The harder we work...the bigger the return!

As a MOLLY MAID franchise owner Suzanne Barker is now able to holiday abroad on a regular basis, has more control over her work/life balance and is working towards the goal of an early retirement

Running her own MOLLY MAID franchise has enabled 26-year-old Suzanne Barker to enjoy several foreign holidays with her boyfriend and business partner Glenn Chandler. This year alone the couple has already visited Las Vegas and Dubai - destinations now affordable thanks to their MOLLY MAID earnings.

'In October 2007 we took over the Hornchurch and Billericay-based MOLLY MAID franchise,' reflects Suzanne. 'I was 24 and it was an ideal investment for us because we would be able to hit the ground running. The business had been in operation for 20 years with an established client base, a team of staff and seven cars on the road, so we were able to generate an income straight away. All of my family are self-employed so investing in MOLLY MAID felt almost like a 'rite of passage'.'

Before joining MOLLY MAID Suzanne ran a gift shop, which she sold to buy a new business with more potential in terms of size and revenue. At the same time, her local MOLLY MAID territory came on the market. Having seen MOLLY MAID branded cars in her area for many years, Suzanne recognised the brand and liked the idea of managing a domestic cleaning franchise with ongoing support and training. After meeting the previous franchise owner, Suzanne and Glenn contacted other franchise owners and, impressed with the feedback they received, the couple attended an interview at MOLLY MAID support office before taking over the business.

'Glenn is a reptile breeder and owns a pet shop,' reveals Suzanne. 'He helped me finance the MOLLY MAID franchise and since we relocated the MOLLY MAID office to the back of the pet shop, we have been able to run both businesses together. The training and support package has been really good. There was a lot to take in on the one-week training course, however I had a MOLLY MAID Business Advisor by my side for the first week of running the business, who is still just a phone call away whenever I need help and advice. The support office also helps to promote the MOLLY MAID brand through national cross promotions and editorial in the national press.

'Since taking over the business, we have maintained the same level of turnover despite the recession. We are hoping to steadily grow over the next few years and look forward to increasing the number of branded cars we have on the road. Long term, our goal is to continue building up the business to the point where we will be able to sell it on and retire early.

'While running the business does take up a lot of my time, my work/life balance has improved. This is because as the boss I have complete control over my timetable and can work flexible hours. This means Glenn and I are able to take several holidays abroad a year. I really enjoy running the MOLLY MAID franchise especially meeting the customers. Knowing that the harder we work, the bigger the return on our investment is also a great incentive and keeps us focused.'

Interview by Jess Sturman