Robin had her own cleaning service. She operated out of her apartment, but planned to own a building in the future. When she signed on more clients than she could handle, she recruited friends and relatives to help. They didn’t know everything Robin knew — like what kind of cleaning supplies to use on granite and marble surfaces or how to use all the vacuum attachments — but they were energetic… even though they also felt free to take vacations or to leave early, since they weren’t really employees. Then her customers started asking about bonding and insurance. And her taxes got complicated, too, since she was paying workers. Finally, she learned that she needed a license, and should also be collecting and filing sales taxes.
Robin felt like she ought to go back to school to take some business courses, but she had no free time. She could have stepped back and taken on just as many customers as she could handle herself, but she didn’t want to give up her successful business or let her friends down. All of them liked having some extra cash, but Robin was beginning to worry that she was going in the wrong direction and might be heading for a crash.
Robin’s solution? She bought a cleaning franchise.
That might seem like a strange choice, because she already had a successful cleaning business. But Robin knew that she had strengths and weaknesses. Her strengths included a natural sales ability that helped her grow her client list, a group of supportive friends and family members who were ready and willing to help, and ambitions beyond being a casual cleaning lady.
Her weaknesses included a lack of knowledge about business. She also had trouble taking a boss-lady attitude with her friends and family, and she worried that they were counting on money she might not be able to keep providing. Her kindness wasn’t a weakness, but she could see that her unprofessional attitude toward her workers was.
Robin also could see that the franchise cleaning services in her town had a big head start compared with her service. People recognized their names and they had high-end branding and marketing assets that Robin couldn’t match. She knew they were able to charge more than she did, too.
For Robin, buying a franchise made perfect sense. Her experience gave her a strong start and made it more likely that a franchisor would accept her application. Her knowledge also helped her decide which franchise offered her the best return on her investment. The business systems and software would help her manage her business efficiently and remove a lot of stress, while the coaching and training would help her gain knowledge in the areas where she needed to learn.
The training materials would help her create a more professional relationship with her workers, and the branding and marketing — from recognizable logos and uniforms to professional TV ads — would give her company a more professional look.
If you’ve started an independent business already and it hasn’t been exactly what you expected, consider a franchise business for your next step.