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Merry Maids franchise Inverness goes from strength to strength

Name: Bill Grant
Location: Inverness
Franchise: Merry Maids of Inverness & East Highland
Date launched the franchise: January 2008

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying your Merry Maids franchise?
I am originally from Edinburgh and worked part-time as a ski instructor in Scotland and various resorts in the Alps whilst studying for my degree. I moved to Inverness in the early 90s prior to getting married and opening the first of a couple of city centre gift shops that traded successfully through to 2005. I then became involved in a couple of tourism businesses in the West Highlands and on Loch Ness but was uncomfortable with the seasonality.

Can you also tell us about the franchise you have bought?
Merry Maids is a domestic cleaning franchise from ServiceMaster Ltd

Why did you go down the franchise route? What made you choose the domestic cleaning industry? And why did you choose a Merry Maids franchise?
After a relatively negative experience of operating a seasonal business I was keen to move back to a sector with less seasonal influence. There was also a clear gap in the market locally within the sector.

ServiceMaster Ltd offered the most attractive option; specifically by way of support and nationally established brand.

How did you raise the finance?
Mixture of own funds and bank lending organised with the franchisor’s assistance

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
Two week training academy at Franchisor’s office plus time working in the brand manager’s own Merry Maids business.

Very good ongoing support from the then brand manager and helpful and insightful interaction with other established franchisees

How would you describe your day-to-day role as a franchisee?
Initially the role was all-encompassing, including hands-on cleaning in new clients’ houses. Now, 11 years on, my role is that of a senior manager plus sales

What challenges have you faced?
There are two equally pressing but otherwise quite different principal challenges;

  • Recruitment and retention of good staff
  • Significant recent increases in National Living Wage and the consequent price increases to clients

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
Not really; just continuing my long established adventure in self-employment

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise? 
Speak to existing franchisees aswell as the existing franchisor!!

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?  

  • Someone who understands the concept of franchising; the necessity of national or international brand identity and service levels.
  • Someone who is prepared to work hard and take on multiple roles but who is prepared to take advice and constructive criticism.

What are your plans for the future?
Continue to develop my existing business with a focus on driving greater profitability.

Investigate the possibility of taking on another territory from same franchisor

If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?
Buy lots of Bitcoin the moment they became available!!

To find out more about Merry Maids franchise, click here

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