Review of the Stanley Steemer Franchise Opp and Startup Costs

As one of the most established brands in the niche of deep home cleaning, a Stanley Steemer franchise gives you the opportunity to have instant franchise recognition in virtually any community. This organization has been operating at full steam since 1947 when Jack Bates invested $2300 into the carpet cleaning business that was based out of people’s homes. Starting with one man, this organization has grown to over 300 locations and is in 48 states, providing cleaning for tile, furniture, hardwood, and even HVAC cleaning in specific instances.

If you have a passion for cleaning and a talent for growing a business, then the bright yellow vans that are an iconic part of the Stanley Steemer image could be the right investment to make. If your standards are high and the quality of your work is even higher, then this could be the right opportunity for you.

What Is the Typical Initial Investment?

If you’ve decided to join Stanley Steemer, then the first place to look is at the franchise fee, which is $20k. This is a lump-sum fee that is paid upfront and in return, you receive a term of agreement that lasts for 20 years. Once you get your business up and running, you’ll also have an ongoing royalty of 7% that comes out of your gross sales. The initial start-up costs in fees can be as high as $50k, with additional investments such as office space, equipment costs, vehicle costs, and other as needed items reaching above $214k.

The benefit of having a Stanley Steemer franchise is that you get full use of the name and the equipment that is needed in order to maintain a successful business presence. You’ll also be able to be an absentee owner of this franchise, but nearly all of the franchisees for this organization are owner operators.

There are financing options available for franchisees who qualify. Instead of specific net worth requirements, an individualized approach is utilized with this franchise model and so having a strong business background, good marketing skills, and a good credit history will be your allies during the application process. You can finance your franchise fee and your inventory costs directly through Stanley Steemer, while third party financing is available from Bank One and Ford Motor Credit for the franchise fee and equipment you may need as well.

To save on costs, an added benefit of a Stanley Steemer franchise is that it can be run from a home office. You can even own more than one unit if you wish, although only a small minority of franchisees [15%] do this.

What Kind of Support Is Given to Franchisees?

Stanley Steemer wants to know that you know how to properly clean a home. Although a majority of the business you’ll receive is to be cleaning carpets, there are also call outs where you may be required to clean tile and grout. You might need to be able to clean an entire HVAC system for a commercial building as well. To prepare you for this, there are various trainings that are offered throughout the year that are specifically designed to enhance your skills.

There’s also an expectation, however, that you’ll have plenty of these skills already in-hand and won’t need to be trained in the basics of cleaning a property. If you’re looking to invest in this opportunity for a franchise, the best investments will typically come from someone who already has an independent shop and is looking to expand their business by joining up with a franchise.

Investing into a brand new business and simply acting as an investor, director, or consultant can be done, but that may increase your ongoing overhead costs and could push your initial investments higher as well. If you do decide to join up with this organization, however, you’ll also receive a large amount of co-op advertising assistance and access to national media campaigns. You’ll also receive ad slicks that can be submitted to local media outlets for your own local advertising efforts.

You’ll also receive an ongoing newsletter with organizational updates, regular regional meetings to discuss and enhance best practices, and a complete set of safety and security procedures so that you and your employees can stay as safe as possible while on the job.

How Good Is This Investment Opportunity?

The first consideration with a Stanley Steemer franchise is to take a look at their 5 year growth rate within the United States. Since 2005, the company has only developed about two dozen additional franchisees. This means that the market could be oversaturated with home cleaning organizations, so you’ll want to take a look at what your local community’s needs happen to be before committing to a franchise such as this if it is a brand new one.

The benefits with this opportunity are clearly with an organization that is already in business and just looking to utilize a national brand for a local customer push. That would require between $20k-$50k of an investment at most and the brand recognition in this niche could bring in extra business that wouldn’t necessarily come from being an independent organization or contractor.

The janitorial business does tend to be a recession-proof field, but that is generally for commercially-based organizations and not ones that are residentially based. Your competition as a Stanley Steemer franchisee isn’t just the local guys with a van who are doing the same thing you’re doing. You’ve also got the carpet cleaning rentals at the local store that are a fraction of the price of a professional service and that’s where many tend to go when they need their carpets clean when money is tight.

Is this the right investment for you to make? There’s a lot of risk involved with this franchise model. You do have a national website that will help you book customers, but you’ll have to establish a customer base on your own in order to survive. If you can network with property management agencies and landlords to get recommendations for your services and the brand recognition would help to facilitate this, then you could find a lot of success with this investment. It all depends on your skills, your ambition, and your passion for creating a clean environment. If you have that, then you could make this a very profitable venture indeed.