Regina MacDonald’s association with domestic cleaning franchise Molly Maid goes back a decade and has become one of its biggest success stories, including winning the brand’s award for increasing her sales in 2010 by 44 per cent.

What is even more impressive is that it is only two years since Regina and John bought the existing Bath franchise. Before investing in Molly Maid, Regina was a Marketing Consultant and knew Molly Maid professionally.

“I was aware that Molly Maid had a good reputation and support infrastructure in place,” she explains. “When I joined the company as a business advisor in 2008 I was able to witness the success of the franchise network first hand so, when Molly Maid Bath came up for sale, John and I decided to take the plunge.”

While John looks after the financial side, Regina uses her marketing and PR skills to expand the Bath business, which has grown from four cars to a seven car operation since the couple bought it. “I am so pleased to be part of such a large national brand, whose success is a result of its high level of customer care and staff loyalty,” she explains.

“At the start of each year, I draw up a marketing plan for the next 12 months. I look at what has worked over the previous year, such as ensuring flyer distribution is booked well in advance with the Molly Maid Support Office – flyers always get the phone ringing.

“As we cover such a large area, I make sure that my Molly Maid business appears in the Yellow Pages and as many local service directories as possible.

“Winning the sales award obviously increased our profile with the local media, but I also look at ways to increase our PR. I have built up a good relationship with the Bath Chronicle and Wiltshire Times and offer regular competitions so the winners receive a free clean, which always generate a great deal of response.”

Another factor Regina believes has contributed to the success of Molly Maid Bath, has been making sure the brand has become an integral part of the community.

“We feel strongly about giving back to the community,” she says. “This year we are sponsoring the Bath Midnight Walk by being one of 10 stalls along the 10km route. This will allow us to help Dorothy House hospice and the chance to include Molly Maid branded T-shirts and 12,000 flyers in the goodie bags.”

Regina has also scored with the local sporting community by sponsoring the Ladies’ page in Bath Rugby team’s programme. “By giving them funds to help develop their team we, in return, appear in every programme,” she enthuses. “It not only publicises the brand in the Bath area but also gets the Molly Maid name out further afield during away games.”

At present, Regina is looking at developing a local partnership with oven, window and carpet cleaners, florists, gardeners and any other businesses involved in ‘looking after the home’ within the Bath area to see if she can get a loyalty scheme launched.

Regina says it is the support and dedication Molly Maid gives its franchise owners to succeed that has helped her and other members of the brand’s network to realise their business dreams.

“John and I attended an initial comprehensive one-week training course before we took over the business, and then we were able to shadow the existing franchise owner so that we could see how the business operated,” she says.

“Since then, we have had access to ongoing support from the Support Office and the rest of the franchise network when we need it, which has been a great help.”

Molly Maid encourages its franchise owners with all kinds of incentives including exotic holidays and membership of the President’s Circle, which Regina joined in 2010.

This caring environment includes everyone involved in the Molly Maid network, as Regina explains: “John and I are also quite proud as we are providing jobs at a difficult time.

“Our staff really care about our customers and, in return, we care about our staff by providing them with ongoing training and incentives throughout the year, including flowers for their birthdays and gifts for bank holidays.”

Such loyalty from the staff of 14 has meant that Molly Maid Bath is a constant presence at the top of the Molly Maid network’s sales category, something which Regina intends to continue while adding an eighth car to her business.

Regina concludes: “My journey with Molly Maid – going from a potential supplier to an employee and then to become a successful franchise owner – is testament to my belief in the outstanding reputation of the brand.”

Reported by Fraser McKay

10 good reasons for becoming a Molly Maid franchise owner

1/ Well-established brand
2/ Strong and supportive network
3/ Sole rights to an exclusive area
4/ Tried and proven business system
5/ Comprehensive training
6/ Tailored ‘Right Start’ staff recruitment and marketing programmes
7/ Full start-up package including cleaning equipment, supplies, uniforms, stationery and literature
8/ Industry leading software
9/ More than 300 Molly Maid cars on the road giving year round national ‘poster’ campaign
10/ Advice and on-going support with dedicated business advisor

Deferred Payment Scheme
A new finance initiative available from Molly Maid helps new franchise owners fund the purchase of its franchise opportunity.

This initiative allows Molly Maid to defer payment of up to 70 per cent of the initial franchise investment fee, as long as prospective franchise owners have received funding approval from their banks.

Pam Bader OBE, CEO of Molly Maid, said: “We want to lend a helping hand to entrepreneurial individuals who might otherwise struggle financially. Allowing them to pay in instalments will help to improve their cash flow at a critical time in the early stages of starting their business.”