Strategically Planning Growth
Strategically Planning Growth

The Cleaning Authority's head of development is focused on spreading the brand smartly.

In the franchising world a lot of phrases like “target markets,” “ideal candidates,” and “growth potential” are thrown around a lot, but how do franchise brands continue to expand and develop in an increasingly competitive industry?

It is up to the head of development on the executive team to spearhead this strategically planned growth. For different brands, the type of business owners they want to attract, the number of locations a market can support and a timeline for development all will vary. But every franchise brand walks a fine line between growing too quickly (see Boston Market as a prime example) and not quickly enough, bypassing opportunities to build their brand.

The Cleaning Authority’s vice president for development, Iric Wexler, helps the residential cleaning brand continue to grow at a steady pace, while attracting business savvy franchisees willing and able to capitalize on the company’s tried and true model.

1851: Tell me a little bit about your background and how you came to be the VP of Development

Wexler: My franchising career began in 1995 in Chicago-land with Breadsmith, a startup franchisor. I was managing the day-to-day operations of company stores, while overseeing new franchisee training and assisting with regional franchisee support.

Next, I joined Au Bon Pain in Washington, DC. During that time ABP acquired St Louis Bread Company, converted it to Panera Bread and launched it to national success. Staying focused on operational excellence, I then transitioned to the operations team of a large regional multi-unit franchisee of Chili’s, a Brinker International Inc. company.

Missing the excitement of being part of a (relative) startup I joined Cosi Restaurant which was soon driving its growth through franchising. While my experience was progressing in operations, I was most excited by growth through franchising; the balance of ever evolving operational systems and the entrepreneurial drive of a business owner.

Through a mutual business associate and personal friend I was introduced to The Cleaning Authority in the fall of 2002. TCA’s leadership team and business model wowed me. I joined their team and soon became VP of franchise development. The constant, steady, deliberate and strategic evolution of the infrastructure and systems drove exceptional unit level success and ultimately the development of a fantastic brand. I spent a year and a half from the fall of 2012 through the summer of 2014 on other projects. In August of 2014 I rejoined TCA and became focused on building a development team toward again finding great candidates to continue to build the TCA brand.

Much like most people reading this, my professional motivation comes from the same foundation as my personal inspiration: my family. I have three amazing children and live near Annapolis, Maryland. 

What is the ideal The Cleaning Authority franchisee look like? What is the most effective way to connect with these candidates?

Most of our franchisees come from corporate or business backgrounds. Strong franchisees are ambitious, focused and tenacious in scaling up a big business, ultimately developing a management infrastructure toward enjoying levels of absentee-ownership.

Nearly half of our franchisees are MBAs – not that an advanced degree is required, but a successful franchisee is business savvy and can appreciate and capitalize on our model. Most importantly franchisees need to be leaders and capable of leveraging systems towards managing and developing people, the greatest asset of their business.

The Cleaning Authority has unique initiatives to help potential franchisees become business owners like the Hometown Markets initiative and the internal financing program. Why do you introduce these unique programs? 

While we continue to focus on developing TCA's brand in many major markets, we are more than ever targeting middle markets and smaller markets as well. For the right franchisee in these markets, we will consider financing a portion of the start-up costs. We want to make our powerful model available to budding business owners that have the skills and desire to build a solid business, yet are still building their net worth.

What kind of communities do you focus your development efforts on? What markets are you targeting?

As sophisticated as our systems are, and as scalable as the revenue is, the service is simple: Every house is dirty. As such, so long as a market has at least 25,000 marketable households (determined by demographic factors) within a reasonable geographic distance, it is a potential territory to be developed.

Our typical customers are busy families that want a professional relationship with a service provider that above all else delivers a high level of quality. We are currently targeting more than 150 new markets throughout the U.S. and Canada.

What are your goals for The Cleaning Authority’s development from now until the end of the year? What about in the next five years and 10 years? 

We will provide our experience, tools and resources, training, support and systems to 6 to 8 new franchisees through the rest of the year.

Five years from now we intend to give the opportunity and benefit of business ownership to another 100 franchisees. Moreover, well within the next 10 years our franchisees we will be part of the largest residential cleaning company in North America.