Molly Maid: Still cleaning up in the UK after 20 Years!

Domestic cleaning franchisor Molly Maid is launching a revolutionary franchise offering that few have tried in the UK.

A business established for 20 years in the burgeoning house cleaning industry, which was recently valued at over £2 billion, Molly Maid is lowering the royalty rate paid by franchise owners as their business grows.

'Most franchisors would probably shy away from making such a significant change to their business model,' says Pam Bader OBE, Chief Executive of Molly Maid and past Chair of the British Franchise Association. 'For us it represented another opportunity to encourage and reward franchise owners to grow their businesses, something which should be the sole focus for a franchisor.'

In addition to a progressively lower royalty rate, Molly Maid has increased the marketing spend for new franchise owners; adopted another innovative approach to their exclusive territory design; and introduced a new proprietary support system called Right Start designed to help new franchise owners establish their business more quickly.

Pam says: 'These developments are what you would expect from an industry leader with an exclusive focus on making the business model as successful as can be.' Started in the UK in 1985, Molly Maid rose to prominence in the early 1990s as increasing numbers of women went out to work and time was becoming a precious commodity. So too the dual income phenomenon was taking hold and changing cultural attitudes made it more acceptable to have services provided at home. Molly Maid has always been there to help householders capture the few hours a week they would otherwise have spent cleaning their home.

But why would you choose Molly Maid over all the other franchise Opportunities? Consider the benefits of franchise versus starting a business from scratch. Successful franchises offer, among other things, brand name recognition and proven systems for marketing, human resource management and operations. It doesn't matter what industry you are considering, you want to know that the franchisor is providing you with these key benefits. One need only look at brand name recognition to see that Molly Maid is the UK's leader in household cleaning.

Independent market research conducted by MORI in February 2005 revealed that Molly Maid is the most well known trademark in the household cleaning industry in the UK. Total awareness was 12 per cent - twice that of the nearest competitor, and the rest were mentioned by less than one per cent. In areas where Molly Maid has representation, the same survey showed that awareness can rise to over 40 per cent. 'We are aiming for Molly Maid to be so well known that most people refer to it as a generic term for house cleaning,' says Pam. 'Think of a cola company or your favourite tomato sauce and odds are that the brand you think of first is the 'Molly Maid' of their industry.'

It's no surprise that Molly Maid is cleaning up in the exploding domestic service industry. 'Many of our franchise owners are growing at double digit rates, growth that is driven through a partnership involving their individual commitment and the desire and the dedication of Molly Maid support office,' says Pam. 'Our franchise owners are above all people-orientated. They understand how to motivate people, they enjoy meeting new people and they embrace the challenges offered by business ownership in a service environment.' When you combine these skills with our team at Support Office the result is a winning formula for success'

Starting any business is a challenge. You have to wear so many hats. You are the director of sales and marketing, human resources and finance. Individuals who succeed, according to Pam, are ones who are able to embrace these challenges and utilise the Molly Maid trademark and proven business system.

Good friends Lorna James and Denise Walker of Berwick, were looking for such a challenge. Having worked in the same job for the out-of-hours doctors' service for many years, when redundancy was offered both women jumped at the chance of continuing to work together, but this time it would be for themselves. 'We heard of Molly Maid when we saw job opportunity details advertised by a Molly Maid franchise owner and wanted to know more,' explains Lorna.

The opportunity seemed genuinely appealing. They knew it would be hard work getting the business off the ground, but also understood the long-term benefits of being part of a well-known franchise. Since starting the business, Lorna and Denise have found that they need to be flexible and have a can-do attitude in all areas: 'We both feel that this is something we could not have done on our own as the demands in the early days are very high.'

Like so many Molly Maid franchise owners, Lorna and Denise have found that while the success of their business is largely dependent on their own individual efforts, the guidance and support that they receive from Support Office and other franchise owners is instrumental in the successful operation of their business. Franchise owners benefit from the experience of their Business Advisor, whose sole function is to assist them in the growth and management of their business.

'We never feel alone,' says Denise. 'You feel like you are part of the family. After the training week we started our business right away. Even though the training week was very comprehensive, we had three days' on-site support which was absolutely invaluable and our Business Advisor is never more than a phone call away.' While Molly Maid has expanded internationally into the USA, Japan and Portugal as well as the UK, its focus remains on the success of franchise owners like Denise and Lorna. 'It is through their success that Molly Maid will continue to be successful,' says Pam.

The investment required to start a Molly Maid franchise with 12,000 target households is £16,975. This includes everything needed to start your first team - marketing, staff recruitment, support programme, cleaning equipment and supplies. Franchise owners are also required to have a minimum of £12,000 working capital (for vehicle lease hire, insurance and miscellaneous start-up expenses)

So what can you expect from the Molly Maid franchise in the future? 'In two words: continued success,' concludes Pam. 'With the highest brand awareness in the industry and a proven system of operations, Molly Maid franchise owners can focus their efforts on the most important parts of their business - customer care and staff - and realise the unlimited potential offered by this huge growth industry. Call today, and begin your career with Molly Maid - the market leader in domestic cleaning.'

Written by Molly Maid's Marketing and Franchise Development Manager Andrew Parsons