Tim Conn is the co-founder and Director of Operations & Franchise Development for Image One USA. An entrepreneur with more than 30 years of industry experience, Conn developed Image One along with his business partner to provide top-level service to commercial businesses across the Chicagoland area. The company now has nearly 100 locations across five states and services more than 500 commercial buildings and facilities through its franchise affiliate program.
Franchise Expo: Tell us about the Image One concept
Tim Conn: Image One USA is a commercial cleaning franchise business that brings a whole new concept to the janitorial arena. We built our franchising model on the principles of transparency, training and top-notch customer service and support.
FE: How and when did you become involved with Image One?
TC: I started in the commercial cleaning industry about 30 years ago. Back then, I was working as an independent business owner operating my own commercial cleaning business and decided I wanted to expand to see how far I could take it. Over the course of working as a commercial cleaning executive, I ultimately launched Image One a little more than five years ago with my business partner Mike. Now, through our franchise program, we’ve grown to nearly 100 locations servicing more than 600 commercial facilities.
FE: What was your background prior to joining Image One?
TC: I started my first business, Tidy Tim's Cleaning Service, at age 14. I started as an entrepreneur early in life by cleaning a building my parents owned. I continued to grow and operate that business throughout high school and college. Now, over 30 years later, this is really the only thing I have ever done. I’m still so passionate about being a business owner and providing a service to our customers.
FE: What are some of the advantages in being a Image One franchisee?
TC: Our franchisees work for themselves in a unique relationship with Image One. We provide them with customer support for their business, ongoing training, as well as assistance with billing, equipment and obtaining insurance coverage. Image One has nearly 100 commercial cleaning franchise locations throughout the Midwest including Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio and now Colorado.
FE: Who is your ideal franchisee?
TC: Someone who is passionate about joining the Image One concept and who wants to bring the best service possible to their customers. We can teach them all about the business and the commercial cleaning industry, but they need to be motivated enough to get out there and sell. In our industry, we need to go out and find the customers; they’re not always going to find us. Our franchisees need the kind of outgoing personality that will help them connect with prospects and customers alike.
FE: Tell us a little about the commercial cleaning market?
TC: The commercial cleaning industry is one of the fastest growing service markets in the United States. Franchises in the cleaning industry mostly exist in one of three areas: Cleaning and janitorial services, carpet and upholstery cleaning services and dry cleaning and laundry services. In 2010 there were about 50,000 cleaning services operating in the United States, which brought in about 90 percent of the cleaning revenue. Currently, the commercial cleaning industry is an estimated $78 billion a year business and there are still plenty of opportunities that exist.
FE: What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?
TC: I think the most important thing I’ve learned is being able to maintain a positive attitude. If you have a negative attitude going into things, you’ll generate negative results. It doesn’t matter who I’m with or where I’m at, I try to see the good in people and in situations. I love the excitement and fun of growing a business and I think my positive mentality has allowed me the opportunity to pursue my dreams.
FE: Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?
TC: Coming from an entrepreneurial family, my parents were a major source of inspiration for me. There has never really been an outside influence other than my family. I attribute all of my entrepreneurial spirit to them.
FE: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a franchise?
TC: If there is something you really want to do, just go out and do it. If you wait until you’re ready, you might miss your chance. Nothing quite satisfies that entrepreneurial spirit like starting your own business, but it can be a very scary thing. That’s what’s great about Image One. We give you the opportunity to start a business, but the ongoing support to know that you’re not alone whenever a problem may arise.
FE: In your opinion, why do you think that Image One would be a great opportunity for someone?
TC: One of the things that sets Image One apart from other franchise models in this industry is that we train our franchisees in a way that is unlike any other commercial cleaning company. By the time we’re done, our franchisees will not only understand the commercial cleaning industry, they will also know about sales and operations so they can build long-term relationships with their clients. We also include proprietary software and apps that make the whole sales and management process simple for anybody to follow. Franchisees will get a much more comprehensive program from Image One than from any other competitors in our industry.