WHY not to hire a janitorial franchise!

In December 2010, we provided insight on the four types of Janitorial Service providers that are primary servicing the entire building industry. One of the primary was a Type 1 Janitorial Service provider which is basically a nationwide franchises. Names of these franchises can be googled in by typing ‘commercial cleaning franchises’. At the end of this blog, I will give you a real life example of how I experienced a local franchise bidding on a commercial building which was managed by an owner.

A national janitorial franchise will most likely grab as many accounts as fast as the salesman can drive from one building to the next, and then hire sub-contractors or Franchisees to do all of the work at a minimum price.

When you begin to realize that the cleaning service you receive does not measure up to the salesman’s pitch you are left with an office that is not clean, the company has your money in their pocket, and you are left with a dirty office, scrambling to find a reputable service to come in right away. You do not need this kind of trouble.

What can you do?

Do not hire a National or Franchise Company to clean your office or building. If you do some quick research via google, you will find that they have minimum employees and usually they have is the salesperson! Also, when doing a google search type in words like reviews, lawsuits, complaints in front of the name of the company. Additional information can also be found at http://www.unhappyfranchisee.com

Although their advertisements may claim to offer the ability to staff your building with their employees, most of these companies utilize small franchisees as owner operators! An account is sold to these franchisees (owners) for 3 to 4 times the monthly amount.

This means that they have no control of the day to day operations and actually have no one from their company on your site.

So, do you really know who is in your building? Can you be sure that they are insured, registered or legal?

Why take that risk?

Why you should avoid Franchise Cleaning Companies. 
Most franchise cleaning companies do NOT make their money from the cleaning contract they have with you.

They make it by selling your contract to a franchisee.
They anticipate and actually expect some of the franchisees to fail!
It allows them to re-sell your contract to another franchisee.

Do you want the headache of having a new franchisee every 2 to 3 months?

If you have any questions regarding utilizing a franchise company, ask them to pass this simple test, I have the facts for you:

1. Ask for a list of cleaning clients that they have been servicing for 5 or more years.
Fact: Probably NONE.

2. Ask for a list of franchisees that have been owners of a franchise for more than 5 years.
Fact: Probably NONE.

3. Ask what the background is of the franchisee that will be cleaning for you.
Fact: Any John who can pay 3 or 4 times the monthly account value, the royalty fees, and any other franchise fees. 

4. Ask them how much of the invoice you pay will actually be received by the franchisee and then consider this; would you run a business for that low a rate? And how long?
Fact: Variates from franchise to franchise (ranges from 1o to 25%). A franchisee would be running a business at extremely low wage after paying for all the expense. Now you figure out how long would that last!! Not too long. 

5. Ask them to introduce you to the franchisee owner who would actually clean the facility? And ask them, if he or she can be your contact person for any issues.
Fact: They will never introduce you to the franchisee owner neither would he/she would be your contact person at any time. Reason being, they want to control and be able to sell their accounts to different franchisees to maximize profits.

5. After you’ve done all of this then check with the Federal Trade Commission and see how many former franchisees have litigation pending.
Fact: You will find many litigations out there, google them!

You do have a Choice:

There are many things to consider when it comes to choosing a janitorial service.

We have already made some of those clear for you.

Here are a few others:

• Smaller to large (Type 3) , local, and family owned private companies that have time for you and your buildings.
• You are the consumer (not a franchisee/sub-contractor) and you will be given the personal attention that you should be getting.
• Most of the money you spend with a locally owned and operated janitorial service provider will stay within your city or community, and this boosts your local economy.
• Someone is always available to attend to your needs, answer your questions or run over to your office within hours notice, because you matter to them.


This is a real bid analysis and estimates that I got from a building owner here in San Francisco, California. He obtained 4 bids for his Class A commercial building, three from privately owned local companies and one from a national janitorial franchise.

Bid # 1: $2,950.90 (competitor’s bid)
Bid # 2: $2,540.00 (competitor’s bid)
Bid # 3: $2,650.00 (MCC bid)
Bid # 4: $1,800.00 (Janitorial Franchise)

Fact # 1: Note the significant low bid by the janitorial franchise company.

Fact # 2: They will sell this account for atleast 3 times the value (minimum $5,400) prior to even starting this building. It will take the 3 private bidders atleast 16 months to make that kind of profit.

Fact # 3: They will find something negative about the franchisee and take the account away and sell it to another franchisee to make additional $5,400. By doing this 2 to 3 times per year they have made enough money that their least concern would be the client.

Fact # 4: You are dis-satisfied with the service, try giving them a termination notice or try getting rid of them. It will take you a minimum of 6 months to terminate them + be prepared for their legal team to be pointing towards the signed contract and potential litigations on failure to abide by the signed contract.

Fact # 5: They purposely underbid this job (or any job as a matter of fact) because they make money selling their accounts to franchisees.

Finally, now that all their tricks are exposed….please do not hire a janitorial franchise for the cleaning and/or maintenance services for your facility. As we indicated to the owner of this building, he can hire MCC Building Maintenance or one of the two other bidders (privately owned company) to provide services to his building. To my utter surprise, we were selected for this building and we are proud to say this building owner is on our long list of happy clients.

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