bannerFranchisee Stories

JAN-PRO full speed ahead in Fla. Panhandle

Commercial cleaning franchise is growing in Florida through Brent Brooks.

SPONSOREDUpdated 2:14PM 02/25/15

To grow his brand, new JAN-PRO franchise in Northwest Florida Brent Brooks is looking to enlist several dozen partners who embody his same core values of teamwork, communication and a strong work ethic, which he developed first in the United States Navy before spending decades as a marketing executive in several different industries.

Fortunately for Brooks, his Destin, Florida, office is situated close to several major military installations where his fellow veterans continually transition to civilian life, and JAN-PRO, the commercial-cleaning franchise that recruited him as a master franchise owner, has its own platform, VetConnection, for helping service members become business owners.

The program offers special financial incentives for military veterans to join JAN-PRO as a master franchisee like Brooks or as a home-based entrepreneur servicing commercial accounts. Brooks expects to recruit between 40 and 50 owner-operators and hopes to draw from several nearby military communities set up around Pensacola Naval Air Station, Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Field and Tyndall Air Force Base.

More than 100,000 military veterans live in Brooks’ franchise territory.

“What’s great about VetConnection is that it’s a good way for JAN-PRO to recognize and appreciate veterans’ contribution to their country, and hopefully it opens veterans' eyes to the opportunity they have to leverage their experience in the broader marketplace,” Brooks said. “These potential partners understand hard work, and we’re looking for people passionate about the opportunity we have to contribute to our customers’ success.”

Brooks joined JAN-PRO from an executive position with exercise equipment manufacturer Precor, where he worked following similar roles with Kraft Foods and Valvoline. But before his corporate career that began in 1995, he spent nearly a decade as a nuclear-trained machinist mate working on submarines for the Navy.

“We believe very strongly in working with veterans,” said Rich Kissane, chief executive of Premium Franchise Brands, parent company to JAN-PRO and residential-cleaning brand Maid Right. “Most franchisors love when operators of this caliber come on board. They excel at following systems laid out by brands and driving their companies forward.”

In the service, Brooks learned several disciplines and values that led to a successful career after the military, he said. He recounted one such experience, during the famed “perfect storm” along the Eastern Seaboard in October 1991, when he and three other relatively unseasoned shipmates were assigned to keep their engine room station running amidst difficult circumstances. Though he and his teammates were new to their roles, they nonetheless aced the following inspection of their engine room station, garnering praise from superior officers and outperforming more seasoned sailors on that particular patrol.

“That moment made me realize what was possible through teamwork,” Brooks said. “When teams come together, that is so much more empowering and impactful than what can be accomplished individually. I’ve sought to replicate those types of experiences throughout my career.”

The Navy not only emphasized that kind of teamwork, but also the value of communication, which has served Brooks and the people he has led both in the military and in his business career. He and his wife Lynell look forward to sharing their experience with new owner-operator partners and giving them the tools to expand their businesses.

“In my nearly 20 years in business, I’ve seen how easy it is for people to forget how important clear communication is,” he said. “But in the Navy, for instance, we were required to practice ‘repeat-backs,’ where sailors repeat an order they’re given before they execute it, which gives both parties the confidence that follow-through on the order will be completed successfully. … While we don't strictly adhere to repeat-backs in a business environment, we’re going to be successful because we understand the importance of managing expectations and keeping communication open.”

JAN-PRO was named one of the World Franchising Network’s 2014 Top 50 Franchises for Veterans, according to USA Today. In addition, Entrepreneur magazine recognized the company as among the nation’s fastest-growing franchises and the top commercial-cleaning brand in its 2014 rankings.