This sustainable cleaning franchise was the top franchise in its category in 2021—despite the global pandemic. Find out why it thrived THEN, and why it’s STILL soaring in 2022!

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My guest today is Sharon Cupach, Senior Director of Franchise Development at ecomaids, an eco-friendly brand focused on science-based cleaning. She’s here to talk about how ecomaids and Happinest Brands built and now sustain the top cleaning franchise in 2021.

00:59 What happened at ecomaids in 2021?
86% of franchises never reach 100 units. But in 2021, ecomaids grew to start 2022 with 100 franchise units across the U.S because they not only have proof of concept in the eco-friendly cleaning space, but they’re also backed by years of franchise development experience and owning every part of that engine—all in 17 months since the pandemic started. Their sister brand has 140 units now, and their legacy brand Lawn Doctor has over 650 units, a great track record for Happinest Brands.

4:08 All franchises are not created equal
It’s much easier to grow a franchise when there’s financial strength behind it and systems already in place. They can take time and care to develop and look at cutting-edge solutions, technology, and cleaning protocols and equipment. But marketing is the biggest thing this franchise brings to the table—investing to ensure they’re creating demand for their franchisees, so they don’t have to worry about selling. That is a huge part of investing in a toolbox.

9:31 What background and skillsets are right for potential ecomaids franchisees?
First, organization skills are key. You have a lot of balls up in the air with this business, and they need to make sure that they can juggle effectively and not drop those balls on a regular basis. Sharon vets that by how they go through her process—how organized they are throughout—and the successes they’ve had in their past, not necessarily career-wise but volunteerism, child-rearing, and so on.

Second is “gritology,” a word Sharon coined that means finding solutions, not excuses. You have to make quick decisions and pivot based on what’s happening in the business that day. Third, being a good communicator is crucial. People need to be able to speak directly, clearly, and compassionately in this business. You’re going into people’s homes, servicing customers, and raising up your staff and leading that team, which is so critical. The culture within your company has to be on point.

13:37 Working ON the business, not IN the business
“Juggling a lot of balls” doesn’t necessarily mean going in to clean someone’s house. The worst way to do this business is to get caught in that trap of I’m just going to fill in once or twice. It’s a recipe for failure; you won’t reach your goals. You cannot work ON while you’re IN.

14:20 Being an employer of choice
Outculture your competition. That’s what ecomaids has set out to do. You have to be the employer of choice. You have to be better. You have to provide a better opportunity. And that’s not always money-based. In these unprecedented times, paying people more to provide them with a stable income is a necessity to be competitive. But they don’t stop there. They provide health care benefits, opportunities to build a career, buy a business for themselves, and work in a pay-for-performance culture.

In ecomaids’ model, you are a community employer and business owner. That’s where your people work and your customers are. You should want to elevate your community and be a significant positive resource for that community by giving people jobs and opportunities to build new skills, support their family, and work their way up the ladder. There are layers of opportunities within their organization that they can tap into to grow, develop, earn more, have good self-esteem and work ethic, and build their character—all of those good things that people strive for and want in a job and employer. That’s the win of your business.

20:30 How to create wealth in a business
Wealth is created in business through scaling with:
Real estate,
and People.

A business is always the passthrough vehicle to some outcome. Now, we’ve talked about the characteristics of what owners do in this industry. And that’s what matters, not what the actual business does. At the end of the day, cleaning is a long-term, sustainable, recession-resistant, and now pandemic-resistant business. For anyone inspired by this conversation and considering an ecomaids franchise, please contact me.

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