Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email ktaylor@entrepreneur.com.

Omar Soliman and Nick Friedman were already franchising experts before they opened up a residential cleaning business – the duo founded junk removal and moving franchise College Hunks Hauling Junk.

While College Hunks proved a success, the pair quickly realized that they lacked the systems and support to grow a cleaning franchise. So, they decided it was time to embrace an existing cleaning franchise, and become franchisees themselves.

Today, the pair acts as both franchisors of College Hunks Hauling Junk and franchisees of Two Maids & A Mop. Here's what they've learned.

Name: Omar Soliman and Nick Friedman

Franchise owned: Two Maids & A Mop master franchisee for portions of Florida and North Carolina

How long have you owned a franchise?

Seven months.

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Why franchising? 

We started a residential cleaning business from scratch and realized very early on that we lacked the systems, training and support to truly scale the business. The light bulb went off that we needed to leverage a franchise system that already created the blueprint for success.

We converted our existing business into a Two Maids & A Mop franchise and our business experienced rapid growth within just a few months. Today, our sales have grown by more than 500 percent since we converted our pilot store into a Two Maids & A Mop franchise.

What were you doing before you became a franchise owner? 

We sit on the other side of the table as franchisors of a national junk removal and moving franchise called College Hunks Hauling Junk. We currently have 52 franchises and over 1,000 employees across the country.

Why did you choose this particular franchise?

Two Maids & A Mop offers a fantastic brand, great culture and a plug and play marketing plan that stands out in a very fragmented industry. We wanted to leverage a franchise that could provide recurring revenue and would complement our existing College Hunks Hauling Junk franchise system.

How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?

We lived a different life than most startup franchisees since our pilot location served as a conversion franchise. The pilot location served as an experimental station so the initial costs approached $30,000.

However, the conversion into a Two Maids & A Mop franchise slowed the negative cash flow down almost immediately. Becoming a franchise allowed us to utilize a proven system so there was no need to continue our expensive experiments within the business. In fact, our business hit the break-even mark within just three months of converting into a Two Maids & A Mop!

Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?

Having been franchisors for seven years we knew exactly what to look for. This allowed us to separate the great business models from the ones that were missing certain ingredients of success. We have a strong board of advisors that include CEO's and founders of other large franchise systems that reviewed the Two Maids & A Mop business model and gave their blessing.

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What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?

As a conversion franchise, the biggest challenge was kicking the bad habits that our existing cleaning business had adopted. It can be very difficult to un-train bad habits versus starting on the right foot from day one.

What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?

Buying a franchise can be compared to a marriage in many ways. There has to be an alignment of values, culture and vision. The franchisor needs to do a great job of explaining their vision and it has to be a vision that you are willing to fight for. Alignment is key.

What’s next for you and your business?

We are looking to bring on more Two Maids franchises in Florida and North Carolina. Our goal is to make the Tampa location a flagship market that can be used to train and develop new franchise owners. We believe we can revolutionize an industry that is extremely fragmented by growing a cohesive brand with state of the art marketing and training systems.

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