Successfully juggle motherhood with a profitable MOLLY MAID franchise

Taking on a MOLLY MAID franchise while heavily pregnant with her first child has been a challenging and rewarding journey for Franchise Owner Imellda Courtney

With her MOLLY MAID franchise generating an annual turnover of £475,000, Franchise Owner Imellda Courtney is now enjoying the rewards of her hard work, which include a family holiday to the Maldives and a private education for her two daughters. "Before joining MOLLY MAID, I operated a fitness franchise for six years," reflects Imellda. "While I really enjoyed being my own boss and running the classes, I began to crave the opportunity to manage a business. I decided to sell my franchise to two of my class members for a nice profit and researched the different management franchise opportunities available.

"Domestic cleaning franchise MOLLY MAID appealed because it has strong branding, a good reputation and does not require its Franchise Owners to clean. The role of the Franchise Owner is to oversee the development of the business, manage the team of cleaners and build customer relations."

Imellda contacted MOLLY MAID to find out if there was a territory available near her and it transpired that the established Bromley territory was up for sale, so she arranged a meeting with the existing Franchise Owner to find out more. Impressed with the potential of the territory, Imellda visited Pam Bader, the CEO of MOLLY MAID UK at support office. "I was heavily pregnant with my first child at the time, however this did not seem to faze Pam," she continues. "If anything Pam, was supportive of my decision to join MOLLY MAID.

"Taking over the business in 1998, was challenging because not only did I have to learn how to operate the business and manage the existing staff, I also had to contend with the fact that I was a mother. Trying to find the balance between my work and family life was hard to start with, as I needed to be there for the business and my daughter. Fortunately, I was able to resolve the situation by combining the two and attended the preliminary MOLLY MAID training course with my seven-week-old daughter in tow. Then for the first few months my daughter came to work with me as I was breast-feeding."

As her own boss, Imellda has been able to successfully juggle motherhood with building her MOLLY MAID franchise. She explains: "In my second year of trading, I fell pregnant with my second daughter. With the business established, it was easier to fit work around looking after my two daughters especially as I had employed an office manager to take care of the day-to-day tasks. MOLLY MAID has also been supportive, if I have any problems somebody is always on the other end of the phone and the other Franchise Owners now feel like my extended family!"

Initially Imellda set up an office in her mum's spare room and now operates the business from a purpose-built office at the bottom of her garden. The benefit of working close to her home is that if either of her daughters falls ill she can take care of them and stay on top of what is happening at work.

"Running my MOLLY MAID franchise is very rewarding because I am in control of a thriving business that continues to experience year-on-year growth," enthuses Imellda. "In 2009 for example, my business grew by eight per cent, despite the recession. This is because I ensured my customers felt valued and I motivated my staff to boost morale. As my turnover has consistently grown, I have also qualified for the MOLLY MAID travel incentives for three consecutive years. I have been rewarded with three all expenses paid holidays to Crete, Portugal and Antigua!"

Interview by Jess Sturman