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Diamond in the Dirt: Commercial Cleaning Icon, Anago, Cleaning Systems Targets Northern New Jersey

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30-Plus-Location Janitorial Franchise Grows Under-the-Radar, Plans to Use Bergen, Passaic, Sussex Counties as Hub for Expansion

Of the countless businesses slowed or crippled by the recent recession, the commercial cleaning segment is one of the few to emerge mostly unharmed, says Adam Povlitz, Vice President of Operations for Anago Cleaning Systems. Facilities always need cleaning regardless of the economy, and he says many veteran white collar workers downsized throughout New Jersey during the period are now viewing the industry for its franchising and profit potential, as opposed to the “less than glamorous” work perceived as involved.

“Let’s face it, commercial cleaning isn’t the sexiest franchise going, and when the economy is strong, it’s not at the top of a prospective franchisee’s list,” Povlitz says. “But when people who have experience in business look closely at this industry and they realize that it will be here forever—not replaced by automation or the Internet—they see that the business case for it suddenly makes a lot of sense.”

Anago is very focused on growing throughout areas of Bergen, Passaic and Sussex counties, while providing multi-tier franchise development opportunities. Anago is searching for Master Franchise Owners in the state, who will be responsible for growing throughout Northern New Jersey among other communities. Using its Master Franchise model, Anago partners with experienced business people who can sell, market, and manage large operations with multiple crews. Master Franchise Owners don’t clean, Povlitz stresses; they recruit unit-level Franchisees to perform the cleaning services, and they grow their business by landing new accounts for those Unit Franchisees to clean.

“The Master Franchise Owner manages a sales and administration office that supports those Franchisees doing the cleaning,” Povlitz says. “This is where we provide an incredible business opportunity for white-collar workers to put their years of business experience to work for themselves.”

Additionally, Anago’s model provides growth opportunities for unit-level Franchisees, who may use franchise ownership as another source of income on top of their day-time employment or other business ventures. “Flexibility has been essential to our growth,” Povlitz said. “We offer opportunities for any would-be entrepreneur. And we have done so without anyone really knowing who we are.”

With over 30 Master Franchises and 2,000-plus Unit Franchisees, Anago has remained under the radar. This has been a critical piece to the brand’s success. One prime example of the under-the-radar growth has been in South Florida, where the brand has secured over 180 Unit Franchises quietly, and in cities like Nashville, where the franchise awarded over 50 Unit Franchises in 2011. “We plan on experiencing the same level of growth in Northern New Jersey,” said Judy Walker, Vice President of Marketing. “We plan on making New Jersey’s offices cleaner, while adding more jobs and business ownership opportunities.”

According to Walker, only about 2 percent of all commercial cleaning businesses are franchised operations, while the rest are “mom and pop” firms lacking efficient systems, experienced management, and support for field teams—if they even become that large. And while few small cleaning firms see the benefit to switching to a franchised brand, Facility Managers are eager to have insured professional crews that do the work well on a consistent timely basis.

“The industry is incredibly fragmented and has lots of good cleaning companies, but not all of those owners know how to run a business effectively,” adds Povlitz. “It’s incredibly hard for them to spend all day promoting and selling their businesses and then go clean all night when those customers’ offices are closed.”


Anago Cleaning Systems is a commercial cleaning franchise system supporting over 30 Master Franchises and over 2,200 individual franchisees in the U.S. and internationally. After years of refining procedures and creating duplicable systems created in his conventional commercial cleaning service, David Povlitz founded Anago in 1989 to help other entrepreneurs open their cleaning businesses. Today, its program sets the standard in U.S. commercial cleaning. Anago was ranked the fifth fastest-growing franchise by Entrepreneur magazine in 2010 and 2011, and ranked by Franchise Business Review as one of the best franchises in franchisee satisfaction. Inc. Magazine has also listed Anago as one of the top privately-held companies in the U.S. For further information, visit its website.

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