In 1984, entrepreneur David McKinnon brought Molly Maid from Canada to Ann Arbor, Michigan to give busy American homeowners a reliable, professional, affordable solution to the messy, dirty house. Over 30 years later, Molly Maid is a residential cleaning franchise that cleans more than 1.7 million homes annually.
We recently spoke with Katrina Keith, owner of Molly Maid of DFW Metro Northwest located in Lewisville, Tex. along with her husband Kevin. Kevin and Katrina Keith are 10-year veterans of the business and received the 2014 Shining Star Award, recognizing a franchise owner who embodies Molly Maid’s vision and core values with professionalism, gold standard customer service, promoting customer loyalty and serving their community.
In speaking with Katrina, we learned what was, and continues to be, their biggest challenge, their secret to success and what advice they have for others looking to own a franchise.
How long have you owned a franchise?
My husband Kevin and I have owned our Molly Maid franchise since March 2005.
What were you doing before becoming a franchise owner?
Kevin is a CPA and was working in internal accounting in the telecom industry after many years of public accounting. My background is in property management and recruiting. I have held a Real Estate License since 1996 and was previously the managing broker of one of the largest and most successful offices in the DFW Metroplex.
RELATED: TOP CLEANING FRANCHISES TO OWN
Why did you choose your franchise?
We were attracted to Molly Maid because of the recurring revenue stream, the Monday through Friday work week, and the owner-to-owner support that we found within the system.
What were some of the challenges you faced when starting your franchise?
Hiring the appropriately qualified personnel was a challenge and continues to be the most difficult aspect of this business.
Where did you research or get advice about starting a franchise?
We received information about starting a franchise through a firm called Fran Choice. This company helped match us to a franchise based on our specific criteria and location needs.
How much did you spend before your doors were officially opened?
Technically, the franchise we purchased was already in operation although only for a short time. The previous owners decided quickly that they were not prepared for this business and sold. We spent about $75,000 prior to taking over operations.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Each day we launch our cleaning teams in the morning, respond to current customer needs, answer new customer inquiries, complete free in-home estimates, provide the tools and products for our cleaning team to be successful, manage our fleet vehicles and our routes, daily accounting and clerical duties, and we welcome the teams back at the end of the day and review any feedback. Now that our business has grown, I am able to focus on the vision and direction of the company, developing the office staff, marketing, payroll and community involvement.
What is your secret to success?
There are plenty of customers who need and want our services. We simply need to deliver an excellent customer experience and provide a quality cleaning each time at a fair price in order to earn their long-term business.
What would you do differently if you had to do it all over?
In hindsight, there are small details that we would change, such as system implementation, hiring decisions, etc., but I cannot say that we would make any major changes.
Where do you see your business in five years?
This is a great question. With all of the new employment and labor law regulations, we are deciding how to grow our bottom line and still stay under 50 employees. Our other option would be to grow rapidly through expansion or buy out in order to absorb the additional expenses to grow over 50 employees. Our business typically is a slow and steady growth model.
What is one trend that really excites you?
A trend that I’m seeing that really excites me is that more and more families are setting aside cleaning chores for the experts in order to focus on family and careers, and that is where we come in!
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
Our company is really benefiting from fleet geotracking. Not only is this a great management tool, but it also allows us to respond timely to delays, warn our customers and plan a more efficient route to better meet the timing needs of our customers. We also have enjoyed search engine campaigns which give us a better bang for our marketing dollar. In general, online background check and driver’s license search tools have always been a critical part of our hiring process.
Do you (or did you ever) have a mentor?
I’ve always had a mentor, even when I did not know what a mentor was. I looked up to those in my life that I greatly admired and try to learn from them. These days I learn from many mentors both in our Molly Maid organization as well as externally.
What advice do you have for others looking to own a franchise?
For others looking to own a franchise, you need to find one that fits your needs and skill set. Make sure they have a proven successful business model and then follow that model. Too many times people want to come in and do their own thing. At first it will be a lot of hard work but if you plan, make good hires and prepare then you will be able to enjoy long term the fruits of your labor.
Would you recommend others be franchisees? Why?
Yes, it is the best of both worlds. You can own your own business without having to start from scratch and many times the road to success will be faster since others have paved the way.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
My only other comment is that while we have some routines that we perform daily, it is never boring when you own your own franchise. You can be as creative and hands on as you like.
Where can people get more information on Molly Maid franchise opportunities?
Visit the website here.
Where can people find Molly Maid on social media?
RELATED: 20 UNIQUE FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITIES