Skip to main content
janitorial franchise

Unit Franchise in Focus: Syd Vonbaur

People often think of buying a franchise as a way to make a full-time living — and for good reason! That is what most people do. But franchise ownership can also be an effective way to supplement your income. That’s right, in this era of the gig economy, Stratus Building Solutions, the nation’s leading green commercial cleaning company, could be your side hustle.

Such is the case for Syd Vonbaur, a resident of Philadelphia. Syd knew when he invested in Stratus Building Solutions almost three years ago that this would be a side business for him. Granted, Vonbaur’s situation is a little different than most Stratus Building Solutions franchise owners. He works for Stratus as a full-time operations manager, a job he started a couple of months before buying the franchise location. The ownership side of things is just part-time. He chooses to focus most of his energy as an operations manager. Still, entrepreneurs from a wide array of backgrounds could decide to buy into the green cleaning franchise as a side gig, if they so chose.

Vonbaur says that he is glad he bought the franchise. As a divorced dad with a 19-year-old daughter, he enjoys having a business that can help pad his bank account. He also likes the flexibility the business affords him.

“It’s nice being able to schedule something and work at your own pace and knowing you’re part of something. I also like the feeling of being a small-business owner,” Vonbaur says.

That said, he doesn’t have plans right now to grow his side gig into a full-time endeavor. He enjoys his full-time work at Stratus, and he doesn’t want to overstretch himself to the point where he would be working 24/7. 

“My hope is to maintain what I’ve got, for right now,” he says.

And Vonbaur, both as an operations manager and a franchise owner, has good advice for anyone thinking of buying a Stratus Building Solutions franchise — and solid advice, frankly, for anyone buying any business.

“Don’t overdo it,” Vonbaur advises. “Everybody wants to come in and get 100 accounts right away. Then because they started off too fast, they lose the accounts. You want to start with the one customer and master that and then move on to the second, third, fourth, fifth and so on. You have to provide quality janitorial services. You don’t want to just come in and think you know everything about this world. Take time to build a relationship with your customers and make sure you do the job right.”

Vonbaur also says that mastering the accounts you have and working hard to establish a stellar commercial cleaning service first — and then to branch out and start adding more clients — is crucial because you’re simply more likely that way to do a better job. The better job you do, the more likely you’ll keep your clients.

“My suggestion is — take your time, don’t be in a rush, and the money will come,” Vonbaur says.

He gives an example of the types of trip-wires people don’t think about. “You might have two janitorial services accounts that are an hour or an hour and a half apart,” he says. “You have to travel to those places. Driving in between those two accounts can mean you’re losing money.”

That doesn’t mean that you can’t be a Stratus business owner with two accounts that are far apart, but you may need to be strategic. For example, you could also find accounts that are between the two that are located far apart to make better use of your bandwidth.

The key to success is to understand what level of involvement works for you and your schedule. Whether you choose to dive in and work full-time or you prefer to have business ownership as your side hustle, you should invest in a reputable brand, such as Stratus Building Solutions. From there, hard work and dedication can help you achieve your dreams.