Published on 17 Mar 2022 Time 9 min read Last update by 16 May 2024

10 Incredible Benefits of Owning a Home Clean Heroes Franchise

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Patrick: You have Patrick Findaro here, co-founder at Vetted Biz. I’m very excited to have two executives from Home Clean Heroes. They’re both based in Virginia Beach, and it’s a brand that’s part of the Buzz Franchise Brands network. Today, we’re going to talk all about the residential cleaning industry, how it’s been changing. And especially in light of COVID, talk about the benefits of going with a franchise brand like Home Clean Heroes, some of the initiatives that they’re doing on the local front, on the first responder side, and giving back to the community. This brand’s grown quite a lot over the past years, up to nearly 10 franchisees, various franchises also in different stages of development. So we got Joe Delatte who’s the president of Home Clean Heroes, as well as Austin James, who’s leading the franchise development efforts at Home Clean Heroes. So, thanks Joe and Austin for being on today.

Joe: Thanks, Patrick, glad to be here.

Austin: Yeah, thanks, Patrick.

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Joe Before Home Clean Heroes

Patrick: So, Joe, you’ve been with the brand for a couple of years now. Can you tell us a little bit about how you entered into the franchising space, especially the residential cleaning industry?

Joe: Sure. We started this brand in 2017. I came shortly after it first fired up. And before that, I owned a home services franchise here in the Virginia Beach, Norfolk Metro area. So, my background in franchising is as an operator, and I can tell you, I couldn’t lead this brand without that hands-on Grassroot experience because, you understand where the pain is, where the opportunity is. And how to make the brand work, how to get a real strong passion built into how you operate.

Patrick: You can speak the language. We all speak English, but you can actually speak the same language as the franchisees.

Joe: Daily, I bring back the… I remember when I did this, so I remember when that broke on me. Yeah, absolutely.

Patrick: Empathy, you got that.

Joe: Yeah.

Austin’s Background

Patrick: And how about you, Austin?

Austin: Yeah, so I’ve been with Home Clean Heroes going on about four years now. I started in 2018. Right out of college, I kind of got my start in the franchise space. I started on the operations and finance side of the business, so doing a lot more of the day-to-day sort of business coaching and working with franchisees and the corporate team, and then moved, kinda transitioned into the franchise development space. So, now I have the very unique opportunity of working with Joe and his team. And also, you know, a lot of great candidates from different markets. We just kind of help them learn more about Home Clean Heroes and ultimately understand if it’s a good fit or not. So, as you guys mentioned, development has been great for us, some strong momentum headed into the year, so, that definitely keeps me busy in the franchise development space.

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COVID’s Effects on the Cleaning Industry

Patrick: COVID has negatively impacted a lot of companies, but I’m curious to see how it’s affected the residential cleaning industry and also on the light industrial space. How’s the environment changed, guys?

Joe: Well, probably the biggest thing is every business had to learn how to operate in this environment. So that was a quick burn for us. One of the things about this brand and the support system is we’re pretty nimble, so we were able to figure out where the pain points were to be, we had to acquire a lot of PPP. We had to double down on disinfectants, improve our processes to the point where we were avoiding any kind of cross-contamination between homes. We’ve always focused on that a lot, but now it became not just between homes, but between rooms and making sure that we can operate.

So early on when nobody knew how to respond to anything, we saw a pretty good fall off in business. First of all, because everybody was shut down, right? I mean, you couldn’t operate. Then it was just the paradox of people who didn’t want anybody in their home, customers who didn’t want anybody in their home, and our employees, who, in some cases, were exposed and you had staffing shortages and those kinds of things. So, across the industry, in the residential cleaning industry, we saw about a 46% fall-off in business during March and April of 2020.

Differences between states

Patrick: And did you see it split by states? Like Florida, people joke in Miami, “What COVID?” Like, it was kind of business as usual, besides, like, a month. I mean, compare that to California and New York, where, you know, it’s very different…

Joe: Yes, across the country as far as that goes, but what differed a little bit was the rebound. So, that lasted about two months. And Virginia was pretty progressive in terms of allowing businesses to operate fairly soon for our local operation and our Peninsula franchisees’ operation. So, in Williamsburg, that franchisee never really stopped serving customers, as long as there were customers that…in a lot of cases, move-out cleans, nobody’s home, nobody’s in the home, so you could continue to operate. But starting in the third quarter and then by the fourth quarter, the industry and our operations were all back up to positive growth year over year from 2019. Then, you know, as far as that goes, that carried a lot of momentum into 2021. So all of our operations had banner years in 2021 because consumer confidence was stronger, consumer demand was huge.

The need to disinfect and clean for a health reason took its course and spurred on the industry.

Best time for this business

And I tell everybody when we’re talking, there has never been a better time to be in this business. Specifically from a demand perspective, very high demand. And in a lot of cases, what we wound up with is… You know, this industry, the way the landscape works out. 80% of the business is conducted by independents and moms and pops. Franchise businesses like Home Clean Heroes and some of the others that you would know off the top of your head, only handle about 20% of the cleaning business and generate 20% of the revenues in this industry. But, what COVID did was chase a lot of folks out of business because they didn’t want to go into people’s homes to clean as well. So, there was a lot of paranoia there that played into their hands. Plus customers want to know that you’ve got a professional, well-trained…

Patrick: The supplies they’re using.

Joe: Yeah. So, we doubled down on all of that training, all that equipment. And you learn how to operate through this type of environment. So, we’re better for it. We provide a stronger disinfecting service than we did. We’ve added services like fogging, misting services, those kinds of things. So, it’s made the industry and Home Clean Heroes a better product and better service overall. And that way there’s a silver lining, I guess, a little bit.

People want to be home

Patrick: And then, work from home. I’m going to the office most days, my wife was commuting four days, one day at home. And that’s flipped, so four days at home, one day commuting. We got a dog just before the pandemic, a lot of people are adopting pets, buying pets. So I imagine just, like, what has gone on in our household, and now having the cleaner come once a week as opposed to every two weeks, has probably had a nice change for your guys’ business.

Joe: Yeah, it’s a double-edged sword because, before COVID, a little bit more than half of our customers did not want to be there when we were there cleaning. And the other half did want to be there when they were…and that was almost an age split too. So whether there’s a trust component or just an available-to-be-home component, I don’t know. But at this point, what we’re finding is, because people have become used to being home and are used to us being there… And we go to great extents to work around people who work from home. At this point, we choreograph the cleaning schedules.

Patrick: Yeah, you shut the office and you get out of the office for 30 minutes, you go on a walk while they clean the office.

Joe: Yeah, but we are finding that more people want to be home now when we’re there cleaning their homes and that’s kind of across the board as well.

Patrick: And that could be a net positive for you guys, then. To get closer with the customer and seek referrals. Or just, overall, be front of mind for the customer, client.

Relationship Business

buying a franchise

Joe: I mean, Patrick, this is one of the foundational things that I make sure that franchisees understand. This is a relationship business.

Patrick: Yeah.

Joe: It’s all about the relationship. Understanding what you as a customer expect from us. And conveying that to the cleaning teams, making sure that they execute. And then we keep that communication link open. So we’ve got specific tools and systems that are part of our operation, that are robust communication tools. Drip email campaigns, constant three-way texting programs, so we can communicate the way people want to communicate. The ability to go online, schedule home estimates directly on our system, so that all that communication is very easy, takes place very seamlessly.

Patrick: So how I see a lot of the trends in franchising, Home Clean Heroes is already doing, you’re handling a lot of the technology side. And I see that being like that much more important on the customer acquisition but also the customer servicing.

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