Mike Biggs shares the true story of Jani-King

Jani-King is the world’s largest commercial cleaning franchise company with more than 120 support offices in 10 countries. Through a global network of over 7,500 franchisees, Jani-King delivers a superior commercial cleaning program to a wide range of customer locations including office buildings, hospitals, hotels, sporting venues, universities, restaurants, manufacturing facilities and more.

Headquartered in Addison, Texas, Jani-King is consistently recognized as a global leader in Commercial Cleaning Franchises. In this interview Mike Biggs – Senior VP, Sports Partnerships & Global Market Sales at Jani-King International, Inc., shares the story about pioneering the concept of commercial cleaning franchise company, and how that has kept the company at the top of its industry.

1. How did you enter the franchise business?

In 1974, Jani-King’s founder identified the franchise model as the solution to a long-standing challenge in the commercial cleaning industry. Prior to ’74, there were no franchised commercial cleaning companies. The industry was made up of traditional companies with employees and managers who took very little pride in their daily tasks of cleaning. Franchising gave an individual the opportunity to take pride in their work, receive training and support, perform to higher standards, and earn unlimited income as a business owner. Jani-King’s entrance into franchising, and subsequent success, set off a wave of other cleaning companies to jump into the franchise model. As the first commercial cleaning franchisor to market, Jani-King was able to forge early relationships with the International Franchise Association and quickly expand the business across the U.S. and into multiple countries.

2. Where and how did the idea of your concept come from?

As a student at the University of Oklahoma in 1969, Jani-King’s founder befriended a janitor at the hotel they both worked at. The janitor wanted to grow his business but did not have enough time in his day to talk to other local businesses about their cleaning needs. Jani-King’s founder realized that he could help his friend by signing new accounts for him to service. In a short time, his efforts were so successful in signing business for his friend that he left the university that same year and founded Jani-King.

3. What makes your brand different from your competitors?

Because Jani-King was the first national commercial cleaning franchisor, the company has always exuded a tremendous amount of pride in being first to market with new programs. This has given Jani-King a competitive advantage time and time again. Additionally, through decades of experience and in-the-field learning, Jani-King’s franchisees are provided with the best training and most effective business practices. Jani-King also sets itself apart from the competition because Jani-King’s brand is globally recognized and the company continues to forge partnerships with many of the world’s most recognized brands in order to keep Jani-King’s name at the top.

4. What are the essential qualities that you look for in a franchisee?

Having prior business management experience is desired, but throughout Jani-King’s network of master franchisees there are wide-ranging backgrounds. What makes each successful is their commitment to the Jani-King program and understanding that the trial and errors have already been overcome. Jani-King has been developing business leaders and growing territories since 1974. The company has many master franchisees that have been in the system for 30+ years and who continue to invest in new territories. A desire for success is our most essential qualification.

5. How long does it take, on average, for your franchisee to realize their investment?

A lot depends on the franchisee and how hard they work the Jani-King system that is set up for their success. Through business offerings we are obligated to provide and the extensive training programs separating Jani-King as the originator of the commercial cleaning franchise concept from all of its imitators, we have many examples of successful businesses.

6. What was the major challenge you faced in your career and how did you overcome it?

For me, it was a lot like what any Jani-King franchisee faces in the world of entrepreneurship and owning one’s own business. I have not only owned a Jani-King master franchise, but also two sole consultancies that ran operated for more than a decade. Hard work, persistence and following the successful practices of those who had gone ahead of me was the key.

7. What is your best achievement?

Not sure what I could name as a “best” achievement, but my “favorite” has been the creation of the Jani-King towel sports marketing program with caddies spreading across several professional golf tours.

8. How does your business day start?

Usually the night before I’ve created a to-do list for the following day. When I first get to the office I check emails, see what needs response that day and then try and knock out the task I least want to do first. I find that helps prevent procrastinating and letting something I might not want to – but need to – do get put off and delayed.

9. What was your best moment throughout your franchise career?

As an executive at Jani-King, it was creating a division and area of the business that had not previously existed in full.

As a master franchisee, it was receiving that very first investment check from a unit franchisee in a new market and seeing him establish a profitable business within a year and then develop 2-3 other business owners from his community.

10. Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years?

We see Jani-King’s brand as a trusted name in the global commercial cleaning industry. Over the past two years, Jani-King’s brand has been recognized as an essential service, providing much needed disinfecting services to businesses and helping to reduce risks associated with the spread of viruses. In the coming years, Jani-King’s continued international expansion will open new territories and new opportunities for others to learn about the brand and importance of the commercial cleaning industry.

11. Any tips you want to impart to our readers who want to be in the franchise industry?

The franchise model offers master franchisees a bonified route for growing their business beyond a single location or even a single territory. Partnering with an established franchise company also provides a faster route to market, a proven plan for growth, and qualified support. We strongly recommend talking to other master franchisees in the system to gauge their satisfaction with their investment.

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