The annual International Facilities Management Association (IFMA) World conference is the largest worldwide meeting of facility managers for commercial buildings. It is also one of the most productive industry conferences that milliCare and milliCare commercial floor cleaning franchisees attend.
milliCare Floor & Textile Care is the industry leader in commercial flooring and carpet cleaning franchise services. As part of Milliken & Co., a multi-billion dollar company that has been environmentally involved for more than 140 years, our processes keep business and hospitality spaces cleaner for longer, while helping to improve indoor air quality, saving energy and extending the life of commercial carpet and flooring.
Conference attendance generates new leads for franchise owners, provides networking opportunities and helps build brand awareness for milliCare with facility managers.
At this year’s Houston event, milliCare was a visible sponsor and hosted the new IFMA member breakfast, which typically attracts 450 to 500 people. Conference sponsorship is expensive, and the increased visibility gives milliCare franchisees the ability to reach decision makers much faster than they might by calling on facility managers locally.
“If you are a facility manager and this is your first time at IFMA, milliCare is the first vendor you’re going to see. I think that’s huge,” says Lisa Myers, Business Support Manager for milliCare. She adds that milliCare has reserved the new member breakfast for years to come, so they can continue sponsoring it as long as they like.
Chris Cusick, director of business development for strategic national accounts across the milliCare franchise network, says: “It’s a good opportunity for us to network with them and for the facility managers to network with each other. A lot of existing customers serve as great advocates for us to the new prospects who are attending the party.”
“It doesn’t matter if they’re a startup franchise in a small city, or they’re somebody really big who’s been doing it for 20 years,” he adds. “Everybody’s part of the same network and gets the same treatment, and can convey that out to their customers and prospects.”
Whether a franchisee is attending the event or not, everyone in the milliCare network receives a lead generation list of facility managers afterward.
“Everybody that comes to our booth generally has a badge we scan. And if we think there’s a high possibility they’re interested, we send it off to our network,” Myers says.
“For facility managers, IFMA World Workplace is the show to attend,” she adds. “Just to be able to see people in that industry and understand what their wants and needs are, it gives you a whole different perspective when you’re able to talk with that many different people — facility managers in all different fields.”
It’s also a prime chance to learn from other franchisees and possibly land some new leads, Cusick says.
“Even if somebody came from a remote city or state to be a part of it, and didn’t have a single card scan, they still have that benefit of networking with fellow milliCare owners and employees for their own best practices or even discussions about, ‘Hey I heard you’re doing business with ABC company, they have an office in my city,’” he explains. “There’s that lead-sharing networking going on among fellow milliCare providers. There’s an upside on so many levels.”
IFMA is working hard on building a relationship with the next generation of facility managers, and milliCare is working closely with the association in its pursuit.
Cusick explains that IFMA is doing a great job of sponsoring students who are earning their degrees in facility management, and milliCare is also doing its share — it recently sponsored 10 people from throughout the country to take their Certified Facility Management exam at milliCare’s headquarters to become credentialed.
“It’s a very big deal,” he says. “It helps them earn more pay, helps them get better and broader opportunities for improvement in their own organizations or outside. milliCare has worked more closely with IFMA over the past several years to assist with facility manager education.”
This not only puts milliCare in front of potential customers, it also helps support IFMA and the association’s future.
Having a presence at IFMA’s trade show allows current customers to introduce non-customers to milliCare and share their firsthand experiences with us.
“We saw a lot of, ‘Hey, let me bring you by milliCare, this is our vendor,’” Myers says. “Groups coming by that weren’t in the same company, they’re just visiting the same booths together and saying, ‘This is my experience with them.’”
“And for us,” Cusick says, “I’m not sure there’s a better testimonial.”
Ranked 206 in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list, milliCare Floor & Textile Care franchise is a business-to-business floor and textile maintenance company, with 70 locations in 29 states and six countries. Our parent company, Milliken & Co., holds more than 7,000 patents in flooring, textiles and floor cleaning — experience and tools milliCare leverages as we carve out a niche in the floor cleaning industry. Startup costs start as low as $106,000 to $150,000, making the potential for high returns remarkable.