Molly Maid operates in the professional domestic cleaning sector in the UK, carrying out over a quarter of a million home cleans every year. It is a management franchise which means franchisees employ staff to clean homes in the local area. As a full member of the British Franchise Association, Molly Maid came to the UK in 1984 and has grown from a standing start to 71 franchisees nationwide and a current annual turnover of nearly £20 million.
Molly Maid trades in the UK, Canada, USA, Japan and Portugal with an annual turnover of £220 million worldwide. 450 Molly Maid franchises perform in excess of 2 million home cleans worldwide each year. We have over 120 new locations available nationwide for new start-ups and occasionally have established Molly Maid businesses for sale. Having recently moved our support office to company-owned offices in Maidenhead, we’ve some Molly Maid franchisees who’ve already celebrated 25 years with the organisation!
Initial training is 5 days, with a combination of both classroom style and interactive with existing Franchise Owners, at the Molly Maid support office, designed to give a full understanding of the business systems. Then a dedicated business advisor spends 5 days onsite coaching the new franchisee at customer estimate appointments and attending staff interviews. From then the franchisee is standing on their own feet, but with close support from their business advisor for the life of the franchise.
Your day will start by managing a high volume of enquiries and remaining in close contact with your teams to ensure they are ready and motivated to deliver the high level of service our customers expect. You will be meeting potential customers in their homes to identify their personal cleaning needs and present the consistent and thorough service our maids will provide to meet those needs. We pride ourselves in delivering a high level of customer care to maintain a loyal customer base, which is dovetailed with continually securing new regular customers to ensure sustained growth and managing those essential business admin tasks. This is an active role allowing you to get out and meet customers in their home, whilst also managing other aspects from the comfort of your own home.
Here you can advertise any resales that you have available in your network. You can add three complimentary resale opportunities and they must include a brief overview of the franchise and its history as well as the location of the franchise and any other relevant information.
Sandra Redmond purchased an established Molly Maid franchise in 1995 and now operates 14 cars and a staff of 30 out of offices based in Wimbledon. Her approach and success in her business led to her winning the most prestigious award available for UK franchisees, the bfa HSBC Franchisee of the Year Gold Award, in 2009.
Asked what set her on the pathway to Molly Maid, she says: “I chose franchising because I believe that a strong brand is one of the most valuable assets any business can have. When I bought the business in 1995 it employed 12 maids operating from six cars. 16 years on, my business now employs two supervisors and 28 maids running 14 cars.”
Sandra believes that the success of Molly Maid Wimbledon has come from her understanding of the local market needs and fully utilising the experience and support of the Molly Maid network.
She explains: “I have made good use of all the marketing techniques and materials available in the franchise business system. Consequently, customer enquiries have come from distributing flyers, Molly Maid cars, Yellow Pages, press advertising, sales promotion and publicity. However, my best source of business is referrals from satisfied customers, which account for 40 percent of all leads.
"The Molly Maid business system includes a well defined approach to customer care. This embraces a consistent, reliable and professional service along with effective communications. But simply following a system is not enough. You need to apply flair and imagination and must give a lot of yourself to the process, balancing the human side with business considerations.”
Central to Sandra's philosophy is that her staff are a vital part of the marketing process. Not only do they provide the consistent high quality service that is the foundation of marketing, but they also play an important part in promoting the business. She adds: “Through training, development and motivation, the maids are empowered to act as ambassadors for the brand. I make sure that they are trained by an experienced route manager, who can advise and guide them on how to speak to customers. They learn that the Molly Maid uniform is a key part of the identity of the company and that the way the present themselves conveys an important message to the customer.
“Due to the increased revenue per car, staff salaries have increased proportionately. As a result, morale has been boosted and this has increased the quality of the work produced.”
Why did you choose franchising?
During my career I have been involved with secretarial duties progressing to PA with an oil company within the Aberdeen area. When the time was right my husband and I started a family and I dedicated my time to motherhood then, when the children were at school age, I looked at what employment would work around the family unit and Molly Maid fitted the bill.
I first joined Molly Maid in 2003 where I worked as a route manager and then progressed to senior supervisor. Completely out of the blue I was approached by Molly Maid Support Office in 2009 and asked if I wanted to purchase the Aberdeen franchise.
I saw this as an ideal opportunity for me to achieve my ambition to own my own business. Knowing the business from ground level to management I accepted the offer immediately as Molly Maid is recognised throughout the north east of Scotland as a leading brand in domestic cleaning.
What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
Having been involved at ground level I knew the business with regard to the roles and responsibilities of assistants, route managers and doing in-home estimating; however, I needed to develop my knowledge and skills to assist with the Molly Maid systems for financial/reporting etc. Myself and my husband were invited down to Molly Maid Support Office for the signing of the franchise agreement and it was at this time we were given full training by various team members of Support Office throughout the week, which was to prove invaluable and enjoyable.
During my five years as a franchise owner I have had full support from my business advisor and when I need it support from IT and our 24-hour legal helpline.
What challenges have you faced?
Our most challenging aspects of the day-to-day running of the business is finding and retaining reliable staff. We see the staff as being the tools of our trade, the route managers and assistants are the ones that are on the front line dealing directly with the customers so it is important to get the right staff in place.
Retention of customers is key to any successful business and our staff know that this leads onto increased salaries.
Has becoming a franchisee changed your life?
The answer has to be yes, I have grasped the opportunity and I look forward to getting out every morning meeting new and existing customers, dealing with the day-to-day running of my business, seeing team members smiling when we meet up and knowing that my family are 100 percent behind me in supporting my goals and ambitions.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying their first franchise?
Study the market that is available; ask the relevant questions regarding growth opportunities; look at the competition. If the answers you get are favourable and financially sound, GO FOR IT!
What are your plans for the future?
My current franchise agreement ends shortly and following discussions with Support Office and with my family I am delighted to extend it for a further 5 years. My plans now are to continue to build my business franchise in the north east of Scotland; my target is to increase the number of cars (routes) from five to six by Q2 2014 and aim for seven in late 2014/early 2015.
Would you do it again?
It’s a lot of hard work but well worth the effort. Seeing the business growing financially year-on-year and continuously expanding brings satisfaction that I wouldn’t have achieved had I remained as an employee. Therefore I have no regrets and look forwards to another 5 years continuing to build the Molly Maid brand throughout the Aberdeen area.
Julie Beckham invested in her first MOLLY MAID Franchise in Bexley nine years ago and, such was its success, she expanded her business two years later to include a second territory covering Sevenoaks. She was joined by her husband in 2005. Together they have seen the territories consistently grow and now operate 11 routes with a gross turnover of £530,000 in 2010. In the last 12 months alone turnover has increased by 21 per cent.
MOLLY MAID Travel Incentive Programme awards Franchise Owners who reach a certain target. These holidays are always a generous incentive and we have enjoyed five-star holidays to Portugal, twice to Antigua, and this year we went to St. Lucia. The travel incentive programme is just one of the many ways MOLLY MAID spurs on its Franchise Owners to further success. There is also the President’s Circle, which has a number of different levels. She is currently at Silver but is aiming to make it to Gold this year.
MOLLY MAID encourages its Franchise Owners to forge strong business relations and friendships with each other and Julie believes this is one of the secrets of the brand’s success. “We never feel isolated - we help each other with ideas and problem solving. The support office organises an annual convention for the whole network and we have a series of regional meetings to ensure we are always up to date with any developments.”
“You really do get the best of both worlds at MOLLY MAID,” says Julie. “We are not only masters of our own destinies but we also receive constant support from the main office either from a business advisor or from the wider support office staff who are always there but never intrusive. It’s a fantastic business opportunity for people from all backgrounds and walks of life. My children were just two and four when I started and it has been rewarding to be able to combine what has grown into a successful business with the demands of a young family,” she says.
Andy Crewe was made redundant from his sales and marketing managerial position in 2007. Fed up with working hard for other people’s gain and craving more control he discussed the idea of running a business with his wife Lynne.
They realised that franchising was the best route for them because they could hit the ground running and use a proven business model. Domestic cleaning is a huge industry and the service is one that customers can use repeatedly. Andy and Lynne chose MOLLY MAID because it is a member of the British Franchise Association, has impressive branding and the support team at MOLLY MAID were open and honest about our expectations when they spoke to them. Before signing the agreement they also spoke to existing Franchise Owners and had positive feedback.
They launched their MOLLY MAID franchise in March 2008. The comprehensive one week training course was followed by a visit from two Business Advisors who helped interview staff and conduct in home estimates.
Lynne is in charge of the day-to-day running of the business and Andy is better suited to the spreadsheets and sales! Lynne had left her midwifery job after the birth of our second child. She’s very practical and the franchise has given her a new lease of life away from ‘Bob the Builder!’
They love having the freedom to make decisions and the ability to schedule work to fit around family commitments. At the moment we have five cars and twelve staff members that clean over 80 houses a week. Later in 2011 we plan to have our sixth car up and running. Our plan over the next year is to have at least 7 cars, which will help us continue to develop brand awareness in our territory.
Before joining MOLLY MAID, I had worked for a major high street bank and part of my role there was dealing with a variety of customers including small to medium sized businesses. Many of these were start-up businesses.
Through my experience and training, I was fully aware that the failure rate among new start-up businesses was fairly high, although with franchises the failure rate was much lower with far more proving successful.
I was mindful of this when I was looking to set up a business and was looking for a business with a proven track record.
Why MOLLY MAID?
I had, had previous dealings with MOLLY MAID and had gained a very favourable impression of its ethos and business methods. I had good working relationships with key people within the franchise and, seeing that there was a ready demand for their services, I saw it as an opportunity to use some of my skills.
Early meetings I had with MOLLY MAID were positive and encouraging. I was impressed by the substantial support given to franchisees (which has proved to be as good as was promised) and, despite my lack of experience in the cleaning industry, considered that MOLLY MAID was right for me.
What are your greatest successes or achievements?
Retaining staff is one aspect of which I am proud. One maid has been with me since I started almost 5 years ago and two others have completed 4 years.
The business itself has grown over the years and has now successfully incorporated the Ash Vale franchise. I am very pleased that the combined business is progressing well, leading to recent qualification for the President’s Circle.
You’re Top Tip (for a new Franchise Owner)?
Without the right members of staff there is no business. It is important to take on suitable maids and ensure that they are teamed with maids that they can work with. All maids are different and will inevitably have varied skills and characteristics and it is vital to allocate the right team to each new customer. Communication is also key; both with staff and customers.
I was looking for a new challenge, but my children were still relatively young. I felt that a franchise would get me up and running very quickly and I would have plenty of support to help me make a success of my new business.
Why MOLLY MAID?
My background is in HR and the idea of a Molly Maid franchise appealed to me, because it is essentially a people business, so I felt that my experience would suit it very well. My husband and I were both really impressed with Molly Maid from the outset. We found them to be very professional and we were impressed with the support they offered. Once we had visited Molly Maid, I felt that it was an organisation I would like to be a part of.
What are your greatest successes or achievements?
I was very proud to receive the 'Outstanding Achievement Award' from Molly Maid in 2003, as recognition of the growth I had achieved in my first year. I was also a Finalist in the BFA awards for Franchisee of the Year in 2005, but my biggest achievement is in building a business, which not only supports my family (and my husband has been involved full-time since 2013), but also provides secure employment for approximately forty people. My team and I all work hard to provide a high quality service for our customers and I am proud of the reputation we have built in our area.
You’re Top Tip (for a new Franchise Owner)?
Be prepared to work hard and follow the system. Don't try and reinvent the wheel - Molly Maid has a good business model and it will work if you follow it.