Mobile And Cleaning
Our feature story focuses on mobile and cleaning industries within the franchise world. Both of these sectors are growing and business is booming for people on the move.
The franchising industry in Australia represents a vibrant and dynamic segment of the small business community, contributing upwards of 14 per cent of the national GDP.
The choices in franchise opportunities are nearly limitless. As is the scope of minimum investments required. The financial minimum investments listed in our franchise listings section alone range from a mere $5000 start-up fee to upwards of $400,000.
This is a good place to start. Get with a banker or financial consultant and come up with a realistic figure of how much you can afford to pay for a franchise.
Then you must decide if you prefer a fixed location, as in a retail site, or a home-based business model that has you traveling to your customers.
Buying a franchise, or any business for that matter, is a major decision. Before you begin your research, have a clear idea of what type of business you would enjoy owning.
In this issue we take a look at the benefits, drawbacks and choices in buying a mobile or cleaning franchise. These franchises would appeal to individuals who are looking to make a low to moderate initial investment, would most likely prefer to work on their own or with a partner and seek the flexibility and low overhead associated with working on the road and from home.
If the sound of a mobile or cleaning franchise appeals to you, explore your options, narrow your scope and start the process rolling.
We consider mobile franchises to be any business that can be conducted with the use of a vehicle.
As the owner of a mobile franchise you have the benefit of having no fixed location, no lease, no site selection issues and no landlord. You are able to keep your costs low. You can work from home and take your product or service to your customer.
Be aware that this will also mean you will be spending a great deal of time in your chosen vehicle. If you like the open road and the thought of traveling to your customers, this may a good business to pursue.
With low start-up costs, little or no staff needed and the flexibility that comes with having no fixed location, a mobile franchise may be perfect for someone new to the franchise sector.
So what opportunities are available? The list of available franchises that are mobile is longer than the roads you will be traveling.
The family car
For some businesses, you can use your vehicle only to get to your desired location. In which case it could just be the car you have in the garage.
Accounting, advisory or professional services would all be considered mobile and would not need a particular vehicle. This would include tuition and educational instruction as well. In these roles you would be the primary asset as your professional knowledge is your marketable product. You will more than likely travel to clients’ homes or businesses and charge a fee for your professional advice and service.
The fully loaded van
Another option is to buy a franchise in which your vehicle is your business. This would include things like dog washing vans, mobile tool vehicles and all the coffee vans you see at schools and footy games.
Everything you need is in your vehicle. You travel to your customers, but your customers come to you. Your vehicle is your place of business.
Then you have the vehicles that hold all the things you need to conduct business once you reach your desired customer. Services such as lawn mowing, car cleaning, dog grooming, house cleaning, fence repairs, home décor services, pest control, property inspection, furniture restoration, vending services, outdoor fitness, plant rental, home repairs, sharpening services, beauty treatments, pool maintenance and computer repairs would fall into this category.
The party car
Then, for those of you who like to have a bit of fun while you are working, there are mobile franchise options in the recreation sector. You could supply bouncy castles, teach yoga to children, make teddy bears, be a DJ at parties or walk dogs and feed cats.
Again, these are just a few of the choices available if you are considering a mobile franchise.
One of the best ideas when considering which path to follow is to first decide what type of service appeals to you. Obviously, if you are not a pet lover, than a dog washing franchise is probably not a wise move.
If you love exercise and being outdoors, perhaps you should start your research on the fitness industry options.
Buying a franchise is your first step to the freedom you are seeking. Don’t make the mistake of settling for an industry that you might not enjoy just because it initially costs less or the financing is easier to obtain.
This is your chance to change the way you live and work. Find a franchise that appeals to you, then speak with the franchisor, speak with other franchisees and have a good
long conversation with yourself. Is this what you really want? If the answer is yes, then go for it.
The cleaning industry has seen significant growth as more and more people have less and less time to dedicate to keeping their house, office and car clean. This has opened up the possibilities for more and more specialized franchises to fulfill the demand for both domestic and commercial cleaning.
As with the mobile franchises, once you start doing some research, you will be amazed at the huge variety of cleaning franchises available.We have covered some of these in the mobile section, but the specialties include cleaning cars, gutters, tiles, houses, schools, businesses, windows, carpets, upholstery, mattresses, pools and ovens.
Cleaning franchises are nearly always mobile as well, as you will have to travel to your customers’ location to perform the service.
The exception to this would be a dry cleaning franchise, in which you would have a fixed location.
Cleaning franchise opportunities often appeal to couples or families, as they can work as a team to complete the job. It is also handy to have one person available to handle the accounting and marketing side of the business, while the other partner is on the road.
Many of the cleaning franchises available have a central booking system which enables you to be out earning income instead of stuck at home scheduling customers. Uniforms, cleaning supplies and training are also part of the franchise package.
Things to consider
These lists are by no means completely comprehensive – but are merely a guide to show you the nearly limitless possibilities available to you if you are considering pursuing a mobile or cleaning franchise career.
As with all industries, there are some pros and cons. As stated earlier, a mobile or cleaning franchise (which is usually mobile as well) has many benefits. However, one of the things you must investigate thoroughly, if you wish to purchase this type of franchise, is the agreed upon territory.
Our article ‘Know before you go’, by Louise Wolf, gives a very detailed explanation on the questions to ask when entering into a franchise agreement that involves territories. This is vital when your primary source of income is generated from you being out on the road finding and establishing customers.
Do not underestimate the importance of territory in the mobile business. It can often be a ‘make or break’ scenario when it comes to creating a successful business.
If you are considering a business that involves a vehicle or a vacuum (or both) and you now realise the number of options available, you can go forth and start your research. Be smart – regardless of the fact that this may be a smaller initial investment – it is an investment in your future and your business. Treat the opportunity with as much importance and focus as you would if you were buying into a franchise that involved large start-up costs.
Ask all the questions, gather all the relevant information from the franchisor and seek the help of professionals in the franchising field including bankers, accountants, lawyers and franchise consultants.
Regardless of whether you are considering buying a mobile, cleaning or fixed location franchise – make a plan. John Downes shares with us some insightful tips on building a business plan in his article ‘Don’t plan to fail’.
Phil Smith also helps with advice on maintaining control of your finances by having an active role in all aspects of the money side of your business. Read ‘Knowledge is power’, by Phil Smith for advice on understanding and handling your financial statements.
Review your franchise agreement. Understand your territory restrictions. Know what your operating costs will be. Have a clear picture of the possible profits attainable. Speak with other current franchisees.
Once you have done all this you will be in a much better, safer and confident position to sign on the dotted line and hit the road.
We have listed a few of the available franchise systems that would fall under the mobile and cleaning umbrella. This is not an exhaustive list, but a good place to start.