Q&A with Leanne Stapf, Chief Operating Officer, The Cleaning Authority
How has the brand pivoted throughout the pandemic?
With COVID impacting every industry, The Cleaning Authority was not exempt. At the start of the pandemic, several of our locations made the decision to close. About two months later, 40% of our locations were open or reopening and the rest were soon to follow.
The professional cleaning services provided by The Cleaning Authority were, and still are, in-demand. Our franchise owners continued to provide superior cleaning services to ensure homeowners were able to enjoy their time indoors in a clean, comfortable and safe environment.
Immediately prior to COVID we were in the development phase of our customer facing app. Once COVID hit, we immediately added new functionality that would push notifications to the customer when the cleaners were on the way, and when the cleaners completed the clean so that the customer could socially distance during the clean if they chose to. We were able to launch the app in early April, which was perfect timing in an era where we needed less one on one contact.
To continue to persevere and provide services during these unprecedented times, we transitioned our open houses to virtual meetings to accommodate prospective franchisees. In addition to that, we were able to secure a large order of Vapor Steam Machine for franchise owners, which utilizes dry steam vapor to sanitize and disinfect surfaces. This allowed our franchise owners to differentiate themselves in the marketplace by offering additional services and to earn additional revenue. We also built an extensive training program for our franchise owners through our Learning Management System at time of machine deployment.
Lastly, we introduced the option to set virtual in-home estimates. Depending on the franchise owner preferences, our national call center began offering appointments for both the traditional in-home estimate as well as virtual estimate to prospects looking for service.
What qualities make The Cleaning Authority an attractive business for franchise owners?
The Cleaning Authority offers a variety of qualities that make the brand an attractive business for franchise owners.
One being a scalable, recurring revenue. The Cleaning Authority serves more than 45,000 families each week and with most customers averaging a clean every two weeks, our franchise owners are pulling in recurring revenue from a repeat customer base. Elite cleaning services are always in demand and our reputation for excellence, coupled with our franchise model have helped our franchise owners grow large businesses. At The Cleaning Authority, our franchise owners average $1.1 million in annual revenue*.
When you become a part of The Cleaning Authority family, you’re provided with the marketing tools and operational infrastructure to build a profitable and sustainable business, while working toward absentee ownership. From our national marketing strategies and customer acquisition processes to management programs and real-time profitability tracking, we provide comprehensive training to franchise owners to ensure they feel confident running their business – even if they’ve had no previous experience in this industry. We’re fully invested in our franchisees success and will continue to provide the resources and support needed to achieve each of our owners’ personal and professional goals, while also providing a healthy work-life balance. Our business model allows owners to set their own schedule and doesn’t require late nights or weekends.
What kind of support did The Cleaning Authority offer at the start of the pandemic and is it still being offered?
During the height of the pandemic, we allowed franchise owners to discontinue their required local advertising. When coming out of the height the pandemic we reduced the requirements and shifted the local advertising program, which was primarily a brochure marketing program to a more digital-based program. This was done for two reasons; one, customers were spending more time online and two, we could pivot messaging more quickly than direct mail depending on the current state. We also developed new brochure creative to react to the new COVID state.
In addition to Town Halls and regular communications, we worked with various partners to provide webinars regarding SBA EIDL Loans, the Paycheck Protection Program, proper chemical and PPE usage, Employee Retention Tax Credits, business insurance, the CARES Act, etc. We also partnered with several banking brokers and created a committee to assist franchise owners file to secure PPP funding.
We also offered no interest financing for franchise owners that purchased the Vapor Machines or for those that were looking to expand their business through acquisition of competitors.
We created a COVID specific resource catalog for our franchise owners with templated communications to customers, prospects and employees. The resource guide also provided documents to assist franchise owners who were temporarily suspending service and then when they were coming back online. We also created auto-communications that franchise owners could opt into for terminated customers, customers who had placed their service on-hold, or had skipped several cleaning cycles.
Who is the ideal franchisee prospect for The Cleaning Authority? What type of background aligns best with this type of business?
At The Cleaning Authority, we take great pride in our franchise partnerships. We seek out partners that align with our passion for being environmentally friendly and want to carry out our mission. Candidates should have a net worth between $225,000-$250,000 and liquid asset of at least $60,000. As franchisees are onboarded, they can expect an initial investment between approximately $76,011-$169,044.
Our franchisees come from different backgrounds and have varying financial histories. However, they share some characteristics that are critical to being a successful business owner. All of our franchise owners are committed to delivering a premium customer service experience and developing a professional team that confidently and positively represents the company.
What are your plans for growth and development going into 2021?
While the pandemic has certainly had a devastating impact on many business verticals, it’s also presented opportunities for entrepreneurs to succeed in industries primed for growth – such as the home service industry. With the help of our devoted franchisees, we have positioned ourselves for strong growth in 2021.