Carpet Cleaning Issues - Carpet construction, upholstery cleaning, stain removal, equipment, events, etc.

opinions on franchises
Posted by joemarriner (joemarriner), 12 January 2004

Any feedback welcome

Posted by lenpg (Len Gribble), 12 January 2004

Hi joemarriner

Before buying into any type franchise system is ask a lot of question if they are defensive go no further (they have something to hide) if not some of the questions I would ask

1.      How many franchises in you area or cross-area.
2.      How many franchises have you got (that would include those since the franchise inception, what is their drop out range then do your calculations)?
3.      What are your prices and your cut (remember you have to live then pay for insurance, equipment etc)?
4.      Ask for a franchisee list then phone them (get there reaction and take it from there)

I could go on YES Iím ante franchisor as in there view the can be only one (as the film dictates) I donít know your circumstances in my opinion your money would be better spent on the best equipment and advertising.

Having said Iím ante franchisor you franchisees out there prove me wrong, there must be some one?


Posted by Jim_Lynch (Jim_Lynch), 13 January 2004
Gíday Joe.
You will probably get a lot of anti-franchising opinions from the contributors to this and other boards. Simply because the majority are fiercely independent operators, and have an ingrained suspicion of franchises, although most probably know little about the subject.
Franchising is not for everyone. But, it has itís place in our industry, as well as a host of others. To simply come out as anti-franchise, without appreciating the benefits it can provide, shows ignorance.
OK, Iím a franchisee in Australia, so some of my comments may not necessarily apply to the UK scene, but in general terms, franchising is the same world wide.
Firstly, all franchises are not identical. Some will require a monthly royalty, marketing and advertising levies etc. Some will do all advertising for you, some wonít. Some have exclusive territories, some donít. Some will let you take work from outside your designated territory under certain circumstances, some frown on that. Some provide excellent backup and advice, some are very ordinary in that respect.
Franchises can offer two main advantages, and they both relate to time.
Franchises cut the learning curve. All those systems and procedures that are handed you when you buy a "turn-key" franchise may (depending on you) cut years off your "success cycle". Time really IS money.
Franchises generally are much easier to sell. The name recognition and all the systems available  greatly reduce buyer apprehension and increase their  appeal. In addition, most good franchises  will help you market the sale of your company, many times to another franchisee looking to expand.
Brand recognition is an important consideration. I get a fair amount of work from people moving from other towns and cities, and even internationally.
Back up and support. The age of the Internet and these discussion boards has certainly helped the dissemination of information and advice. Prior to that however, most independents were left on their own to sort out problems. In a franchise system such as mine, I can get information and help from over 3,000 fellow operators from around the world.
Marketing. Why try and reinvent the wheel? A good franchise system will have a bank of marketing and advertising information available at the touch of a button. These are tried and proven strategies.
Insurance work is generally given to the larger franchises. This is an excellent source of income.
Many opponents of franchising refer to the fees payable. As I said earlier, all franchises are not the same, and the level of fees and levies needs to be taken into account. But bear in mind that it is unlikely you would have much of that income in the first place, so as your fees grow, your income will also grow exponentially.
In my particular case, my monthly franchise fee is a flat amount, not related to turnover, and it is less than the lease payment on my van. It is recovered by one or two jobs. Now, the downside is that there is no centralised advertising or marketing, but that suits me. I see little value in expensive television advertising.
As said earlier, the learning curve is drastically reduced. Most franchises have their own in-house training, and you have contact with fellow operators in the field if you need help.
As regards the questions posed by Len, these are covered by legislation here, and the franchisor is required to provide that information, plus more, before granting a franchise, or renewing one. My franchise is renewable every five years and that information is supplied readily.

Just remember, it isn't the franchisor doing the cleaning, If you don't perform, being a franchisee or independent isn't going to make any difference.
I hope that balances things a bit. Get plenty of legal and accounting advice before committing yourself.
But,above all...keep an open mind,

Posted by woodman (woodman), 13 January 2004
Hi Joe

Jim has covered the subject well,

Franchising can be a very good way to get into business.

Why don't you look at existing franchise business's that are up for sale (for genuine reasons).

These companies especially Servicemaster have been established many years and as a consequence new areas for sale are generally not available.Chem-Dry on the other hand tend to fill an area with new starts causing all sorts of friction between licensees for instance my area has five.

The top Franchises, Servicemaster,Chem-Dry etc will have a list of businesses for sale,this will be more expensive but at least you they will be established in the area.

It all depends if you want to get invloved in Insurance claim work or just domestic or both.The big boys are invloved in this kind of work, the one you quote are not.

Jim where abouts in Australia are you based?

Posted by Jim_Lynch (Jim_Lynch), 13 January 2004
I'm in Brisbane, Woodman.
Stinking hot and humid at the moment.


Posted by Novice (Ian Gale), 13 January 2004
Thats not a bad idea from woodman. Plus the franchisee has to buy all cleaning materials and machines from the franchisor and although I know the price of jobs differ (domestic) from one franchisor to another at least you would have another outlet to check if he is doing the turnover he claims and how old the machines are.
Posted by Tony_Browning (Tony_Browning), 13 January 2004
Talking of this
What's your opinion of this then?
Tony  Shocked
Posted by Scots_cleaner (Scots_cleaner), 13 January 2004
Why dont you just go for this "No wet wonder foam"
Carpet and upholstery cleaning just seen it adverrtised on Tv........Only cost £24.99 Plus pp...

Posted by lenpg (Len Gribble), 13 January 2004
Hi Tony

Site very interesting may use some of their words myself; I would suggest they look at Shawís site

May take them up on the free test, doing a pub soon more gum than Wrigleyís selling back the slops (I donít drink in this pub).


Posted by lenpg (Len Gribble), 13 January 2004

Hi Jim

Nice part of the world where you live, any way I said Iím ante franchisor not ante franchisee, I know a few of them and are good CC.  Iím a bit surprised that it took (you) Australian franchisee to come back with a reply doesnít that say some to you?

I will concede franchising has a place but buyers in the UK beware some are sharks. (Iím talking as an ex-franchisee who got the investment back plus cost it took 3 years in there eyes Iím a bad franchisee so be it I won)


Posted by woodman (woodman), 14 January 2004
on 01/13/04 at 11:06:46, Jim_Lynch wrote:
I'm in Brisbane, Woodman.
Stinking hot and humid at the moment.



Hi Jim

Reason I'm asking is my Sister lives in Perth W.A.

Same for them there, very hot at the moment.

Posted by Scots_cleaner (Scots_cleaner), 15 January 2004
This may not concern carpet cleaners but a Minster cleaning franchise cost 50K up front of course THE BANK will fund part of it against your house wife, kids, car even your mobile phone if they will get £50 for it.

10 20 or 50k just what could you do with that kind of cash for marketing?
Never mind giving it to someone for they privilage to have thier name in lights then you have to find working capital for yourself...........Must be good being the Franchisor
Posted by Ian_G. (Ian_Gourlay), 15 January 2004
I was under the impression that for 50k Minster actually got the contracts for you and would replace them if contract was lost.

Could be wrong ?
Posted by SteveTruman (SteveTruman), 18 January 2004
Found this site by accident, seems a genuinely helpful site. Re franchising, i bought one of the big franchises in 1990. OK for 6 yrs. then they wanted me to sign new license agreement. This in actual cost put my fee up from £175/month To just short of £600-00. After much legal wrangling and polite phone calls i called it a day and went freelance ( Best thing i ever did ) Apart from solicitors costs in getting out of franchise, the master franchise wanted all customer lists, machinery back (Which i had payed for ) and tried to stop me cleaning for 12 months. In the end i passed  a list out of phone book to nearest franchiseShocked)) and kept working with all machinery. On the plus , they say you pay for knowledge so i would not of known how to clean the dry cleaning way without buying the franchise. In the end i just let the franchise go losing my 15K investment. The area was saturated with the same franchises so when i released mine at the time they sold it for 35K. So all i am saying is dont plough a lot of hard earned cash into somebody else's pocket before looking into doing it yourself first.
Posted by amberview (amberview), 19 January 2004
Hi Joemarriner,

For what it's worth our advice to you is to think long and hard before commiting youself.

If you are looking to get involved in the restoration field then, unless you have "friends in high places", I would think it is now just about impossible for someone new to get established as an independant. So for you, it could be worth considering.

If you are looking to do only carpet and uphostery cleaning, then the money you would have saved on the franchise fees, fire and flood restoration equipment, would buy you a good training course the best equipment and an awful, awful lot of high quality advertising.

As far as the other comments posted in reply to your question, everyone appears to have sound advice, but I would like to leave you with some further points:

DO get the contract looked at by a specialist lawyer, before doing anything. They are binding, onerous and largely only look after the franchisor. You need someone else to tell you just how "one sided" they are. Don't assume that everyone else has had it looked at, so it must be OK - most franchisees don't, at their peril.

Don't believe the franchisors predicted turnover figures for the area you are contemplating buying. They are often very optimistic, and as you would be new, harder to achieve as you will be working slowly and making mistakes.

If the franchisor tells you how much working capital you will need, the chances are that you will need far more. Almost all the franchisees I know, have had or are having, cashflow problems.

Look at the different franchises fee structure. I am now paying several thousand pounds per month in various fees. (Yes, you did read that right!)

Check the contract to make sure the franchisor cannot increase the fees after you start trading. Ours has and it is badly effecting our profit margin.

Do speak (if you can) to the franchisees who are "pissed off" with their business, as they will be "pissed off" for a reason.

You could at one time (and possibly even today) make a good living from a franchise, but as the contracts constantly evolve, it is the franchisor who who benefits more and more from your hard labours. The contracts never evolve in the franchisees favour.

Good Luck

Posted by lenpg (Len Gribble), 19 January 2004

Hi joemarriner

Looking though this months C&M (Cleaning & Maintenance) publication

I came across another carpet cleaning franchise

Looks good, why didnít I think of leaving the portable on the van and calling it a TM, (as dell boy said what a plonker)

Regarding Amberview post there can be only one the franchisor.


Posted by Dave_Lee (Dave_Lee), 20 January 2004
The mentioned "Carpet Doctor Franchise".
A guy sitting at our breakfast table during last years 'Alltec Extravaganza' told us to be very worried because this year he was hitting the mainland UK (He was Irish) with his Carpet doctor franchise and was going to open up branches throughout. He also told us that his concept was so dynamic that clients would come rushing, wanting them and no one else to clean their carpets once word got round. Needless to say we all gave each other the look you would give each other and got on with our breakfast.
Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 21 January 2004
Hi Dave

The guy you are talking about is Willie Little from Belfast.

All his franchisees are NCCA and IICRC trained, his organisation is very professional. I saw his advertising material in its early stages of development and I can honestly say.... it was impressive.

If Willie says he will do it... then he will

Posted by SteveTruman (SteveTruman), 21 January 2004
on 01/21/04 at 05:59:02, Derek Bolton wrote:
Hi Dave

The guy you are talking about is Willie Little from Belfast.

All his franchisees are NCCA and IICRC trained, his organisation is very professional. I saw his advertising material in its early stages of development and I can honestly say.... it was impressive.

If Willie says he will do it... then he will
Good luck to Willie ( Another Franchise ) All competition welcome... But once again i say go it by yourself the rewards are much greater.. New franchises will find it hard with the likes of Chem Dry and Servicemaster having the insurance work sown up ( or the bulk of it ) Good luck anyway




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