Business, growth and Succession concept. Group of businessman miniature figures walking and standing on wood stair made from wooden blocks toy.

Many mom-and-pop contract cleaning companies that started years ago are now large corporations. In many cases, the founders of these companies are considering retiring and passing the company on to younger family members. The timing of this move crucial and requires a lot of thought, says Ron Segura, president of Segura & Associates, who has worked with many cleaning contractors in this situation.

"The company founders do not want to stay too long, nor should they leave too soon,” says Segura. “Both scenarios can be bad for the company."

To help find the best time to retire, Segura suggests company founders in all jan/san organizations ask themselves the following:  

— Are you still finding fulfillment in the job?

The excitement once felt for the company will diminish over time, but top executives should still be excited about their companies and the role they play. If not, they should consider leaving.

— Are there personal reasons to retire?

"What I have witnessed is that often these top people enter a new phase in their lives and want to start something new,” says Segura. “If that is the case, yes, they need to start transitioning the company."

— Is the industry changing so fast you cannot keep up?

"For decades, the jan/san industry changed slowly,” says Segura. “However, now everything is changing very fast. If the founders find they cannot keep up, a change in leadership may be due."

— Has a new opportunity been presented?

Older executives are often in demand to teach, take a government position, or join another company in an entirely different field. Many of these executives find this opportunity to be exciting.

— Has a succession plan been worked out? 

Founders need to start selecting family members that best fit leadership roles in the company and grooming them early. Segura suggests this process start five or more years before the transition. 

Another situation Segura says he often encounters is founders want to leave after reaching a significant milestone.

"Some wait until they secure a major new customer, for instance,” says Segura. “They want to leave the company when its strong and have something proud they can pass on to younger family members."