Curt Albertson is the Master Owner for Anago Cleaning Systems of Cincinnati and Dayton. Prior to joining Anago, Curt worked as a manufacturer’s representative in the premium/incentive industry selling in the states of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky (1978-1994); owner of a distributor company that sold to the premium/incentive industry nationally (1994-2000); and owner of an embroidery, silk screening, and pad printing company that employed 80 people on three shifts (2000-2004). Curt purchased his Anago Master Franchise in May 2005 and opened for business on July 11, 2005.
Franchise Chatter (FC): What initially attracted you to the Anago Cleaning Systems Master Franchise opportunity?
Curt Albertson (CA): I was attracted to entering the commercial cleaning industry with Anago because the cleaning industry was not an industry that could be hurt by imports — something that had affected me in my previous jobs. This industry has multiple revenue streams and one that I believe had no limit to my earning potential. Also, I found the commercial cleaning industry to be desirable because it is always in demand, as people are always going to need their offices professionally cleaned.
FC: What specific steps did you take to study the commercial cleaning business in general, and Anago in particular, before finally deciding to invest?
CA: I had done my research on different companies within the commercial cleaning industry, as well as visited Anago on their Master “Discover Day,” and had read as much as I could on the Internet. I also called a few current Anago Master owners for their input on the operations of their franchise.
FC: What is your vision for your Anago Master Franchise in Cincinnati/Dayton? What are your targets in terms of revenues, number of unit franchisees, and number of corporate accounts for this year, and beyond?
CA: My goal is to reach around $5M in annual sales for reoccurring clients, $300K per year for one-time jobs, 65 franchisees, and ultimately up to 350 accounts. For 2012, the numbers are projected at $3.8M, $180K, and 51.
FC: Describe the level of competition among commercial cleaning companies in your territory. How do you position Anago to stand out in the marketplace?
CA: There are tons of cleaning companies out there in my territory, which consists of 12 counties, but I believe this is a good thing because it’s an opportunity for me to prove why a non-client should use my service. I differentiate my Anago franchise from other competitors by personally going out on each sales call, and explain how we can be a better solution for their commercial cleaning needs. Meeting potential clients in person is beneficial because I can select which franchisee would be the best fit for the account, and explain who and why this person would excel for the potential client.
FC: How involved have you been in running the business? How big of an organization do you need to operate the franchise?
CA: This is not a business where the Master Franchisee can be completely uninvolved. He or she either has to be hands-on from a sales standpoint or on the administrative/operations side. You need to hire additional staff to support the responsibilities of running the business as well. At the end of 2011, I had five internal employees. Today, I have added to my crew and have nine internal employees.
FC: What is your strategy for securing profitable commercial cleaning accounts for your unit franchisees?
CA: A successful sales team needs to know when an account is worthwhile and when to pass. You cannot take on every account and pass it along to the franchisee without deciding if it will be profitable for them, because if the account is underbid, the franchisee and the client will both be upset and the account can unravel. It’s also crucial to decipher if there is extra work that can add profit to the account.
The franchise cleaning business is competitive but still allows profitability for the franchisees. The future of securing accounts is Internet advertising and the continuation of telemarketing.
FC: What is your strategy for recruiting qualified individuals to become unit franchisees?
CA: My strategy is making it clear that I will only recruit quality individuals that want to build a business with Anago. Once I have prospective franchisees in my office during a presentation, I make it perfectly clear that after the presentation, they may never hear from me again. I say that not because I’m uninterested, but because I want them to believe in Anago, to see the light, and to make their own decision. Why should I pressure them into something that is hard work and takes time to build if they are not sure they want to do it? We also incentivize current franchisees to talk about the business to their friends, family, and community. It is surprising how word of mouth gets around.
FC: What are your thoughts on the quality of training and support you’ve received from Anago?
CA: It’s been a very positive experience. I have always believed that help is there if you ask for it. Anago is exceptional in leading its franchisees in the right direction. You can reach out to them for support, for a push in the right direction, or for a concrete example that they have run into in the past.
FC: What has been the most exciting thing about running your Anago business?
CA: There are a lot of perks to being a Master Franchisee for Anago. I’ve got independence and I get to be home every night. I’m genuinely helping people start a viable and profitable small business with tremendous cash flow and the experience of using someone else’s business plan — I finally don’t have to create it but just follow it. You can take Anago’s business model to the bank — if you follow the Anago system, you will be successful. Anago knows the business and has the correct systems in place.
FC: Is there anything else you wish to share about your Anago Master Franchise in Cincinnati/Dayton?
CA: In my case, the sky is the limit. At my age of 56, I have to determine just how large I want it to become. So, I need to find the right sweet spot and work hard at keeping within those guidelines.