A typical day for a business owner is not so typical. In addition to managing the obstacles and daily responsibilities of a business are personal responsibilities like caring for children, potentially working a second job. For OctoClean Franchisee Carmen Garcia, it is working towards her college degree.
A day in Carmen's life begins with class. Carmen is a full time Biopsychology Major at California State University San Bernardino. Juggling business ownership and a full-time school schedule of 4 classes a semester, 3 days a week, is difficult, but Carmen manages.
Carmen became an OctoClean franchise owner in August 2018. Carmen's path to franchise ownership was paved by her older brother, Jose Garcia. Helping him manage his franchise for three years gave her the know-how and confidence to start her own.
"Since I have been around for so long I knew I was capable of starting my own franchise," said Carmen.
After a session at the gym, it is time for work. Carmen is responsible for regularly cleaning three facilities in the Inland Empire, two of which are healthcare facilities that require specialized medical cleaning.
A cleaning franchise doesn't seem like it would be the obvious choice for a college student in their twenties, but Carmen breaks stereotypes. It is reported that less than 12% of franchise owners are 34 years old or younger. Yet, Carmen owns her own franchise and cleaning is a profession that she enjoys.
"I find it therapeutic. I like the feeling of going into a building and leaving it at its best condition at the end of the night," said Carmen.
Although rewarding, Carmen admits that there have been some struggles operating her own franchise. A major difficulty in the beginning was finding the right commercial insurance within her price range. Another was not letting the fear of failure deter her.
"The most valuable lesson I've learned is to not be afraid. I will receive complaints from customers, and this should not stop me from growing my franchise," said Carmen.
Another unexpected hurdle was finding the right employees. When taking on a new building, depending on the size, hiring employees is a necessity. She has found it challenging to find employees who are willing to work the hours assigned. But that isn't stopping her from achieving her personal goals.
"A goal for my franchise is to have successful employees on my team. In order to grow as a business you will always need reliable employees who you can count on."
A challenge for anyone in this field is fighting negative stereotypes. Cleaning is often times viewed as unskilled or unprofessional and unfortunately people get treated as such. But despite popular opinion cleaning in commercial and medical settings takes knowledge, training and long hours to master.
"Majority of the people out there think or have a belief that being a janitor or having a cleaning job is negative. But in reality there's a lot of positive to this job, it teaches you discipline and consistency. You always have to be on top of everything," said Carmen.
Taking on the responsibility of owning a franchise is a big step for anyone, but the best resource is learning from those who've done it before you. Carmen learned from her brother, and now others have the opportunity to learn from her.
Her advice to someone thinking of starting their own franchise:
"Be willing to make sacrifices for this business because you need to dedicate your time and energy in order to become successful. In the end all the hard work you put in will be worth it."