Cleaning and restoration franchises look a good long-term bet if you’re considering becoming your own boss this year
Cleanliness and hygiene have never been more important than they are now. For companies in all sectors, attention to hygiene is vital. Getting it wrong can mean losing customers or staff, which can close the business.
Meanwhile, people at home are prioritising home cleaning and restoration projects and making more use of their gardens as ‘outside rooms’.
It’s all having significant effects on cleaning and restoration franchises. So is it time to consider investing in a business in this sector?
How are cleaning and restoration franchises performing?
Emma Chappell, franchise sales manager at the ServiceMaster franchise support centre, is in a good position to deliver an overview, as ServiceMaster offers four franchises that deliver a wide range of cleaning services to domestic and commercial markets, including disaster restoration and office cleaning. Many franchisees run two or more of the group’s franchises simultaneously.
Emma says: “At the beginning of the pandemic, domestic customers were initially cautious about cleaners entering their homes, but things are recovering and we continue to offer in-home cleaning
services in a COVID-safe way.
“Our cleaners focus more closely on high touch areas such as door handles to keep homes sparkling clean, but also hygienic.”
In the commercial environment, ServiceMaster has seen increased demand for services in some industry sectors.
“Many commercial clients are now requesting an extra cleaning slot during the day, so as to further protect their staff and customers,” Emma says. “We have also undertaken high volumes of sanitisation cleans following confirmed COVID cases, so clients can continue trading with minimal delay.”
ServiceMaster expects to grow its franchisee network this year.
“We have a number of new franchise partners looking to launch this year and existing franchisees who expect to expand their cleaning businesses,” Emma says.
There are territories available for ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services, ServiceMaster Clean Residential, ServiceMaster Clean Commercial, ServiceMaster Restore and domestic cleaning franchise Merry Maids.
The Neighbourly group of five home services brands includes domestic cleaning franchise Bright & Beautiful, whose franchisees provide eco-friendly cleaning, tidying, laundry and ironing.
Liz Bosley-Sharpe, managing director of Bright & Beautiful, says: “Despite the challenges last year, our network of 70 Bright & Beautiful franchisees experienced an unprecedented demand for professional cleaning services resulting from more people working from home and a heightened focus on hygiene.
“Enquiries from prospective franchisees have seen an increase of 25 per cent over 2019. They can see the clear opportunity within the domestic cleaning sector.”
Richard Bryan is general manager of the Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchise, one of the brands owned by Taylor Made Franchising, which also owns mobile vehicle cleaning franchise PVC Vendo and Thomas Cleaning.
Richard says: “Demand for chimney sweeping leapt during the pandemic, as families remained at home and spent money on their property rather than foreign holidays and treats.
“In November 2020, the Wilkins Chimney Sweep network recorded their highest takings since records began.”
The increased focus on cleaning and hygiene has meant new markets have opened up for some franchises.
Chemex managing director Michael Graham says: “Our franchisees have been delivering cleaning, hygiene and infection control products, expertise and advice for decades, mainly to the hospitality sector, but now every business is interested in hygiene and demand is increasing from all kinds of sectors, including offices and manufacturing.
“Meanwhile, businesses in the hospitality sector have dramatically increased their cleaning regimes to protect customers, increasing demand for our products and services in their traditional markets.”
The move to socialising outdoors has also broadened the market for garden services.
David Truby, managing director of Greensleeves Lawncare, says: “The lockdowns have deepened people’s appreciation of the mental and physical benefits to be derived from spending time in their gardens, so more people are looking at them as an extra room.
“Customer numbers are increasing and almost all our new leads mention that they want to make the most of what they have at home.”
However, even people who have gardening skills often feel the need to bring in a professional to restore, treat and maintain their lawn and the demand for Greensleeves’ services is growing as a result.
Would a cleaning or Restoration Franchise suit you?
There are scores of cleaning, restoration and sanitising franchises available, ranging from lower cost, van-based businesses where you deliver the service yourself, often with the option to expand by adding more vans, to higher cost management franchises that typically involve running a team
of technicians from day one.
Either way, there’s a lot more to running a successful franchise in these sectors than simply delivering a cleaning service. You will need a variety of skills.
Whether you’re going to be visiting clients to deliver the service yourself or running a team of people who provide the service on your behalf, you need good communication skills. “The Chemex franchise is not just about delivering cleaning fluids,” Michael Graham says.
“Our franchisees also provide customers with cleaning plans, hygiene control programmes and reviews, procedural training for staff and dishwasher health checks. They aim to be seen as experts in cleaning and hygiene, so they need good communications skills.”
“You don’t need pre-existing gardening skills to be a Greensleeves franchisee - we train you - but you need high customer service standards,” David Truby says.
“Two-thirds of our new customers come from personal recommendations and our franchisees work hard to maintain high ratings on Trustpilot because prospective customers check ratings online.”
3 reasons why we need cleaning and restoration franchises
1. Food. The Food Standards Agency estimates that around 2.4 million cases of food-borne illness occur every year in the UK. Eating out accounts for an estimated 37 per cent of all food-borne norovirus cases, with takeaways at 26 per cent.
2. Fires. There were 36,283 dwelling fires in the UK in 2018-19, according to Home Office statistics.
3. Floods. Figures from Rainbow International Restoration indicate that around 2.4 million people live in immediate flood risk areas in England. Overall, one in six homes in England are at risk of flooding and you’re statistically more likely to get flooded than burgled.
Linda Whitney writes about franchising for the Daily Mail, What Franchise and many other publications