Beware Business Owners and New Entrepreneurs: Commercial Cleaning Franchises

When you hire a commercial cleaning company or janitorial service for your business, you probably believe they will oversee or perform the actual cleaning of your site and have an inspection process in place to ensure quality. For reputable commercial cleaning companies, that’s exactly what happens and you have nothing to worry about.

Selling Cleaning Contracts

Unfortunately, it’s not always the case. Ever heard of a commercial cleaning or janitorial company selling their customer contracts? Probably not, unless you’ve experienced this problem yourself and received substandard cleaning along with no one who appears to be accountable. There are a growing number of “commercial cleaning companies” that market to new and established business customers without ever performing so much as wiping off a county. They get the client to sign a contract and then sell the cleaning contract for a significant profit – usually by a factor of 3:1.

The contract buyers are often smaller, usually less sophisticated cleaning companies without the infrastructure to market their own cleaning services or start-ups hoping to launch a business of their own. Barely able to cover their overhead, many of these small companies are not able to recoup their investment in your contract until at least a year and probably more before they start making a (very small) profit. The company you thought you hired to clean your workspace generally completes this type of “outsourcing” without full disclosure to you.

These “franchising” companies often have no cleaning crew of their own, no quality control system and no real interest in your business but they do have one interest: money. Let’s say as a business owner, you unwittingly sign one of these contracts. Then after a couple of months and several phone calls later, a whole new crew comes in to do the cleaning. What happened? The first selling company has put in motion their cancellation clause terminating the crew that was there and then resold your contract to another crew and the cycle continues.

Misrepresentation and Other Problems

So what is the problem with this scenario? Well, several things. Why would a commercial cleaning company want to sell a contract? The first answer is money. They don’t care about your business at all, no matter how convincing they sound. Your business is simply a means to an end. Your monthly contract is $1,000 and they sell it for $3,000, a profit of $24,000 over 12 months. And you are not their only victim – they sell hundreds and even thousands of these contracts without every using a vacuum.

Second, the company that sold you office-cleaning services is misrepresenting what they are offering. You are literally handing over the keys to your livelihood to someone who is misleading you from the get go. Some who’ve been bilked would go so far as to call these folks scam artists since they go as far as promoting “franchises” that promise enormous returns on the investment in contracts. See examples of what happens to people who buy the contracts and janitorial franchisees.

If you want to avoid this type of experience and hire a reputable commercial cleaning company, make sure to talk to current and previous clients of the company, check out their status with the Better Business Bureau, and be wary of signing long-term contracts.

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