The only one I'm familiar with cleans Air ducts with a Rotobrush. I haven't seen their CC equipment - maybe a Rugdoctor? Bissell?
Sorry, couldn't resist. Hope I didn't offend anyone. I'm not a big fan of franchises and I don''t think that is the way to go, unless you're in a very large and heavily populated market. But that's just my opinion. The franchises I've checked into seem to take an unreasonably large share of Gross Profit, which can leave the owner/operator with little net for his efforts. Plus they tend to require strict use of their supplies, equipment, techniques, etc. I couldn't do it that way, but that's just me.
This is a topic I'm very familiar with, as a lot of the research I did on the restoration industry was recently incorporated into an insider's guide to building a restoration company .... if you are interested in that you can pop over to restorationsuccessstrategies.com (just FYI).
Servpro is one of the top 3 largest restoration franchises in the US (but Belfor USA is the largest restoration/construction company, and it is NOT a franchise - $700+ million in 2008). Servpro is up there with ServiceMaster and Paul Davis.
Collectively, these companies handle less than 20% of the overall property insurance claims work out there - because the industry is ENORMOUS (average of $30 Billion a year in residential property claims for past few years, and commercial jumps all over the place, as high as $120 billion in that alone in 2007 ... and I see an article in Cleanfax this issue stating $200 Billion to tap into - but I don't see where he gets that data, he does not reference any reports or statistics in his piece ... but since the author is an adjuster I figure he's got a resource somewhere, right? I referenced all of my data in my guide btw.)
That said ... the large franchise operations target large loss - they want the catastrophe work, and the reconstruction. Servicemaster does a lot of cleaning (that division is 50/50 cleaning and restoration) and seems to see the value in cleaning ... Servpro's focus is more and more on being a specifically water and fire restoration operation - they have some good national ad campaigns that have brought them good brand awareness with consumers who happen to watch network TV (network what???).
Franchises have a start-up cost - in restoration ranging from about $40K to as high as $400k ... then there are additional costs - monthly marketing fees, revenue commissions (anywhere from 7% to I've seen as high as 30%), requirements to buy products only from corporate by some.
But ... if your intention is to get into serious loss work - a franchise might be your avenue if you have large resources to invest.
If you are interested in cleaning only - well the top 9 franchises in the cleaning industry account for only 22% of the overall market - so again, the majority of work is being done by independents.
You could invest in a really good marketing system to grow your cleaning company - or your restoration company - if you are not looking to invest tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But of course ... I'm biased.
There are some really good franchises, and some not so good ones ... just be sure to research thoroughly before you make a commitment that could be very hard to get out of.
You'll find that it really depends on the guy who runs the franchise. Nearly all of the Servpro's in my area have shut down in the past couple of years. I know, because we bought a good amount of equipment from one of them. They've got a decent system for getting customers, and they've got plenty of brand recognition with their hideous, but memorable color scheme. But if you work hard and build a good reputation for yourself, you'll be fine.