Kathy Goddard, Merry Maids, Stratford-upon-Avon, Leamington Spa & Warwick

"I work the hours I want to and have a good income!"

The 60-mile daily commute to work meant Kathy Goddard had limited time to spend with her family. Eager to improve her work/life balance, Kathy decided to become her own boss by investing in domestic cleaning franchise Merry Maids.

"Before I joined Merry Maids I worked as an administration manager for a plastics distributor," recalls Kathy. "However, when we moved house to be closer to my husband's job I struggled to find a similar position near our new home. The only viable option that did not involve taking a pay cut or demotion was to start up a business of my own but with no sales or marketing skills I felt investing in a franchise was the safest way forward.

"I spotted Merry Maids at the National Franchise Exhibition and it appealed straight away. I have always been very house-proud and liked the idea of running a business, which helps others to keep on top of their chores. The fact I could start the business from home and grow the business at my own pace was also attractive. At the Merry Maids stand, the management team made a positive first impression - they answered all of my questions and did not push me into making my decision straight away.

"I launched my Merry Maids franchise, which covers Stratford-upon-Avon, Leamington Spa and Warwick from home in June 1998 and have not looked back. My business continues to grow year-on-year, and now operates from two offices with 30 members of staff who look after our 300 clients.

"I really enjoy running my Merry Maids franchise - I work the hours I want to, have great staff and have a good income! By becoming a Merry Maids franchise owner, I have been able to fulfil my career aspirations without neglecting my family. Over the years, I have fitted work around family commitments and I even have the time to play the odd round of golf."