Bruce builds on his father’s franchise foundations

From starting his association with MOLLY MAID as a university student helping his parents’ business, today Bruce Torrance runs its highly successful Edinburgh franchise.

Having seen – and had a hand in – the success of his father’s Molly Maid franchise in Edinburgh, it was almost predestined that Bruce Torrance would eventually take the helm of the business. “My dad Ernest and mum Pat bought the Edinburgh territory in 1994, when I was still at university,” explains Bruce, who is now 36. “As a student needing some money and parents who welcomed my help, I initially used to spend my holidays doing cleans and distributing flyers to attract more clients to the Edinburgh business.

“When I finished my degree, I began working a couple of days a week until my role gradually increased to a full-time role looking after estimates, interviewing staff and looking after sales.” Bruce continued in this capacity for a number of years, during which time he met his wife Carol, who worked for the business for two years. In 2000, the couple moved to Glasgow to be closer to Carol’s parents and, for the next four years, Bruce’s involvement reverted to providing operational cover for his dad.

“Having not been involved in the business for some time, one evening in 2008, my dad asked if I would be interested in buying the business from him when he retired,” explains Bruce. “After discussing it with Carol – and knowing Molly Maid and Edinburgh’s potential – we decided to go to the banks to find out more about funding.”

The couple secured the necessary finance from HSBC and, despite a few reservations about the challenging economy in Scotland, they decided to keep Molly Maid Edinburgh in the Torrance family. Bruce and Carol took over the reigns of Molly Maid Edinburgh in October 2010, after going on the company’s comprehensive training scheme.

“We spent a week at the Molly Maid Support Office in Maidenhead with two new territory franchise owners,” says Bruce. “We did the same training as them, including using the computerised scheduling system and customer relations’ software. The only difference for us was that Carol and I had prior knowledge of Molly Maid and, therefore, a slightly different perspective.”

For their launch week, franchise owners are joined by one of Molly Maid’s experienced business advisers to provide any hands-on assistance that may be required.

“I was surprised by how much dad did as a franchise owner,” laughs Bruce. “It can be hard work at times but I am really loving the responsibility of being my own boss. I can sometimes be working from 8am to midnight, but the quiet times more than make up for it, like taking my daughter to the swings at lunchtime.”

Bruce added that there is no substitute for hands-on experience, which he found not only at Molly Maid’s Support Office but also among his fellow franchise owners and his staff.

“Everyone in the Molly Maid family makes you feel really comfortable and anything I need to discuss I know I can just call the Support Team. Molly Maid has a great network of franchise owners and they are often the source of excellent advice as they have been running a franchise for a number of years and will have often come across – and solved – a similar issue.”

Bruce intends to follow in his father’s franchising footsteps by forging links with the other Molly Maid franchise owners in Scotland.

“My dad had close links with a previous franchise owner in Glasgow and used to regularly meet up with him for lunch to see how each other were doing and to swap business ideas,” he says. “As I am about to introduce a fifth car and so is the Aberdeen franchise owner, I think it will be a perfect opportunity to restart those meetings.”

Such is the high regard in which Molly Maid is held, its franchise owners attract loyalty from their staff, resulting in clients using the company’s services for years, if not decades.

“I have many long-serving members of staff – two of who have been with us on and off since 1995 – who say they just love cleaning for Molly Maid as the system is so well organised and it helps them relax. Their loyalty and the fact I don’t use any agency or temps means our customers trust us to get the job done well and on time,” explains Bruce

The dedication and experience of Bruce’s team were put to the test when Edinburgh ground to a virtual standstill in December as a result of the heaviest snowfall in the city in years.

“That was a huge learning curve, as I had only been running the franchise for eight weeks and was faced with the task of how to make sure my clients’ properties were cleaned,” explains Bruce. “I learned a lot from my staff as they came up with initiatives to get around their routes using their own ingenuity and resourcefulness – it really was a wonderful display of teamwork.”

Now that they are settling into their lives as Molly Maid franchise owners with a 200-strong customer base and a turnover of £260,000, Bruce and Carol plan to get their five cars working to capacity so they can then expand the business even further for five years.

“We also intend to enjoy the fruits of our success with Molly Maid – I want to upgrade my photography hobby while Carol wants to do a further education course, but most of all we are looking forward to spending plenty of family time together,” smiles Bruce.

Deferred Payment Scheme

Molly Maid has launched a new finance initiative to help 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.”

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

Reported by Fraser McKay