Lindsay McDougall from Ace Cleaning

Date: SEP 21st, 2012

Topic: Franchisor Reviews

BIOGRAPHY - Lindsay McDougall


What’s the story behind Ace Cleaning Services?

Ace Cleaning Services was established in Melbourne in 1949. With over 63 years of experience in the cleaning industry Ace have gained valuable experience in how to fast track business growth and build a successful franchise business. Ace Cleaning Services “Franchising“, is a professional company with the experience to equip and train you with the skills needed to establish and grow a successful franchise. Ace, provide a proven, and popular franchise product and systems with a history of successful franchisees in place. Apart from our commercial cleaning contracts, Ace have always provided Domestic services, home cleaning, garden and maintenance, steam cleaning, window cleaning etc.

In 2005, Ace began commercial franchising. Over the years the commercial cleaning sector has become very competitive, more demanding and more costly. Ace decided in 2008 to move the company’s focus into the far more lucrative domestic market and began market research into the best franchise models. Having a 63 year old brand and having begun our commercial franchise in 2005, gave Ace the perfect franchise structure to spring board into the domestic market.

The Domestic Market offers a huge opportunity to franchisees, with value added products, market expansion and profitability. Each Domestic Franchise is offered a highly flexible franchise model providing each franchise with the opportunity to multitask and develop their range of services offered to potential clients. This is provided by Ace with no additional purchase fees.

Ace offer a range of low start discount home cleaning franchise opportunities, Domestic Cleaning, Carpet Steam Cleaning, Lawn Mowing, Window Cleaning and Car Detailing that allows franchisees to build and develop additional income sources and greater scope for growth.

Ace provide full and comprehensive training in all aspects of your franchise with a strong focus on business Marketing and Business Management.

 

What made you decide to franchise?

I have been in business for over 35 years. In that time of have established a number of business in different sectors from scratch, retail, food, manufacturing and service. The cleaning industry I felt gave the greatest scope for development with many associated services that could be provided under the common banner of cleaning. Steam Cleaning Domestic Cleaning, Carpet Steam Cleaning, Window Cleaning, even lawn mowing. Therefore over the years I had focused most of my attention into the cleaning industry.

Having gained so much experience and knowledge in business building through, marketing, management, setting up systems and protocols that I have used and seen work over and over again, I felt that these skills would make a perfect resource to individuals with no experience wanting to start their own businesses.

My experiences showed me that the service industry, cleaning in particular offered the greatest opportunities to apply these skills for a new business start up. Franchising is the only vehicle I could see that would allow me to provide this intellectual property to individuals wanting to start their own business.

 

Tell us a little about the Cleaning Market?

Times have changed, long term job security is harder to find. The World and Australia’s economies are struggling. The current economic environment is challenging for many individuals and employers with staffing levels one of the first cuts a business may make.

Recessions and struggling economies can often lead to different business sectors booming and taking advantage of economic circumstance. The service industry is one industry that remains in the most part recession proof. The cleaning industry is an opportunity for people to enter into an industry at minimal start up cost and once having gained experience can invest into the expansion of their business, developing growth into any of the many profitable service options.

 

What have some of the challenges been in growing your franchise?

The most challenging aspect is people “buying a job”. Unfortunately some people get the wrong idea of what a franchise is and expect that instant success will result with little or no effort. Nothing could be further from the truth! Being a cleaner admittedly is not the same as being a brain surgeon, but running a cleaning business, any business for that matter requires the application of proven systems and the energy invested into the business to make the systems work. Unlike some franchises whose marketing suggest instant success with minimal effort, all prospective franchisees should realize that they are the only ones who can make their franchise a success by energetically applying themselves to the systems and protocols the franchisor has in place. With no effort on the franchisees part there is no likely hood of success no matter how good the franchise model is. A franchisee diligently applying the systems of a successful franchise will end up with a successful business!

 

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

Probably my greatest inspiration has been my best performing franchisees. Seeing them apply themselves to our systems and reaping the rewards has been gratifying and inspirational. One in particular who had just started his franchise and was already in dire financial straits due to some personal property issues. He came to see me and wanted to terminate the franchise and go to Queensland so that he could work 18 to 20 hours a day at $18.00 per hour picking apples! I talked it through with him and he committed himself to staying and worked incredibly hard applying himself to the franchise. In 18 months he has managed to acquire over 45 regular clients and over $140,000.00 of turnover annually.Under incredible financial pressure, he committed himself fully to the franchise and got the rewards he richly deserved.

 

What are some of the advantages in being a Ace Cleaning Services franchisee?

Flexibilty. When establishing our franchise model we ear-marked the most urgent requirements for any new business, cash flow and opportunity for growth. Our franchise offers minimal restrictions on territory and areas that the franchise can provide services and no restrictions on the types of service a franchise can provide.

The purchase of anyone of our franchises allows a franchisee to be trained and to be provided leads from our call center for any additional service the franchisee may want to provide at no extra cost or fee, (apart from them equipping themselves with the items they would need to provide the service). Additionally, to help with cash flow, Ace have set a flat rate monthly service fee paid in arrears. This means that the franchisee has time to accrue an income before paying a services fee and unlike a royalty based franchise where a percentage of their income is paid to the franchisor, our franchise means that the more you earn the more you keep.

 

What “Gadgets” (Blackberry, Iphone, Ipod, etc) can’t you live without?

All of them. I have found technology creates greater productivity and enhances and builds upon my own abilities. I don’t think any business could operate without a phone but the added features of the iPhone, once used, are indispensable.

 

What do you do in your spare time?

I paint, oils watercolors, acrylics. I have painted and from time to time taught art. It’s a great escape from the pressure of business and a very satisfying. I even have my own website, www.lindsaymcdougall.com.au . I also play golf, like painting, it’s something that takes a lot of effort to master and you can never truly master it.

 

What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?

Look for a successful business that has a proven track record and longevity in the industry you are looking to enter. Understand that the franchise alone will not make you successful. Your application of the franchise system and the energy you put into your franchise will directly reflect your result. Unfortunately there is no magic wand for success.

 

In your opinion, why do you think that Ace Cleaning Services would be a great opportunity for someone?

Certainly the low entry cost and flexibility. I have modeled the franchise around what I would want if I were buying a franchise. Things like the ability to achieve fast growth, maintain cash flow, the ability to expand and the ability to look for work where and when I want it. This is what I have factored into our franchise model and so far those that have taken the opportunity to utilize these features of our franchise have without exception achieved excellent results and in a short time developed exceptional businesses.