When Mark Arduino decided he wanted to get involved with owning a franchise, he and his consultant put together a list of potential businesses. Anago Cleaning Systems was right at the bottom.
“At the end of the day,” Mark thought “who wants to own a cleaning company?”
Fast forward 6 years and Mark is very happy he changed his mind. Now, along with his wife Deb, Mark is the Master Franchise Owner for Anago in the Metro Detroit area, and the organization is seeing award-winning successes year after year.
We interviewed Mark and spoke about what made him want to run a franchise, why he chose Anago, and what the future might hold for him and the business.
So tell us about your business.
Anago of Metro Detroit is part of national commercial cleaning company, Anago Cleaning Systems. We are the Master Franchise owners for the Metro Detroit area. There are two parts of our business model. The first is that we look for individuals who want to own their own commercial cleaning company. This model works well because we provide a comprehensive orientation program, sales & marketing, administrative help, equipment & materials, and insurance. Basically, we handle the administrative side of the business so that the franchise owner can focus their efforts on cleaning and supervising their cleaning crews.
The second part of the business model is that we act as the sales department and find commercial cleaning contracts for our franchise owners. Since most of the work is performed after 5:00pm, it would be difficult for them to find work since most all appointments are set between 9:00 – 4:30. We take the stress of selling the cleaning contracts away of the franchisee by handling this aspect of their business.
What made you decide to become a franchise owner? And why cleaning?
I had been working in the automotive industry for over 25 years and always dreamed of having my own business. I knew I wanted to buy a franchise so that I could follow a prescribed methodology, and after looking at many different franchises I chose Anago because of the various streams of revenue. Another reason I chose this franchise opportunity is because the cleaning industry is also a recession resistant opportunity. People still need their bathrooms and offices cleaned even when the economy isn’t good.
They say that to be successful you have to be passionate. Why do you love what you do?
The two of us love being in charge of our future financial destiny. We are not relying on another company or person to dictate our future.
My wife and I are very competitive and passionate individuals, but we each bring different skill sets to the business. This makes us a strong team. We get to spend a lot of time together, so at night we have common things that we can talk about.
Has it been smooth sailing or have you overcome adversity to get where you are?
Owning your own business is never smooth sailing – it always has its challenges. I bought the business with a friend in 2009 in the down turn of the economy, and we didn’t experience the growth that we expected. In retrospect, we were not following the prescribed methodology which is why we bought the business in the first place.
We made a conscientious decision in 2013 to change how we ran the business and can certainly say that in 2015 we have seen the fruits of our labor. We have doubled our business in just 2 years.
Who can you turn to for help if you need it? Are there organizations or groups in the area that support small business?
We have a great support group. First and foremost we have the parent company to lean on for any and all types of help. We also lean on the other 35+ Master Franchise owners like us. My wife and I have a tendency to reach out to those that have been in the business longer than us. We also use some local janitorial supply companies that lend us their expertise when our franchises can’t solve a problem.
What do you do with your time off? Are you familiar with that concept?
We do get time off. It may not seem it because we might still talk or e-mail our franchises and/or clients, but we generally set our own schedules.
We like to attend our kids’ school and sporting events. This business has certainly given us the freedom to set our own schedules and to be able to attend most all events.
This is the age of the social network. How important is social media to your business and how do you make it work?
I think social media is very important for our business. I’m not very good with social media but I have a company that assists with our on-line presence.
Are there any other tools or special programs you use to make your life as a business owner easier?
Taking advantage of technology. Being able to do things on the road or remotely has certainly made our lives easier.
How are you involved in your community? What does supporting local mean to you?
I have been involved in many of our kids’ school activities for many years. As our kids are getting older and leaving the local schools, we have turned towards the Yellow Ribbon foundation. It is a local group that focuses on improving the lives of our wounded warriors.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
Great & Fantastic.
Do you have any advice for franchise owners just starting out?
For anyone who buys a franchise the advice is simply to believe in and follow the system. Look at the successful franchises that came before you and mimic what they did. Also, run hard until you hit those milestones of success. It might seem like a long time but in retrospect it is a short period of time.
Detroit is an amazing place. What do you love most about the city?
I love that it is the automotive capital of the world. That’s what brought me to Detroit 30 years ago. Also, I love the renaissance that is beginning to occur in downtown.