Build on Success- MOLLY'MAID'is the best thing I've ever done!

Together the Ward family have built a franchise to be proud of by following the MOLLY MAID system

Since the launch of their franchise six years ago, Derek Ward and his family have built up their MOLLY MAID business to an annual turnover of £550,000 (including VAT) with 350 clients on the books and 11 cars on the road. Along the way the Ward family have smashed several sales targets and have been rewarded with four foreign holidays to Cuba, Antigua, the Bahamas and Crete courtesy of MOLLY MAID.

Derek previously worked in the oil industry for 30 years. When he retired, he was keen to continue working but this time for himself. Aware of the benefits of investing in a franchise, namely access to a proven business model and ongoing support, Derek searched the franchise industry for inspiration and found domestic cleaning franchise MOLLY MAID. 'The management franchise fitted my criteria because I would be able to use my people management skills and existing sales and administration experience,' explains Derek. 'When I visited the company the management team came across as being professional and, equally important, very trustworthy.'

Derek launched his York-based franchise in 2002 and purchased the Harrogate territory one year later. Impressed with the business's rapidly growing success his wife Elaine, a former Customer Service Manager, joined the business, swiftly followed by their son Dez and daughter Emma. 'We share the workload,' continues Derek. 'Dez is now putting his business qualifications to good use with me at the office looking after the operational side of the business. While Emma is able to utilise her sales skills gained from working at by visiting prospective clients and assessing the quality of the cleans with Elaine.

'Running the business with my family is a pleasure. We work really well as a team and I think this is because we are keen to keep improving the business and build on its existing success. One of the benefits of being your own boss is being able to work flexible hours. This helps Emma because she has a young daughter, so by operating the franchise with us she can just work part-time hours for the time being to fit in with her childcare requirements.

'MOLLY MAID has delivered more than expected. The initial one week training course ensured we were prepared to run our business and the support team is only a phone call away if we have a problem. Having the backing of a franchisor is also particularly useful when keeping up-to-date with changes in employment legislation.'

Derek and Elaine's long-term aim is to retire from the business and travel around the country in their motor home, leaving Emma and Dez to run the business. 'I'm really happy with MOLLY MAID, it's the best thing I've ever done,' enthuses Derek. 'I would highly recommend it.'

Interview by Jess Sturman