Franchising fitted perfectly with our plans

Being made redundant when you are near to retirement can seem especially disheartening. When this happened to Denise Walker and Lorna James they found a new lease of life with a MOLLY MAID franchise

Options can seem limited when you are made redundant and nearing retirement. When colleagues Denise Walker and Lorna James found themselves in this situation they had the benefit of having over a year's warning to evaluate their options.

'We were both working for a health clinic, where we have worked together for over 15 years,' Lorna explains. 'We were given over 12 months' warning that we were to be made redundant. Denise and I were in our early 50s and we both thought that it would be strange starting again for a new company.

'It was while we were discussing our choices that we decided to start our own business. Initially we wanted to set-up a new business from scratch, however at our ages we didn't want to start from the bottom and have to build up a brand reputation. Additionally, we wanted to have the opportunity to sell our business and make a profit for our retirements. These reasons meant that the franchising idea quickly came in as it fitted perfectly with our plans.'

Denise and Lorna began researching franchising and looked at several franchises available before deciding upon MOLLY MAID. Denise recalls: 'We found out about MOLLY MAID through an advert the company had placed looking for staff. From there, we looked into the company and realised that it would not only provide us with a strong and established brand that we wanted, but also a product that we could believe in as well as great back up. We felt that MOLLY MAID was streets ahead of everyone else in the industry.'

Adds Lorna: 'Although we had some trepidation about being made redundant, because of the time we had to plan we were also excited about our new life.'

Four years on since launching their MOLLY MAID franchise the business partners have built their business to a turnover of £234,000 and, despite the recession, the franchise continues to grow. 'We haven't noticed any affects from the recession,' Lorna reveals. 'The telephone rings all the time with potential customers and we are keeping the business we already have. Everything at the moment is great and we can't find a negative.'

In addition to providing themselves with financial security, Denise and Lorna's MOLLY MAID business has also enabled them to provide jobs in their local area. 'It is great to know that we are able to provide our staff with a good standard of living and the fact that we can offer an employment package has meant our managers have company cars that many of them would not have been able to have before,' says Denise. 'As well as this we have earned a lot of respect from the local business community.'

Denise and Lorna are keen to keep the future growth of their business modest so that they can continue to manage and retain the clients they already have. Lorna states: 'This year we are aiming to grow to a turnover of £280,000. In the long-term we want to build the business to £350,000 and in doing so grow by four to six more staff and have two more cars in operation.'

Interview by Derin Ibrahim