Top 3 Franchise Opportunities in Washington for January


  1. Commercial Cleaning

Outsourced cleaning services are primarily used in corporate offices and retail outlets. It is a growth industry riding on the post-recessionary increase in the number of new businesses and investments in non-residential real estate. Commercial cleaning services commonly provide nightly or weekly dusting, vacuuming and other cleaning services for workplaces. This attractive opportunity provides an easy-to-scale B2B model with recurring revenues.

According to the US Census and IBISWorld estimates, more than 90.0% of commercial cleaning/ janitorial establishments are sole proprietorships or non-employing businesses. This is primarily due to the low barriers to entry, including low capital intensity. However, being part of a recognized or larger franchise brand does give a significant advantage in getting larger and more specialized contracts. It also enables the owner to leverage key best practices to scale the business in a competitive landscape. Other success factors include,

  • Ability to understand and control the mix of labor, material and cleaning supplies costs depending on the needs of the clients
  • Ability of the business to move away from price sensitive clients and short-term contracts to more strategic arrangements with niche customers
  • Ability to keep the cost structure, employee turnover and accounts receivables low

The industry has very low-barriers to entry and a growing number of employers and non-employers competing. Keys to success are strong brand recognition and specialization or solution selling.  Eco-friendly services are growing in demand. An aging demographic is creating higher demand for cleaning services in healthcare facilities.

Advantage for Franchise Owners

Most corporations or multi-site clients prefer to sign strategic contracts with national franchises for uniformity of service across locations. Also, property managers tend to prefer franchises because they are more likely to provide integrated services like landscaping, window cleaning, deep carpet cleaning, stripping and waxing floors, building management and even, security services. Executive franchise models position the owner to work on the business, not providing cleaning services themselves.

2. Staffing 

The external drivers for this sector are unemployment rates (since temp workers are the first to be laid off) and business profits (which has shown a nice bounce back in Washington since the recession).

Contingent workers generally present less risk for a business than permanent employees, especially during times of economic uncertainty. Meanwhile, businesses with highly seasonal performance have been better able to manage their work by hiring temporary staff, thereby allowing them to quickly expand or shrink their workforce in line with seasonal demand for their product or service.

Affordable Care Act (ACA) had raised the healthcare costs for staffing agencies and, on the other hand, made it more attractive for employers to hire via temp agencies. Temporary nurses, insurance claims processors, and administrative staff demand are all forecasted for growth. The rise of the gig or freelance economy and a cautious economic recovery has led to temporary staff becoming a permanent fixture in corporate ecosystems.

Over time, demand has shifted away from more traditional office and clerical workers due to changes in office technology (including computerization and mobile communication). For example, some manufacturing companies have increased their demand for temporary workers due to their just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing processes to meet seasonal or other peak demands.

In addition, more people are joining the temporary workforce due to lifestyle choices, family or other commitments. Professionals, skilled workers and managers are growing segments of the industry in light of these changes.

A growing number of job seekers are using temporary staffing services as a stepping stone for a more permanent position. According to American Staffing Association’s 2014 survey (latest data available), 34.0% of respondents who had previously worked for a temp staffing agency were offered a permanent position by their client at the end of their tenure.

The success factors in this market are building a loyal client base for repeat business, rapid delivery and supply of flexible, reliable and appropriately skilled workers who are available at short notice for placement.

A client typically chooses a staffing firm due to its suitable supply of qualified, trained or experienced staff who are available at short notice. Offering high service levels and flexible solutions is key.

Advantage for Franchise Owners

Small industry players do not have access to major clients that generally use larger agencies with a pre-existing national or global networks.

Furthermore, many well established operators provide clients with a full range of employment services that go far beyond temporary staffing, to include permanent placement, executive search, outplacement services and leadership training. Clients that seek these value-added services are more likely to work with a larger firm that has the resources to provide the full range of employment services.

Furthermore, finding a suitable pool of candidates can be difficult for entrepreneurs (non-franchisee) looking to enter the industry. Most temporary workers tend to work with staffing agencies where they have had prior success.

3. Tutoring

With two-person income households suffering the lack of time in a robust economy, the demand for quality tutoring delivered in a flexible format has never been higher in the Puget Sound area.

Parent concerns about the quality of public school education has traditionally fueled the demand for after-school tutoring. Facility-based learning centers can offer multiple services including subject based tutoring, general academic coaching and test prep .

Advantage for Franchise Owners

Following the downturn, it can be risky to open an independent tutoring businesses. Consider managing that risk with one of the proven business models in the tutoring and test preparation franchise category.

National brand recognition, effective customer acquisition strategies, and smart use of technology are some reasons tutoring franchises have become increasingly popular over the past five years. Franchisors also offer efficiencies to owners purchasing materials, enabling franchisees to offer more competitive pricing to customers while realizing better margins than many independent business owners.  Some franchise models include proprietary assessments to determine the appropriate learning plan for each student.



The Ultimate KPI

ultimate kpi

As an entrepreneur, I do suffer, a bit, from the shiny object syndrome. That is where I dart from one client email, to a phone call from a franchisor, to an on-line article related to, ironically enough, “How to better manage your time”.  So, what is the most important KPI for me?

Anchoring a business to few select measurements and then executing a strategy to pull the right levers to produce the outcomes you want is a practice shared by successful entrepreneurs: whether selling student handbooks door-to-door, designer eyewear in a Pearle Vision mall location, or a set of hearing aids in an audiologist’s office, you need to measure, track, and manage key performance indicators to know if you are succeeding. I used to think close rate was king. Cash was a close second.

My belief changed after hearing Matt Youngquist, a respected career coach and a great guy. He was talking about how to best manage a job search. If the only “good” day is one where you are offered a job you want, you are not going to be very happy most days, and building positive traction could be challenging. The KPI (Key Performance Indicator) he recommended using as a daily report card was outreach. How many people did you reach out to? Contacting five new people every day was the suggestion. Do that every day, regardless of your mood or confidence or workload… and progress will be made.

I veer toward activity related to client service, which isn’t surprising, because for me it is the most fun. My business model is based on helping guide someone through a, generally, once in a lifetime, high-stakes decision. When our work together is done, I start over with someone new – often a referral from the client with whom I just finished.

Holding myself accountable to the most important KPI for business development, five new contacts a day, regardless of mood or circumstance, is a smart way to ensure staying in business. I know it, and I don’t always do it. Still, processes focused on execution and fulfillment can always be sharpened. Close rates can be improved.

Make no mistake. The top of the sales funnel is the lifeblood of most businesses. Consider this carefully as you think about what business model is the best fit for you. I can help.

3 Reasons I Loved “The Big Short”


For movie fans, this is the season when all the good stuff is released. Good stuff means good stories. Stories that move you. Last weekend my wife and I saw “The Big Short”.  The setting is the lead up to the 2008 financial collapse and start of The Great Recession. It is not a win-win story. Very well told, it is mostly about the recognition of greed and ignorance, and the opportunities brought by that recognition.

Unfortunately, you know how it ends. EIGHT MILLION American jobs were lost! I am willing to bet you or someone you know was affected and have some scars to prove it. I certainly do.  Ironically, the same type of instruments that were the poison of the housing crisis and recession have re-appeared with different names. Instead of “Collateralized Debt Obligations” investors are lured by “Bespoke Tranche Opportunities.”

George Santayana famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” So, here is what I have learnt from my experience and from the movie.

  • Bet on Yourself

When the movie was over and my wife and I were back in the car, I looked at her and said, “that brings it all right back.” I got a little choked up. The “all” that I am talking about is losing my job, half my retirement, and some of my confidence.   The sheer panic, the fear, the anger, the humiliation, I kept it nearly all within myself. Hey, I had a family to support who were counting on me. I was counting on me, too. After all, over the course of 40 years I had built a self-belief that I was an honest, loyal, smart, hard-working guy who treated everyone with respect. There was just no way that those qualities had become liabilities. And if corporate America didn’t value me, then I would go it alone. Be myself, work hard, and make it happen. I was willing to bet on myself.

  • Do Your Homework

The characters in the movie were swimming up-stream, to say the least.   It’s more like they were swimming up Niagara Falls. But they did their homework and held strong to their self-belief. Michael Burry (played by Christian Bale) spotted the imminent collapse of the housing market by looking at EVERY loan in an investment instrument. It was thousands and thousands of individual mortgages. Nobody had ever done that. When he peeled it back and saw all the defaults, he knew what was going to happen. Mark Baum, played by a fat Steve Carrel, sent his team to Miami to tour neighborhoods and talk to strippers that owned five houses. He wanted to know if it was “real.” There is just no substitute for making your own phone calls, visiting locations and understanding EXACTLY what you are getting into. When my clients are considering investing in a franchise in Washington, I coach them through a rigorous due diligence and research process.

  • Circle the Wagons

In the car after the movie, my wife was quick to point out how well we had survived two job losses. Though the retirement accounts had been cut in half, we had worked hard to keep saving and managing our expenses. We never missed a mortgage payment, and we had bought within our means. Sitting in the title company office in 2005 signing our 30 year fixed mortgage, they kind of laughed at us. They said they hadn’t seen a 30 year fixed mortgage deal in months. Perhaps it was our upbringing, but it was the only thing that made sense to us. My wife is good at making me feel better about things. She wasn’t initially excited about my decision to not pursue another corporate management position. She liked the regular paychecks. But she could feel that there was no way I was going back to that life. I knew I could do something more independent, I did my homework, and I enjoyed her support and unconditional love. I was unwilling to be anything, but successful. Now, encouraging future entrepreneurs as a living is a great fit.  I have never been happier or felt more useful.

I coach my clients, who are considering leaving a corporate job, to pursue their dream of owning a successful business in Washington to remember these things. Believe in yourself, do your homework and ensure you have your family’s support. The goal is to make the decision to become a business owner with complete confidence and clarity. And the right decision may be not to invest in a business of your own, at this stage. You may need more skills or money. If it does make sense and we find the perfect match together – maybe in a recession-resistant category, the only smart bet will be to go LONG on you and your business.  I’m betting on you, too.

How Big Is Franchising Anyway?

The number of franchise establishments in the United States has grown to 781,794 – the highest it has ever been. Along with the steady growth, the International Franchising Association (#IFA) projects the industry to continuing its impressive expansion for a fifth consecutive year.