How was your franchise/opportunity originally conceived and started?
The founders managed 3,000 apartment units in Texas and were greatly dismayed at the difficulty of cleaning and keeping the carpets cleaned in those apartments. That challenge lead to some exploration and then development to create Empowered Water™ and our comprehensive process that results in a really clean carpet that stays clean (as well as other living surfaces.)
What was your original vision for your company? How has that changed over time?
The vision was originally to “change an outdated industry” (in terms of cleaning methods.) That vision has not changed. What has changed is the clearer conceptual view of organizing our Zerorez System to succeed and grow…with a stronger central corporate team, with stronger strategies and tools, and development that focuses on filling out operating regions, and with a view of bigger franchises who what to grow.
What do you believe is the single most important factor when choosing a franchise?
They need to have a passion for this business and our concept. It doesn’t work to passively invest just to ‘buy a business.’ They would need to work at and feel like ‘part of the family.’
Why should someone choose your franchise over other similar franchises?
We have a system that really works…it provides a REAL clean and everyone is proud of a great outcome in the home or commercial location’s service. Zerorez franchisees also have a real and significant voice.
What makes your industry attractive?
There are lots of ‘low ball operators,’ so our superior service does really stand out.
What types of qualities do you look for in potential franchisees?
They need to understand business and especially need to understand and appreciate a business that is extensive in the areas of customer touch. It’s a ‘roll-up your sleeves business,’ not a quiet back room ‘mind game’ business.
What do your franchise fees and royalties cover?
Overall management of the brand, preparation and provision of training and marketing materials, provision of a brand portal—with contact information/library of resources/on-line ordering of supplies, initial training and follow-up with new franchisees, maintenance of a brand website and development of local websites. Also, the provision of an annual operational leadership training seminar and an annual Owners Conference.
How do territories work for your franchisees?
We provide designated non-competitive territories. An individual territory is a geography that has about 300,000 population. A Regional Development territory is an entire DMA (as defined by the Nielsen Company.)
Why has your franchise model been successful?
Our cleaning process really works. We have a brand name that is memorable and our franchisees have worked to keep the process strong and the customer execution strong.
Where do you see your franchise in 5 years and 10 years?
We see continued growth and an even stronger and more prominent brand in terms of awareness, market share and preference. Our current aim is to get to the point of adding a new franchise every month (12 per year.) In 5 more years, we would have about 99 franchises; in 10 years we would have about 159 franchises in the contiguous US states.
What is your favorite advice for new franchisees to help them succeed?
Learn the process and really apply yourself to the fundamentals of this business. Reach out and get the wisdom of other successful franchisees. Follow the brand practices.
What would you tell potential franchisees that may be nervous about the financial burdens of starting a franchise?
Make sure that you have plenty of funding to propel growth. This business is driven by marketing, not by people dropping in off the street, as with a restaurant concept, for example. So, you can’t scrimp on marketing, just like you can’t scrimp on the process, nor on the people who deliver the cleaning process.
Can you explain your financial assistance (if applicable)?
One of our key suppliers will assist in the financing of our mobile cleaning vans and supplies.
On average, how long does it take to start a new franchise from the franchisees point of view?
Once the Franchise Documents are signed, a franchisee can be up and running in under 3 months. We encourage our potential franchisees to talk to other franchisees, to come in for a Discovery Day, to really understand and buy into the business before saying “yes.”
What was your background and experience before founding this franchise?
A deep marketing career, starting with Procter & Gamble, followed by 35 years in national and regional restaurant companies (most of which were franchised) and a stint as a franchise owner myself. I understand franchisees!