Combining passion and elbow grease with energy and ideas, Jim’s Cleaning Group Founder Haydar Hussein created a franchise corporate success that’s now entering markets in New Zealand and Canada.

Haydar Hussein found his working passion quite by accident, while cleaning the bank he worked in. Pursuing that passion with application and creativity has produced a franchise company with an international presence that sees no sign of slowing down.

 

Following on a path of natural progression, Haydar Hussein left school at the age of seventeen to enter banking. It had seemed right: his father had done the same before him and made a good life for himself and his family.

Twelve years later Haydar was engaged to be married and working a second, part-time job to save money, cleaning the banking branch he worked in after hours. Soon he was cleaning four more branches in the area, and discovering that his moonlight gig trumped banking hands-down. It was enormously satisfying: in fact he loved it … and he was making more money.

The thought of risking a stable future in banking for a cleaning round seemed slightly outrageous. But happiness matters. Ambitious and passionate about excellent performance and the satisfaction of providing customer service, he left the bank and launched Haydar’s Cleaning. Customers he’d served at the bank gave him work, word of mouth spread, and before long there were more jobs than he and six staff could handle.

The business was growing fast and he had aspirations of going national, but also reservations: there were so many branded names already, big companies with marketing clout … where did the little guy fit in?

Haydar’s neighbour Andrew had joined the well-known and highly successful Jim’s conglomerate, heading a new arm, Jim’s Antennas. The business was booming, but Haydar wasn’t convinced he wanted to join an existing company. Exploring all options with an open mind, he initiated discussions with Jim Penman, the founder of Jim’s Mowing. This resulted in the purchase of a quarter of a Melbourne region from Jim’s, and in 2001 Jim’s Cleaning was launched, headed by Haydar. Each year, for four subsequent years, he bought another region from Jim’s with profits from the business.

 

Divide and conquer

By 2004 Haydar owned national rights to Jim’s Cleaning; three years later he was overseeing more than 87 regional franchisors*. Efficient and fastidious about detail and thoroughness — characteristics of his initial success, he was aware of the difficulties in controlling all aspects of a growing business that covered such varied aspects. Cleaning is not just about mops and brooms, and with constant high achievement a key to success, he made a move that saw

incredible growth take off. “Generally cleaners do the whole job: surface cleaning, carpets, windows, curtains and blinds, etc. But a cleaner who does everything may not do some things very often. Being out of practice means mistakes are more likely, and equipment used may not be top quality. The expense of a really good ladder, for instance, may not seem worth it … but then there’s higher risk of injury.”

Eliminating potential negatives is intelligent risk management and another key to business success. With typical thoroughness and practicality Haydar divided the business into six divisions: cleaning, window cleaning, carpet cleaning, blind cleaning and repairs, and car detailing. With every worker an expert in their chosen field, the business soared.

Currently, Jim’s Cleaning is growing by around 30 franchisees a month; and the franchisees’ businesses are growing, as well.

The theory worked. A person who specialises in one division is more likely to get the best training, have the best gear, use top equipment and, importantly, to practice safety procedures. Customer service is guaranteed to be better, and negative feedback or call-backs because something hasn’t been completed properly are largely eliminated. There’s small risk of injury and insurance claims.

A Jim’s Cleaning franchisee gets all of the above as a matter or course. The uniform provided is of cutting-edge design and top quality, equipment and cleaning products are the best available. Haydar is proud of the company’s signature cleaning products, developed by Jim’s Cleaning in response to environmental and health concerns and occasional insurance claims over damage from harsh cleaning chemicals. “We developed a range of plant-based enzyme chemicals which keep on working after application. It’s better all-round, for the company, the worker’s safety, the client and the environment. As an added bonus, franchisees can on-sell these products to clients for another income stream”.

 

Make the market clout your own

Haydar has found that there are many advantages to joining a big-name banner; while the franchisor business model, where franchisees are free to develop a franchise chain within their own regional territory means that growth and profitability are potentials for everybody.

“We find that the more vans we have on the road, the more it grows,” Haydar says. “And regional franchisor system works really well because regional franchisors know their area: what’s required and what works.”

The company recently celebrated its 1000th Australian franchisee, an amazing milestone, with no end to the road ahead in sight. With characteristic enthusiasm, boldness and business skill, Haydar has also gone off-shore, putting 50-plus Jim’s Cleaning vans on the road in New Zealand, and starting a market presence in Canada.

Jim’s Cleaning is now the largest domestic cleaning company in Australia, regularly achieving a 4.85 satisfaction score from customers. There are more than 1,050 vans on the road, but tens of thousands of jobs are knocked back every year because there aren’t enough workers. There are far more franchisees needed here in Australia, and the need is unlikely to slow.

As Haydar says, “With home-based work an established norm, the franchise concept is in an exponential growth pattern. There was never a better time to get into it.”