The Franchise King®

Should You Buy A Cleaning Franchise? (On Owning A Non-Sexy Business)

If you’re wondering if you should buy a cleaning franchise, this post will provide the information you need to help you decide.

Specifically, you’ll learn about the cost of cleaning franchises, the pros and cons of owning a franchise in the cleaning space, and you’ll see a list of my favorite cleaning franchises to buy.

Buying Into A Cleaning Franchise: Is There A Need?

While it’s great to be enthusiastic about a specific type of franchise to own, I always recommend doing market research before you buy. Why?

To determine if there’s a need for the service or product in the market.

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy).

In this case, cleaning, and whether or not the stats dictate if you should buy a cleaning franchise.

By and large, cleaning services market is separated into two distinctive areas:

  1. Residential cleaning
  2. Commercial cleaning

In the case of residential cleaning, there will always be homeowners with hectic schedules who have trouble finding the time to undertake hours of house cleaning.

In addition to busy homeowners, there’s a segment of the population who do have the time, but will gladly pay for someone to come into their homes to clean. I’m referring to the folks with more than enough dispensable income to pay for these services. The wealthy.

As to commercial cleaning, businesses large and small need to maintain a clean-and in some cases, a sanitary environment. And that’s where professionally-trained commercial cleaners come in.

Statistics: Should You Buy A Cleaning Franchise

If you’re going to buy a cleaning franchise, you need to know the numbers and the trends, industry-wide. Here they are.

Residential Cleaning Statistics

In 2021, the U.S. residential cleaning market generated revenue of $943 million. Source

In addition, 9% of consumers hired professional cleaning services in 2020.

As to how much homeowner pay for these services, it’s estimated that the average single-family home cleaning service costs $130 per visit.

stats related to buying into a cleaning business

Commercial Cleaning Statistics

According to Statista:

The market size of janitorial services in the United States increased significantly between 2011 and 2022 by approximately 40 billion U.S. dollars. The largest annual increase was between 2017 and 2018, where the market size increased by approximately eight billion U.S. dollars in one year.”

In addition, the janitorial services industry did see its market size shrink a bit. Specifically, “Between 2017 and 2022 the annualized percentage of this market growth was at 6.7 percent.” (Statista)

To see more commercial cleaning statistics, including the types of businesses who pay for commercial cleaning services, go to this page on Statista.

Next, the cost of opening a franchise in the cleaning space.

Your Costs To Buy A Cleaning Franchise

How much are cleaning franchises?

On the residential side, your total initial investment for buying a cleaning franchise will range from around $35,000 up to $200,000, including the franchise fee.

In contrast, commercial cleaning franchises have upfront costs ranging from around $5,000 on the low-end to $100,000 on the high-end.

Note: a good number of commercial cleaning franchise concepts offer Master Franchises. Depending on the territory you’re awarded, upfront costs can be $250,000 or more.

Finally, please know that the figures above are starting costs to own a cleaning franchise business. There are lots of ongoing costs, too. Like:

  • Payroll
  • Equipment maintenance and upgrades
  • Training
  • Marketing
  • Office expenses

And more.

Are You The Right Person For A Residential Cleaning Franchise Business?

As I discuss buying into a cleaning franchise, let’s take a look at the residential side first.

You’re right for residential cleaning franchise ownership if you:

  • Are highly organized
  • Can manage teams
  • Are good at customer service
  • Are a people person
  • Like having weekends off

And in almost every case, you won’t be the person doing the cleaning. Your employees will.

Finally, you don’t need to be a sales superstar to be a franchisee of a home cleaning business. Why?

Because for the most part, potential clients will contact you. And how do they find you?

Through direct mail, social media, word of mouth, and direct referrals.

Note: if you want to start your own residential cleaning business…without franchisee fees and the like, check out House Cleaning University:

own a cleaning business

Are You Right For A Commercial Cleaning Franchise?

Commercial cleaning franchise businesses offer a few different franchise models that enable you to become a franchisee.

The first way is what I call hands-on. And you’re called a sub-franchisee.

That means you’re a franchisee, but under the local Master Franchise owners business (who is the main franchisee).

In this model, you generally invest under $10,000, and for that, you get your own commercial accounts to service.

Lots of people do this, and they mostly do the work at night. In fact, a lot of sub-franchisees have day jobs, and own a commercial businesses for extra income. So if you want to earn some extra income with a business of you’re own, this could be the way to go.

The next way to become a commercial cleaning franchisee is to engage with a company like OpenWorks.*

*Full disclosure: I’ve done some marketing and writing for OpenWorks. And it’s how I learned about their unique commercial cleaning franchise model.

In a nutshell, when you invest $24,850 (at minimum) in their basic franchise startup packages, you’ll get $7,000 in guaranteed revenue. Every month.

It’s a wonderful way for someone who wants to be their own boss get into business. Plus, with their guaranteed revenue model, your financial risk is instantly lowered.

As a franchisee, you’ll need to be highly organized and a good manager of people and processes.



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The Best Cleaning Franchises: My Picks

should I buy a cleaning franchise?

In my 22+ years of experience in franchising, I’ve seen a lot of franchises come and go.

With that in mind, I do have some favorites when it comes to buying into a cleaning franchise business.

In some cases, I’ve worked with them in one capacity or another. In other cases I haven’t. In any event, here are a few I like.

Maid Brigade

logo of maid brigade

When I was a franchise broker (2001-2008), I helped several people become Maid Brigade franchisees-and I was paid for it.

As to the company itself, it’s founder was incredible. And smart. Let me show you what I mean.

Here’s what Don Hay (the CEO) said-and lived, when he and his wife, Cathy, ran the company.

Our company’s main focus is franchisee profitability.”

And to this day, I’ve yet to hear another franchise company CEO say that.

But I bet I (we) will soon (smirk).

Now that’s how to run a franchise company. More franchisors need to include Don’s philosophy into everything they do. Why?

Because happy, profitable franchisees can and do organically grow a franchise company. Plus, it allow people who want to be their own boss a way to reach their financial goals. It’s a true win-win. But it can’t be just lip-service.

Go here for more information on the Maid Brigade franchise system.

The Maids

the maids logo

The Maids has been a serious player in the franchise world for years, and they continue to be.

From their franchise website:

The Maids franchise opportunity is the perfect investment for someone who wants to work during regular business hours, enjoy a flexible schedule, and grow both a profitable and promising business.”

Who wouldn’t like a flexible schedule as a franchisee?

In addition to their “flexibility” model, the company is serious about giving back to the community with their partnership with Cleaning For A Reason. It’s a non-profit organization that provides free home cleaning to patients battling cancer. Outstanding.

Chem-Dry

chem-dry franchise logo

With 2,500 franchises in the United States and elsewhere, Chem-Dry is the nation’s largest carpet cleaning franchise. Plus, the company has been doing business for 45 years. But why do I like it?

Because it’s a low-cost, high-margin business you can own and operate.

In essence, to start this franchise, you buy or lease a van, pay for the cleaning equipment, buy (cheap) cleaning chemicals, and hire and train employees. And?

You grow your business by adding vans and people. And?

The cost of the service isn’t displayed on their consumer-facing website. And?

That means they aren’t the cheapest.

And?

That usually means high margins.

OpenWorks

openworks franchise opportunity

I mentioned this franchise opportunity earlier.

In a nutshell, you can join 700 other OpenWorks franchisees who have become their own bosses with guaranteed commercial accounts and revenue from day one. And as I said before, it’s a wonderful way to own a cleaning business.

Bottom line?

OpenWorks is definitely worth a look.

The Cleaning Authority

the cleaning authority logo

According to their franchise opportunity website, over 50% of the franchisees of The Cleaning Authority hold MBAs or are corporate executives from Fortune 100 companies. Surprised?

Like you, I had no idea that executive-level people owned residential cleaning franchises. But it’s true.

Heck, when I was a franchise broker, I helped senior-level people buy residential franchises. Why was that? Why were (and are) executives attracted to a non-sexy business like residential cleaning?

Because of the growth potential. The potential of dominating an entire geographical area.

That said, dominating your local market can be done, but it’s not easy.

Finally, businesses like this can be sold. And they can be serious equity-builders.

More cleaning franchise opportunities can be found here.

So Should You Buy A Cleaning Franchise?

If you’re looking to own and operate a sexy business, the answer is a hard no.

But if the type of business you own doesn’t matter as much as the potential result of owning it, cleaning franchises are worth a look.

Of course you’ll need to be good with people from all walk of life, highly organized and have the ability to treat your clients like VIP’s.

And remember, there’s a reason there are so many residential and commercial cleaning businesses. That reason?

Because there’s a huge need for cleaning services, and that need isn’t going away anytime soon.

Finally, I need to file the real answer to your question of whether or not you should buy a cleaning franchise under “It’s your money and your decision.”

Any questions?

If so, contact me and ask away!

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franchise article written by joel libava
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joel libava

I'm The Franchise King®, Joel Libava. I help prospective franchise owners avoid bank account emptying mistakes.
For 23 years, I’ve been showing people how to make smart, informed decisions on franchises to buy, and I can help you, too!
P.S. I'm not a franchise consultant/broker.

Joel is Highly Principled
There are many people in the franchise business who claim to to be experts in the field. Unfortunately many of them lack both knowledge and integrity. Joel, however, is without question one of the most qualified and principled people I know, in or out of his industry."
- Greg Reynolds, Retired Outplacement Counselor
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