26 Most Fascinating Entrepreneurs: Mark Melton

From: Inc. Magazine, April 2005 | By: null



Mark Melton Melton Franchise Systems

for giving immigrants their shot at the American Dream

Mark Melton has turned his master franchise from Coverall Cleaning Concepts into a tidy $9 million empire by supplying training, marketing, sales, and other services to his 250 franchise owners, many of them Hmong and Hispanic immigrants. Cleaning offices, says Melton, 46, "is not glamorous work. But it's stable, year-round, and highly sought after, and no technology is going to make the industry obsolete. It really impacts owners' lives."

What makes a Melton franchise an accessible route into the ownership society is the low barrier to entry. One midlevel package, available for an investment of $11,750, with $6,000 down, guarantees $2,000 in monthly income from clients provided by Melton. After insurance, finance costs, and a 15% royalty fee, franchisees can expect to pocket two-thirds of their billings. Some go-getters have boosted their monthly billings to $10,000.

"I bought the $1,500 package with my income tax refund and started with three clients. Now I have 13," says Francisco Reinoso. An X-ray technician in Guatemala, he'd had to settle for work as a janitor in Bakersfield. "At church, people look up to me and ask, 'Francisco, can I have a job?' Owning a business, that makes me feel like part of the United States."

Patrick J. Sauer

26 Most Fascinating Entrepreneurs

  1. Martha Stewart, Martha Stewart Omnimedia
    because she took one for the team
  2. Richard Branson, Virgin Group
    because he's game for anything. In fact, everything.
  3. Michael Dell, Dell Computer
    for being brilliantly straightforward
  4. Jim Sinegal, Costco
    because who knew a big-box chain could have a generous soul?
  5. Diane von Furstenberg, Diane von Furstenberg Studio
    for staging an elegant comeback
  6. Julie Azuma, Different Roads to Learning
    for offering hope and help to the parents of autistic children
  7. Fritz Maytag, Anchor Brewing
    for setting limits
  8. Ray Kurzweil, Kurzweil Technologies and other companies
    because he is Edison's rightful heir
  9. Craig Newmark, Craigslist
    for putting the free in free markets
  10. Jack Mitchell, Mitchells/Richards
    because his family business makes an art of customer service
  11. Frank Robinson, Robinson Helicopter
    for whipping an entire industry into shape
  12. Mark Melton, Melton Franchise Systems
    for giving immigrants their shot at the American Dream
  13. Michelle Cardinal & Tim O'Leary, Cmedia and Respond2
    for rewriting the rules for husband-and-wife teams
  14. Mike Lazaridis, Research in Motion
    because someone had to stand up for all those frustrated engineers
  15. Trip Hawkins, Electronics Arts and Digital Chocolate
    for still scrapping
  16. Warren Brown, Cake Love and Love Cafe
    because only in America will someone quit a secure job as a lawyer to start a bakery
  17. Muriel Siebert, Muriel Siebert & Co.
    for being a notable first with a worthy second act
  18. Chuck Porter, Crispin, Porter + Bogusky
    for verging on reckless
  19. Katrina Markoff, Vosges Haut
    for setting a completely unreasonable goal for her business
  20. Barry Steinberg & Craig Sumerel, Direct Tire and Auto Service
    for showing the power of the peer group
  21. Victoria Parham, Virtual Support Services
    for serving as a mentor to military spouses
  22. Tom LaTour, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants
    for staying at fleabag hotels so that we don't have to
  23. Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams, Mitchell Gold
    for creating a true comfort zone
  24. Izzy & Coco Tihanyi, Surf Diva
    for kicking sand in the face of conventional wisdom
  25. Tony Lee, Ring Masters
    for saving 16 jobs, including his own
  26. Rueben Martinez, Libreria Martinez Books and Art Galleries
    for simultaneously building a business and nurturing Latino culture

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