Stratus Building Solutions, a Commercial Cleaning Franchise company, got its start by two business partners in St. Louis, new CEO , Afshin Cangarlu, explained during a recent interview from
the company’s current headquarters in Los Angeles.
The original two founders brought their experience and innovation together which enabled Stratus to grow exponentially and win awards such as the annual 2010 & 2011 Inc. 500|5000 Fastest Growing
Companies, three Top Ten spots on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 – including 2nd time #1 Fastest Growing Franchise, Franchise Times Fast 55, and many others. However, that momentum came to a quick stop at the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, as a series of unfortunate events, including some class action lawsuits, threatened to derail the operation.
Stratus’ New Chapter
Cangarlu started with his business partner, Foad Rekabi, in 2008 as a master franchisee for Stratus. The two successfully grew that business within their region of Los Angeles. At the same time as they were doing that, another master franchisee, Channen Smith, in Denver started acquiring additional territories within the franchise, including places like San Diego, Phoenix and Omaha. Cangarlu and Rekabi along with Smith got together and decided to approach the then-owners about acquiring the company.
That acquisition just finalized at the end of January and the future looks bright for the once prominent business.
“Our goal is to reintroduce Stratus and put it back on the map and restart growing the company,” Cangarlu said. “We want to give it a fresh start with new management and commitment for growth.”
Back to Growth
Stratus’ organization is somewhat unique for a franchise. The company has master franchisees who operate within their licensed territories and act as franchisors themselves within those territories, by providing sales, marketing, training and managing the individual unit franchisees who, rather than having territories, work on an accounts provided to them.
Currently, the company has around 2,500 unit franchisees spread all throughout the United States in over 25 major cities. The company is looking both for master franchisees to cover specific territories, such as in Chicago or Seattle, but it is also looking for unit franchisees throughout all active territories. It has unit franchise opportunities available everywhere.
A typical unit franchise candidate at Stratus would be an individual wishing to go into business for themselves and becoming their own boss. It is a perfect fit for anyone looking to run a successful business while having the support of an established corporate model. This type of enthusiastic, but inexperienced candidate would benefit from Stratus’ comprehensive
Stratus offers its owner operated franchisee the opportunity to begin their business with an initial investment as low as $2,000 with a client base, by shortening the typical start-up time. Each regional master territory offers new candidates the opportunity to provide service to Stratus customers. With various programs available Stratus allows its franchisees the option of starting their home-based business on a full or part-time basis. Stratus provides sales and marketing support, business development and customer service coaching, administrative support that includes billing and collection for their customer accounts, and finally latest industry and technology offerings.
Once the franchisee is ready to start work, they will get their customer accounts with the appropriate legal contracts in place. They even provide the required insurance a franchisee needs to deliver their services. Essentially, the company acts like the franchisees’ management arm where the franchisees main focus becomes providing the high quality cleaning services. Unit
franchisees are always associated with a particular regional office where customer accounts are provided to them near their homes.
One other aspect that makes becoming a Stratus unit franchisee a lucrative proposition, Cangarlu said, the commercial cleaning industry has been labeled by some economists as recession proof
business. The commercial cleaning franchise industry will always find buildings, offices, clinics, schools and many more businesses that has to be cleaned. Building managers or business
owners must conform to cleaning standards and regulations. Most of these businesses, if not all, outsource their commercial cleaning to make sure that their business stays clean and healthy.
The commercial cleaning industry will continue to be one of the fastest growing segments of the economy for the next several years, reaching well over $100 billion in revenues.
Becoming a Franchisee
The starting point for becoming a Stratus unit franchisee is having a meeting at the local regional office and work through a mutual exploration to determine if Stratus will provide what a prospect franchisee is looking to accomplish. With multiple available plans Stratus is able to help their franchisees in building a lucrative business that even allows for future growth. At the end of the discovery process if they are deemed a good fit, then the prospect is given the necessary documents and disclosures, with ample to time to review and decide if this is the right business for them.
Upon becoming a unit franchisee, the regional office will set up training, which consists of various different sessions, some of which is classroom based, and some of which is hands on. “At the end of the training, our franchisees become certified and that’s when we begin assigning them their own customer accounts to service,” Cangarlu explained.
What separates Stratus from its competitors, the CEO said, is the company’s focus on not only cleanliness, but on being environmentally friendly, too. As a green commercial cleaning company
Stratus is committed to maintaining the environmental leadership by using their own Stratus Green cleaning products and processes. Biodegradable chemicals and materials deliver high quality cleaning results without the health risks associated with janitorial cleaning products. Stratus brand green cleaning products are for exclusive use by their unit franchisees, who receive specific training in how to use them. Stratus strongly believes that “Cleaning for Health” with their specific green cleaning services makes good business sense. Additionally he added,
our industry leading quality control and support teams provide extensive janitorial experience to back our franchisees.
Customer satisfaction with stratus is extremely high and customer turnover is extremely low, he added. With new owners in place and an eye to the future, Stratus Building Solutions is set to regain their former glory.