Why commercial cleaning franchise Urban Clean won’t play the discount game

By Sarah Stowe | 15 Oct 2020 View comments

Predictions for the commercial cleaning services industry forecast an uplift in line with an economic recovery from Covid-19.

Analysis firm IBISworld expects there to be greater competition too, as more cleaning firms jostle for a position in the market. At the same time the focus on hygiene has already seen a boost for some cleaning franchises, and there is likely to be further outsourcing of cleaning functions over the next five years.

IBISworld suggests the cleaning labour force will grow between now and 2025, which will help increase revenue.

The flip side of this however is the battle for the dollar, with more competition almost inevitably driving down prices.

Urban Clean is one cleaning firm that has taken a different approach to business building, and its franchise model.

Rather than focusing on cost, founder Damien Boehm has created an alternative model that provides solutions for customers’ needs.

“My breakthrough [in the business] was thinking ‘how do I stand out from competitors? How do I keep my accounts? The secret to success is keeping accounts long term,” says Boehm.

“I asked my best clients what do they want. And it came down to six things. And price was not one of them.”

Clients were concerned about who turns up to clean, and what they actually do after they get the keys.

The 11 year-old business puts contract acquisition, efficient cleaning methods, and client retention at the heart of the business.

Franchisees start by doing the work to understand the processes and protocols, and then learn how to train cleaning staff. And it’s something that can be taken on as a part-time role before building the business up to a viable full time operation.

This is a low-cost investment too, at under $20,000.

Boehm began franchising in 2014. He has seen the network expand to more than 100 franchisees in the network who service schools, childcare centres, gyms, offices, manufacturing, construction and medical firms.

“In the world of commercial cleaning that isn’t always the case – some franchisees have very little opportunity to grow,” he says. “That’s why I started Urban Clean.”