How Stratus Building Solutions Became the Fastest-Growing Franchise of 2023

The cleaning company's vice president of franchise development explains the benefits of being an essential business.

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By Tracy Stapp Herold

Courtesy of Stratus Building Solutions

Commercial cleaning franchise Stratus Building Solutions claimed the #1 spot in Entrepreneur's Fastest-Growing Franchises list for 2023, adding more than 300 new franchise units in North America from July 2021 to July 2022. We chatted with the brand's vice president of franchise development, Rob Lancit, to find out how Stratus came out on top.

What's the history of Stratus Building Solutions?

Stratus has been franchising since 2006. New ownership took over around 2015 and really revamped the company and created a plan to take it to the next level. They put everything in place that will enable us to continue our growth trajectory.

Can you explain your franchising model?

We're a three-tiered business model. So you've got us at the corporate level, and then we award a master franchise over a state or geographic territory, and then the master goes out and awards unit franchises—the folks that will actually go out and execute on the cleaning. We train and support the master to train and support their unit franchisees.

We're very selective in who we bring on board as a master. We look for somebody who's got people skills and who really wants to help others succeed. And that really shines through in the success of our unit franchisees and our growth.

To what else do you attribute Stratus's strong growth?

The pandemic really shined a light on our industry. It's still not the sexiest of industries, but we became essential. There are very few outside elements that really affect our business model, whether it's a pandemic, or recession, or inflation. Because we're essential, it's business as usual for us. So our franchisees have experienced tremendous growth over the years as a direct result of that.

The business is extremely scalable, predictable, and dependable. And the masters handle everything for the unit franchisees: collections, billing, invoices, getting contracts. So we just really allow them the opportunity to go out and do what they do and not have to worry about running the business.

You've also seen a lot of growth in Canada over the last few years.

Yes, we're almost sold out in Canada. We've only got four or five territories left in the entire country. Canada has just embraced the business model, and we've got great operators in the Canadian marketplace who are just crushing it.

What do you think sets Stratus apart from other commercial cleaning franchises?

It's our ability to support and train and help our franchisees grow. I've been in franchising for close to 30 years, and I've never seen franchisee validation this strong. We have zero turnover among our master franchisees, so that's a true testament to the support that we put forward and the continuous learning that we offer up. We've also got a very solid financial business model. Our master franchisees have nine revenue streams, so there's more opportunity for them to make money. One of the best forms of flattery is that our largest source of new franchisees comes from referrals from our existing franchisees.

Related: Considering franchise ownership? Get started now and take this quiz to find your personalized list of franchises that match your lifestyle, interests and budget.


Tracy Stapp Herold

Entrepreneur Staff

Tracy Stapp Herold is the special projects editor at Entrepreneur magazine. She works on franchise and business opportunity stories and listings, including the annual Franchise 500.

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