Franchise Spotlight: Cleaning

Cleaning franchises are flourishing, with most businesses needing – and outsourcing – this essential task, while the growing lettings market is powering domestic demand.

Commercial and domestic cleaning services are well suited to the franchising model if the number of franchise systems in the market is anything to go by.

That said, the plethora of choices is also a function of market size. All business premises need cleaning regularly, usually daily, and most organisations outsource the job.

There are 5.7 million UK-based businesses – and that’s not even including the public sector, with the NHS in particular a big spender.

Domestic cleaning services are more of a luxury. However, the growing number of tenanted properties will be a positive demand driver for many years to come.

Sector overview

  • £6bn-revenue sector serves an enormous market with considerable recurring revenues
  • Growing number of tenanted properties a boon for domestic cleaning market
  • Franchising model has proven hugely successful, with franchises accounting for significant market share

Contract cleaning is a mature, fragmented, intensely competitive market.

While a patchy economy has only intermittently helped over the past decade, the growing proportion of businesses contracting out cleaning has been a reliable growth factor. For compliance and reputational reasons, businesses cannot afford a substandard standard of cleanliness – especially in sectors like healthcare.

Enormous demand and low barriers to entry has resulted in a crowded market of around 40,000 operators. However, a relatively small number – with franchises prominent – have an outsize footprint.

The contract cleaning market is particularly susceptible to rising labour costs, which account for about 80% of a typical invoice. Thankfully, franchises can weather profit margin pressures through economies of scale and cost-efficiencies born of a business model streamlined over many years.

Franchises are also in the vanguard in the adoption of technological innovations like automated floor cleaning machines and data analytics.

Providers can increase revenue-per-customer by selling value-added cleaning services, with bundled service contracts often maximising value for customers.

Cleaning is more of a luxury product in the domestic market, but current and projected growth in the number of tenanted properties is a huge growth driver.

Research firm IBISWorld has concluded that the following are the most critical success factors in this sector: competing successfully on tender, communicating and negotiating effectively, and raising funds from additional sources.

Is a cleaning franchise for me?

A career as a cleaner probably isn’t required. Indeed, most cleaning franchises are actually management franchises, so you’ll be overseeing a team of cleaners rather than doing the cleaning yourself.

A background in senior management will probably help your candidacy. However, franchisors will primarily seek individuals with drive, determination, business acumen and organisational skills.

Sales, communication and customer service skills are as important as anything. Much of your role is about account management, finding new customers and motivating and guiding your staff.

The structure of cleaning franchises

Domestic cleaning franchises include Time for You, Molly Maid, Haus Maids, Merry Maids, Domestique, Nationwide Cleaners and Bright & Beautiful. In the commercial sector franchised operators include Jani-King, Betterclean, Total Clean, Minster Cleaning Services, NIC Services Group, SOLVED365 and MCS Cleaning Services.

Then there’s the like of Ovenclean and Oven Wizards. Oven-cleaning services benefit from the fact

that for non-specialists, cleaning ovens is unpleasant and time-consuming. With the average tenant moving after less than two years in a property, the growing tenancy market is a reliable and growing source of custom.

Franchises in other niches include Techclean, which cleans PCs, laptops and other electronic equipment; the Clear Brew beer line cleaning service; Kleaning Company, which deep-cleans new, nearly constructed or recently refurbished buildings; and CleanMe, an eco-friendly car wash franchise.

Chemex, meanwhile, supplies hygiene, cleaning and infection control products to businesses, as well as training and consultancy services. ServiceMaster Clean offers commercial contract cleaning, residential and commercial carpet and upholstery cleaning, and disaster restoration.

What transcends these differences, in general, are reasonable start-up costs and overheads – premises often not being required – plenty of repeat business and huge demand. You can often work from home and enjoy considerable flexibility in working hours.

The franchisor will provide comprehensive training and ongoing support in lead generation, marketing and a range of other areas.

They’ll also give you the information and tools to capitalise on the latest market trends. For instance, demand is currently growing rapidly in the transport sector but sluggish in retail and commercial offices.

If this sounds like the perfect opportunity for you, you should find out more about how to buy a cleaning franchise and make a start on your new venture today!



Anthea Taylor

About the author

Anthea Taylor is Content Producer at Dynamis and writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including BusinessesForSale.com, FranchiseSales.com and PropertySales.com as well as other industry publications.