STRATUS Franchise: Are Stratus Master Franchisees Jumping Ship?
May 18, 2012
Rumors abound that several large Master Franchisees of Stratus Building Solutions are defecting to compete with their beleagured commercial cleaning franchisor… and they’re taking their unit-level franchisees with them.
(UnhappyFranchisee.com) Stratus Building Solutions is under fire, both externally and, it seems, internally.
Externally, Stratus Building Solutions is defending itself from a lawsuit brought by attorney Jonathan Fortman on behalf of nearly 100 unit-level franchisees who claim that they were defrauded by the janitorial franchisor.
The allegations in Fortman’s lawsuit were damningly portrayed in a recent FOX 4 “Problem Solver” news report (See STRATUS Franchise Called “Pyramid Scheme” on FOX News).
Fortman contends that many of his clients invested thousands of dollars in the Stratus franchise for cleaning accounts they never received. Others received cleaning accounts, only to have them taken away and given to other franchisees.
“They are stealing from people,” said Fortman in the news story, “people are paying thousands of dollars and never getting an account.”
Internally, it’s rumored that major Stratus Master Franchisees are jumping ship. Master Franchisees from Georgia and New York are rumored to have formed a new, independent cleaning brand and are forcing their unit franchisees to convert.
It’s rumored that a Midwest Stratus Master Franchisee is forming an independent co-op and inviting other Stratus Master Franchisees to join.
East Coast and SE Stratus Master Franchisees Are Going Independent… and Taking Unit Franchisees With Them.
Two of the top 4 Master Franchisees in the Stratus franchise system, Jeffrey Aibel (Atlanta, GA) and Ken Casseri (Buffalo, NY) have reportedly formed a new company (called Pro Squared Facility Services™ or Pro2) and taken aggressive steps to disassociate their operations from Stratus Building Solutions.
Other contacts and markets listed on the new Pro Squared website include Jitendra Kapur (Stamford, CT), Dave Boutwell (Jacksonville, FL), and Joel Craddock (Rochester, NY).
Stratus unit-level franchise owners under Aibel’s Master Franchisee entity (Paladin Building Services) received a sudden and harsh letter demanding that they cease any usage of the Stratus Building Solutions name or trademarks by May 30, 2012 (The letter was dated May 14, 2012).
The letter threatened unit-franchisees with non-payment for their work and termination of their franchise agreements if they do not immediately adopt the new name and discontinue all use of Stratus Building Solutions-branded apparel, business cards, and company names, and destroy, replace or de-brand Stratus Building Solutions-branded equipment, vehicles and/or chemicals.
More Stratus Building Solutions Franchise Rumors & Innuendo
Word from the UnhappyFranchisee.com grapevine has it that:
- Another Stratus Master Franchisee in the Midwest is setting up a co-op for other Masters who want out of the system.
- Stratus has been offering the Master Franchisees the ability to terminate their master franchise agreements by paying 6 months of royalties and agreeing to indemnification concerning the franchisee lawsuit.
- As many as 40% of Stratus Master Franchisees may have ceased paying royalties.
As stated, the latter contentions are rumor and innuendo… If you have better information (or better rumors and innuendos), please add them as a comment below.
We have reached out to the Master Franchisees discussed and Stratus Building Solutions for clarification and comment to this story as well.
ARE YOU A STRATUS BUILDING SOLUTIONS FRANCHISE OWNER OR FRANCHISEE? ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE STRATUS BUILDING SOLUTIONS FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY? PLEASE SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.