When a typical person hears the word franchise, oftentimes what comes to mind are the huge chains in everyday industries such as fast food, restaurants, retail, etc. However, franchises come in all different shapes and sizes, one of which being commercial cleaning. Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Victoria Murray, a Senior Regional Director at Open Works, a leading national commercial cleaning and facilities services company established in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1983. Murray joined me on our podcast Franchise Euphoria to discuss the operations and functionality of Open Works and shed some light on how franchising and commercial cleaning go hand in hand. I was surprised to learn the intense structure created for those who franchise with them – over 350 partners nationwide.
The key point that struck me in that statistic, though, was the word “partners.” By definition, a partner epitomizes equality, respect, and mutual responsibility. This was the first note that tipped me off that Open Works had a unique system for how they integrate franchisees into their business model. Drawing on some key points from our interview as well as intertwining some ideas from my own business experience, today we are going to discuss why you should realize that your franchisees are more than just another cog in your beautiful business machine.
Murray discussed in our interview that while the business of Open Works centers around commercial cleaning services, if one of their franchisees found themselves wanting to specialize in an ancillary service provided by the business – landscaping, for example, or even more specifically windows in particular – they provide a pathway to navigate their investors into additional service offerings for multiple revenue streams. Not only that, but Open Works also offers five different stages of growth to help get their franchisees into a position that is desirable, comfortable, and applicable to their lives. This is a great example of a company that is constantly planning for success through the eyes of their investors. Rather than allowing your franchisees to get stuck in the perpetual cycle of everyday business operations over however many years they are involved in your franchise, allowing them to enter into new opportunities generates long-term satisfaction for everyone.
One of the key factors in operating a successful franchise is recruiting the right franchisees for your business. It is important that you hire like-minded individuals who share your mind-set and vision for the business. But more than just getting the right people into the right position, you’ve got to be sure that you are working your position properly yourself. It is not just what your franchisees can do for you, but they need to feel confident that what you’re doing for them is in their best interest. If your franchisees see you investing in them, there is no reasonable doubt that they wouldn’t do the same for you.
Another topic Murray touched on is how they train and network their franchisees. Many franchisees are set to cover specific territories and, as a result, don’t receive a huge opportunity to overlap with other franchisees. However, interaction between your franchisees could play a huge role for your business growth. By providing your franchisees an opportunity to meet on a semi-regular basis with other franchisees, they are able to communicate, remain relevant, share and potentially generate new ideas, and gain familiarity with the company. According to Murray, Open Works provides these fraternal opportunities regularly to their partners for that very reason and have seen tremendous results.
While it may be difficult to envision handing over these powerful tools to your franchisees, it is important to remember that you get out of it what you put in. You brought on your franchisees for a reason, and that was not just to read a script and complete the role of a fractional business owner day after day. Every individual serves as an opportunity to grow and has the capacity to add to your business in ways that you didn’t potentially think up yourself. It is up to you to recognize those opportunities, tap into the resources they provide, and guide them towards a future that bring success, prosperity, and life-long satisfaction for all.