Considering a House Cleaning Franchise?Author: Merry Maids
5 Questions to Ask Before Diving In
As far as business opportunities go, a house cleaning franchise is surely one of the most practical options. Houses of all sizes, from coast to coast, need regular upkeep –– and that will never change.
But with plenty of house cleaning franchises to choose from, you’ll want to do your homework before deciding which best fits your investment goals, your work style, and even your personality.
Along with studying the Franchise Disclosure Document, talking to current owners, and learning all you can from every conversation and interaction, here are five key questions to ask the franchisor before you commit:
#1: How much liquid capital will I need to get off the ground?
Along with initial start-up costs, starting your franchise takes sufficient operating capital to carry you through ownership until your business breaks even. That timeframe can vary greatly from franchise to franchise, so it’s important to find out the average amount of time it takes most franchisees to start turning a profit.
According to Forbes, one of the most commonly cited reasons that small businesses fail is simply a lack of cash. Being financially prepared for this critical time is essential for starting off on the right foot and making your experience a positive one. Fortunately, the experience of franchisor should help you pinpoint this figure with accuracy.
#2: What’s expected of franchisees?
As a franchise owner, there will be many requirements you’ll need to fulfill, from financial to operational and beyond. These obligations should all be made clear in your franchise agreement, but it’s still wise to discuss these with the franchisor, your financial advisor, and your legal counsel so there are no surprises on either end. After all, both the franchisor and franchisee depend on one another for the health of the enterprise.
While the franchisor provides vital tools such as training and marketing resources, the franchisee is expected to use them to the fullest. Ultimately, you’ll be responsible for the success of the units you own or manage (or both). Knowing exactly what’s expected of you can help you decide whether the franchise you’re considering is a good fit.
#3: Is there a minimum franchise term? Can I walk away if I choose to do so?
Naturally, terms vary from franchise to franchise, but the typical duration of a franchise agreement is 10 to 20 years. (At Merry Maids, the franchise agreement lasts five years, at which time a franchisee in good standing has the opportunity to renew.)
During this time, you may be able to sell your franchise to another owner with certain restrictions. For example, the franchisor may include a “right of first refusal” clause that allows it to buy back the franchise rather than have it sold to someone else.
The reason for these rules is simple: every franchisor wants to ensure that any future owner is highly qualified to run the business. A thorough vetting process helps protect the long-term success of the brand.
#4: What’s a typical day like for your franchisees?
Of all the questions to ask when buying a franchise, this may be one of the most relevant. While financial stability and an affinity for your brand are important, knowing how you’ll be spending your days (and nights) may be most critical of all.
Will you be training and mentoring people? In the back room crunching numbers? Handling customer complaints? Growing a multi-unit empire? Or out on the boat enjoying more free time as a semi-absentee owner? There’s no right or wrong answer here. But knowing what you want out of life –– and the business you’re about to invest in –– can help you select a franchise that will meet your expectations.
#5: How do you choose a franchisee?
All franchisors have a list of qualifications that they look for in potential owners. Business acumen, management skills, financial stability, and other factors play into the selection process.
Franchisees need the tenacity to drive their business forward, managing costs, training staff, and engaging and retaining customers, at least initially (and in some cases, for the duration of ownership.)
Also important in a franchisee are personality traits that best fit the brand. Are you an outgoing salesperson or do you excel at analytics? Talking to current franchisees can help you decide if your personality suits the corporate culture you’re exploring.
There are plenty of questions to ask when buying a franchise. Never worry about asking too many. The purchase of a house cleaning franchise is a long-term commitment so it’s crucial to determine whether your personality and skill set fit the system to a tee.
If you’re ready to explore franchising opportunities with Merry Maids, reach out here and we’ll be glad to answer your questions.