MOLLY MAID franchise owner wins top national franchise award

The winner of this year's Franchisee of the Year Gold Award Sandra Redmond reveals the reasons behind her success and her future business plans

Winning the British Franchise Association's 2009 Franchisee of the Year Gold award was amazing," enthuses MOLLY MAID franchise owner Sandra Redmond. "It was the most wonderful feeling, especially as my parents and my husband were there and could see what a momentous achievement it is to win this national award."

Sandra won the award after impressing the judging panel with her business achieving continued success despite the economic climate. She reveals: "The theme of the awards was 'Success in Challenging Times' and franchise owners had to present what they had done to beat the downturn. I think one of the reasons why I impressed the judges is because my business turnover has increased two years running and my last turnover was £575,000, which is set to increase again next year.

"The success I have experienced during the downturn is due to adapting my business system in anticipation of it. For example, I have made sure that I have the staff available to cover the days when I know I'm traditionally busy, but reduce them for days when business is quiet. In addition, I have recently moved office and my landlord has been very supportive and allowed me to expand into more office space when I've needed to.

"Additionally, the Molly Maid support office staff have been very supportive during the last year, not only to me but to the entire franchise network. They have been communicating regular suggestions and ideas and have provided an advertising credit to encourage us to advertise more."

Sandra launched her MOLLY MAID franchise in 1995 when she took over her franchise territory from a friend. "A friend of mine rang me and said that she was thinking of selling her Wimbledon-based MOLLY MAID business and was I interested in buying it," she recalls. "At the time I was working in sales and marketing in a role that involved a lot of travel and I wanted a change. I had never thought about franchising until this opportunity became available, however I liked the idea of running my own business as I felt I had a lot of ideas that I wanted to implement."

MOLLY MAID is a management franchise opportunity in which franchise owners supply a domestic cleaning service that is carried out by staff cleaners. New franchise owners are provided with a one-week training course before they launch their franchise. Sandra, however, was unable to attend the course due to the fact she had to takeover the business quickly. "I more or less had to do my training on the job," she remembers. "The support office team were wonderful - they are happy to let you get on and run your business and if you want lots of help they are always on hand. I found that the business model was really easy to follow and although you do not need a lot of varied business skills if you stick to the system you will be able to run your business successfully."

Although Sandra admits that since launching her franchise she has become much busier, she still has plans to grow her business: "In the future I plan to take my business to the next level, expanding it from a small to a medium business in terms of size."

Reported by Derin Ibrahim