 1987, and can also provide a full range of other interior and exterior building and grounds maintenance services. The company’s Clean Green Program is separate from its conventional commercial cleaning services and is committed to employing a full range of greener cleaning options that can help a building achieve LEED certification, including Green Seal certified cleaning products and greener cleaning methods.
Both master and unit franchises are available. The number of locations has fallen in recent years to a total of 2,375, of which 11 are company-owned and 23 of which are located outside the U.S.
6. Anago Cleaning Systems
Anago Cleaning Systems serves industries, including healthcare, education, government, hospitality, property management, manufacturing, and everything in between, with cleaning and janitorial services. It offers a Total Satisfaction Guarantee and will promptly re-clean anything reported as less than satisfactory. Its Green Cleaning Initiative is constantly looking for new and greener cleaning products along with its HEPA filter vacuums and reusable microfiber cloths.
Founded in 1989 and franchising since 1991, the company offers both master and single-unit franchises. There are currently 1,503 locations, none of which are company-owned and 51 of which are located outside the U.S.
7. Stratus Building Solutions
Stratus Building Solutions offers green commercial cleaning and janitorial services to a wide range of clients including schools, medical offices, shopping centers, warehouses, dealerships, religious centers, professional offices, daycares, retail stores, gyms, and more. Its signature offering is Stratus Green Clean, which is an eco-friendly janitorial cleaning service using its own proprietary line of Green Seal Certified (GS-37) Stratus Green Clean chemicals that are biodegradable, non-toxic, and free from VOCs, known carcinogens, and fragrances. It also utilizes low-waste microfiber towels and post-consumer recyclable tools.
Founded in 2004, franchising began in 2006 and the company offers both master and single-unit franchises. There are currently 1,325 franchised locations, all in the U.S.
8. Buildingstars International
Buildingstars International offers personalized, comprehensive cleaning services to create cleaner, healthier workplaces across all types of sites and industries. Cleaning services are provided by franchise owner-operators who have a clear of path of advancement through the company’s three franchise options. The company’s eco-friendly initiative is called Buildingstars Green Star program that can include green consulting to help facilities achieve LEED certification, in part through accumulating green cleaning points toward their total.
Founded in 1994 and franchising since 2000 with both master and unit franchises, the number of locations has grown steadily during the past 10 years from 227 in 2007 to the current total of 735, none of which are company-owned and all of which are franchises in the U.S.
OpenWorks refers to itself as “an integrated facilities management company” because in addition to its core commercial cleaning and janitorial services, it also offers landscaping, pest control, HVAC, electrical/lighting, handyman, plumbing, and supply replenishment services. It claims to be different from other companies because it is committed not just to “maintaining” a facility, but proactively improving it, including aiming for more sustainable (green) systems.
Founded in 1983, the company offers both master and unit franchises, emphasizing to potential unit franchisees that they don’t have to be involved in sales. There are currently 456 locations, 17 of which are company-owned.
10. Mint Condition
Mint Condition offers the typical full array of commercial cleaning services along with a service guarantee, although nowhere on the website does it explain what the guarantee is. Services are delivered by franchise owner-operators who have received extensive training. It is committed to “cleaning for health” and uses Green Seal Certified cleaning chemicals.
Founded 1996, the company offers both unit and master franchises. The number of locations has grown steadily over the past 10 years from 80 in 2007 to the current total of 340, all of which are franchised locations in the U.S.
11. Jantize America
Jantize America has been offering a full range of commercial and janitorial cleaning services to facilities and industries of all types for nearly 30 years. The company website says Jantize is a “Certified Green Cleaner,” but there’s no explanation or documentation of what that means or who has provided the certification.
Franchising began in 1988, and the company offers both unit franchises and area developer/master franchises per city. There are currently 157 locations, which is a drop from its most recent high of 247 back in 2012.
12. Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services
Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services provides full-service janitorial and floor care services. Its green cleaning commitment includes Green Seal Certified cleaning products, microfiber mops and cloths, and high-filtration vacuums. The company does clearly describe itself as a faith-based franchise system that has incorporated honoring and glorifying God as central to its mission and values.
There is no mention of master franchises, so this is a unit franchise opportunity. Founded in 1992 and franchising since 1996, there are currently 131 locations, all of which are franchises in the U.S.
13. Image One Facility Solutions
Image One Facility Solutions was founded in 2011 and offers a range of commercial cleaning services to clients of all types. It claims a commitment to green cleaning, but it’s not backed up by much information, detail, or documentation. The company guarantee is backed up with a commitment to correct the situation at hand. Failing that, the customer can terminate the agreement and receive a refund of up to a month’s worth of charges.
The chain sells unit franchises of different types depending on how much business the franchisee wants to handle. The number of locations has nearly doubled in the last several years from 56 in 2014 to the current total of 104.
360clean promises clients janitorial services that do more than make a space look clean because you can’t see germs. Its JaniMed cleaning system and processes consist of specialized training, hospital grade disinfectants, state-of-the-art equipment including micro-fiber technology, HEPA vacuums with four levels of filtration, and a focus on touch surfaces. It has chosen this health focus over a green focus, although it does say it uses Green Seal Certified products “where applicable.”
Founded in 2005 and franchising since 2008 with both master and unit franchises (and in-house financing for the latter), the chain has expanded to 81 locations, all of which are franchised in the U.S., and none of which are company-owned.
15. City Wide Maintenance
City Wide Maintenance has been providing clients with comprehensive cleaning and janitorial services since 1961 that can include floor care and windows, along with a full range of interior facility maintenance and handyman services, as well as exterior maintenance services such as grounds-keeping, landscaping, snow removal, painting, and more.
The company website does not mention master franchises, so the opportunity is for unit franchises.The number of locations has grown slowly but steadily over the past 10 years from 16 in 2007 to the current total of 55, one of which is the company-owned flagship location in Kansas City that also serves as the franchisee training site.
An Important Note About Our Methodology
The franchises on this list were ranked according to the number of units in the franchise system. If you are a prospective franchisee searching for franchise opportunities that meet or exceed certain performance benchmarks for sales, profits, and return on investment, please check out this list of America’s Most Lucrative Franchises.