Dory Ruyts spent seven years as the head of housekeeping for a luxury apartment complex. She made sure the offices and clubhouse were clean and that vacant apartments were ready for new tenants. But after she trained a groundskeeper who ended up making more money than she was after a few months on the job, Dory decided it was time to go into business for herself.
So she and husband, Dave, started thinking about how to make the move to becoming business owners.
“It was just the push we needed:’ Dory said. “Dave and I stepped out. We thought, ‘If we are going to work this hard, let’s do it for ourselves: We never looked back. We never regretted it.”
The next step was figuring out what business best suited their skill sets and interests. Dave had spent 10 years in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear welder and was, at the time, working for a manufacturing plant. The couple thought about getting into the welding business, but it’s an expensive startup, so they turned to Dory’s expertise in cleaning.
They purchased a commercial cleaning franchise and learned the business. After eight years and significant growth, they sold that business and started their own janitorial company.
As they looked into franchising that business, they found commercial cleaning company Anago Cleaning Systems.
Anago’s standards of business principles aligned with theirs, and the Ruyts decided to work with Anago rather than jumping through the hoops and tackling all the paperwork that went with setting up their own franchise.
“It was the best decision we ever made,” Dory said.
Dave and Dory took over the Charleston territory last June. They oversee franchisees in nine counties along the coast of South Carolina. Right now, their main focus is the Charleston area, but they are close to opening a satellite office in Hilton Head.
Over the years, the Ruyts have honed their system of running a business and teaching others to run a business. They believe in sharing their knowledge, les-sons they learned and how to help franchise owners grow their business.
They found that same kind of teamwork attitude in Anago.
“The quality of people that run Anago really impressed us,” Dave said. “They are there for us. And that’s the way we are with our franchises. They are in business for themselves but not by themselves. We are in business for ourselves but not by ourselves.”
They also liked Anago’s VetFran program, which gives military veterans a discount on their franchise down payment as long as they have been honorably discharged. Each master franchise sets the discount, and the Ruyts offer 20% off.
The Ruyts also provided a significant support system for the 20 independent franchise operators they oversee—and that number is growing.
One benefit of this business is franchisees can start small and grow to whatever size and level they desire while knowing they have the Ruyts to back them up. They offer instruction on everything from billing, hiring, bidding for jobs and customer relations. Franchise owners can purchase specialized cleaning equipment through them and pay it off as they go.
Purchasing a franchise like Anago is a low-cost startup and helps people learn the ins and outs of owning a business.
“They might not want to do commercial cleaning forever,” Dave said, “but it teaches them how to run a business!’
But the one aspect of owning a business that applies to just about every situation is the dedication and commitment to making that business successful. The Ruyts have worked hard at their business but now can enjoy some of the benefits of working for themselves – like taking their boat out on a Wednesday morning.
“When you first get started, it may require you be away from you home and family for a little bit:’ Dave said. “But the time will come when you have employees and you have more time.”
Photo features Dave and Dory Ruyts, Master Franchise owners, Anago Cleaning Systems. Family: Two daughters and six grandchildren. One daughter owns an Anago franchise and the other is in the process of purchasing one. Hobbies: Dave enjoys watching movies, and Dory unwinds with jigsaw puzzles and sewing.