Build a profitable business with a reputable domestic cleaning franchise

With the ongoing support of MOLLY MAID and her husband Richard Harris, Franchise Owner Julie Beckham has successfully built a profitable business

In the last five years, Julie Beckham and Richard Harris' MOLLY MAID franchise has grown by 30 per cent and is now generating an annual turnover of £400,000.

"Our business continues to experience year-on-year growth and in 2009 alone, our business grew by 8.2 per cent despite the recession," says Julie.

"By investing in the MOLLY MAID franchise I have been able to take control of my work-life balance and work more flexibly, which was particularly beneficial when I first established the business in 2002 when my two children were two and four. My husband Richard joined the business in 2005.

"Before I became a MOLLY MAID Franchise Owner, I was working on the administration of a City-based hedge fund. Two of my colleagues there introduced me to MOLLY MAID, as I was looking for a domestic cleaner. They suggested I try MOLLY MAID because they both used the brand in Essex and St. Albans. When I discovered that MOLLY MAID did not operate in my area, the entrepreneurial seed was sown.

Rather than look for a different cleaning company, Julie decided to contact the MOLLY MAID support office to discuss buying the territory and running her own MOLLY MAID franchise.

"I had toyed with the idea of running a small business for some time, but had never really investigated the options," recalls Julie. "MOLLY MAID appealed because it has a good reputation and provides a high quality domestic cleaning service that continues to be in great demand.

"When Richard and I went for our initial meeting with the support office team, we came away feeling impressed by their integrity and the strength of the brand and so we decided to invest in the Bexley territory. Two years later, we expanded the brand into the Sevenoaks area and now oversee both territories from our converted garage at home."

Established in the UK in 1984, MOLLY MAID is a management franchise in the domestic cleaning sector. The Franchise Owner is responsible for recruiting, training and managing their full-time staff who carry out the cleaning service for residents within their defined territory. The franchise package includes full training and support. All Franchise Owners attend a one-week initial training course and then receive ongoing guidance from the support office and the rest of the franchise network.

"The initial training was very comprehensive," confirms Julie. "It covered all aspects of running a MOLLY MAID franchise from hiring employees, to payroll and carrying out in-house estimates with prospective customers. When I left the training, I felt I had the ground skills to launch the business. Since then, we have had ongoing field support from our business advisor, who not only helped me find my feet in the early few weeks but also continues to support us now. I know that I would not have been able to do it alone.

"We have also built good relationships with other Franchise Owners so 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 where our skills and knowledge are updated.

"I would recommend MOLLY MAID to other prospective investors. MOLLY MAID UK rewards its Franchise Owners when they reach certain success milestones. For example, we have qualified for the travel incentive programme on three occasions; Portugal in 2004, Antigua in 2006 and we are off to Antigua again this year!"

Reported by Jess Sturman