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Exclusive interview with Pam Bader, Molly Maid

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Franchisors name: MOLLY MAID UK Ltd.
Name of franchise: MOLLY MAID

Tell us about how/when Molly Maid was started and the motivation behind establishing the company.
In 1984 Malcom Tall my business and life partner purchased the master licence from MOLLY MAID international in Canada. Malcolm already ran a cleaning company and saw the potential for the MOLLY MAID brand here in the UK. It’s not very often that you get the opportunity to take on a company and build it into a major brand and I love a challenge.

When and why did you decide to go down the franchise route?
Malcolm had been looking for a master licence in cleaning he could bring into the UK and saw the potential for the MOLLY MAID brand in the UK and franchising was financially a more viable option.

What have been Molly Maid’s biggest achievements/successes to date so far?
We have been awarded Franchisee of the Year twice, gained Investor in People and many other awards along the way but taking the company from a standing start in 1984 to a turnover of £16 million in 2013 with 70 Franchise Owners is our biggest achievement so far.

What challenges have you had to overcome?
We have faced many challenges over the last 28 years including two recessions, changes in employment law, introduction of holiday pay and now pensions. We’ve overcome them all by working with our Franchise Owners and within the time frames set to incorporate the changes into our Business System without any detrimental effect to Franchise Owner profits.

What marketing/promotional tools do you use to grow your franchise?
The top three marketing activities we use to grow our Franchise businesses are:
1 Paid Search – to reach people who are searching on the internet for cleaning services
2 Flyers – to remind people about MOLLY MAID when they decide to make contact
3 Community Relations – to help build a strong image within the local community

What differentiates Molly Maid from the competition?
It very much relates to the reputation of the MOLLY MAID brand and its caring staff who are well trained and go that extra mile to deliver excellent service. The philosophy is underpinned by our commitment in issuing a guarantee to the consumer that we will go back to rectify any problem. Our motto is to deliver “Consistent Careful Cleaning”. We have great staff loyalty as evidenced by the fact that many staff have been with us for 10 years plus.

In your opinion, what makes a successful Molly Maid franchisee?
Someone who is prepared to follow the MOLLY MAID system, who takes advice and acts upon it. 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.

What changes have you seen in your industry over recent year? And how have you adapted to them?
Changes to employment law, the introduction of the minimum wage, holiday pay entitlement, they have all had a major impact and have had to be incorporated into the MOLLY MAID business system. On the customer front we are witnessing the second generation now whose mothers’ had MOLLY MAID and their children have the service as a matter of course. There is also a much wider acceptance (and ‘status’) to having professional help in and around the home and garden.

What does the future hold for Molly Maid?
Enormous demand for the MOLLY MAID service, our aim is to be so well known that most people refer to MOLLY MAID as a generic term for house cleaning.

What expansion plans have you got nationally and internationally?
We aim to expand into areas in the UK that offer huge potential to grow and develop successful MOLLY MAID businesses with the right business partners (Franchise Owners). There is enormous scope in the market for the right type of people

What advice would you give to someone considering franchising their business?
Contact the BFA; Go to the specialist seminars for prospective franchisors. There you will meet all the professional expert lawyers, banks, and consultants, so you get the right franchise agreement, get help with funding, putting manuals together and training programmes etc. You will also get lots of ideas about the level of business support you must give to your Franchise Owners to ensure success.

If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?
In hindsight I would have tried to raise more funding to expand the Support Office team so we could have grown are outlets throughout the UK more quickly.