Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online
September 2012 A Clean Sweep

I Like Ike

Integrity, knowledge and energy are cornerstones to Anago Cleaning Systems' entrepreneurial endeavors.

September 13, 2012

Sacrifice, hard work and dedication are necessary for success and, without them, a business venture will likely fail.

Anago Cleaning Systems, a commercial cleaning franchise founded by former members of the armed forces, has turned these keys to success into a fruitful business model worthy of accolade.

After 15 years in the cleaning business, Anago Founder Dave Povlitz had the proverbial "Aha!" moment.

For years, he had slowly but surely built a knowledgebase that allowed him to conduct his cleaning business efficiently and profitably; but, he found himself asking one question: "What do I do with all of this knowledge?"

For Povlitz, the answer was immediately clear: Pay it forward.

Serving Those Who Served Us

By passing on the expertise and experience he gained, Povlitz could help make the world a cleaner place by teaching a new generation of cleaners how it was done.

At the heart of this business are a group of people who further embody the sacrifice, hard work and dedication necessary to perform: Military veterans.

While serving, their schedules are laid out for them and all initial thinking is done; all that's needed is to follow a system, and that system has worked for hundreds of years.

When their length of service has been completed, returning to the so-called real world can pose a real problem; that is where Povlitz, President Terry Mollica and the entire Anago family come in.

"Veterans clearly understand systems, processes and structure. With Anago's master franchise program, these qualities are pivotal to the growth success of our franchise partners," says Povlitz. "We truly understand how hard it is for some veterans to move forward with their civilian lives after service. With so many veterans looking for jobs at the moment, especially those who came out of the military, worked at a job for a few years and are now interested in owning their own business, we believe we can help."

According to a recent survey conducted by PwC for the International Franchise Association's (IFA) Educational Foundation, one out of every seven franchise businesses are owned and operated by veterans from various branches of the U.S. military.

More than 66,000 veteran-owned franchise businesses in the U.S. provide jobs for 815,000 Americans, generating more than $41 billion in gross domestic product (GDP).

"Of the countless businesses slowed or crippled by the recent recession, the commercial cleaning segment is one of the few to emerge mostly unharmed," said Mollica.

It Pays To Get Dirty

According to master franchiser Dave Ruyts, a former member of the U.S. Navy, there is a lot of money in dirt.

"Cleaning is never going to go out of style and it can't be exported," notes Ruyts. "If a building is in use, someone has to clean it."

Becoming an owner of an Anago franchise might not be glamorous or earn a lot of recognition, but it is the type of career path that can be deeply rewarding.

"It's not sexy, but there is opportunity to see the results of your efforts — in some cases, instantly," explains Ruyts.

Ruyts was introduced to the world of cleaning by his wife Doretta, who found cleaning jobs to be the easiest gigs to land as she followed her Navy husband from place to place.

Ruyts is the kind of person who embodies the three criteria that Povlitz and company hold dear: Integrity, knowledge and energy.

"Our masters represent a wide variety of people and all walks of life, but they all have some things in common. They have to know, understand, learn and follow a system. This is something our veterans are uniquely qualified for," proclaims Povlitz. "But, most importantly, they must be ready to get their hands dirty; they must be invested in the work they do and have the willingness to help others get established and get ahead. It's a team effort."

In other words, no man or woman is left behind.

Dedication

One quality Povlitz doesn't touch on is the dedication he and his team give to their owners and master franchisers, and the dedication those people give management in return.

The owners of Anago know the importance of customer service.

If a client makes a request, they will do it — from touch point disinfection to hard floor care, carpet care and everything in between.

Everything will be done to accommodate a client to the best of their ability and to keep the account.

An Anago franchisee is taken care of from day one.

According to Mollica, the franchisee is Anago's only business, and commercial cleaning is their bread and butter.

"We do chicken. That's it," adds Mollica.