Clean-up Time! Residential Maid Services Franchises Have A Bright Future

"A man needs a maid." --Neil Young, circa 1972

So does a woman. And so do two-person households. Today, ever-on-the-go Americans are finding less and less time to take care of the dust and dirt that fills their homes. Others just simply don't like the mundane, time-consuming tasks of scrubbing and scouring their abode (and commode). That's why over the last three decades home cleaning and maid services have sprouted, flourished, and continue to show significant growth in the franchising industry.

According to a recent report by the Freedonia Group, annual revenues for commercial and residential cleaning services are expected to advance 5.3 percent each year through 2011, reaching $62.8 billion. The researchers have identified a shift away from do-it-yourself cleaning, particularly in the residential market. Dual-income families simply don't have the time to scrub their homes for that professionally maintained look and are searching for outside providers. In addition, as the average age of Americans continues to rise, many older homeowners will be physically unable to maintain their homes in the manner they once did.

Need more proof of the economic potential of franchises? Just consider how they continue to ride atop the annual Entrepreneur magazine Franchise 500 listings every year. A number of familiar names of residential cleanup players are sweeping up profits in this game: Merry Maids, Maid Brigade, The Maids Home Service, The Cleaning Authority, Molly Maid, and CottageCare are all on that coveted list.

Here's a quick rundown on some of the key players.

  • Merry Maids was established in 1979 and quickly began franchising in 1980. Basic start-up costs can range from $21,000 to $29,000. The Memphis-based brand has more than 1,400 franchise units in operation.

  • Maid Brigade, an Atlanta-based company, also started in 1979 and has been franchising since 1981. New franchisees can expect start-up costs of $29,500 to $58,500. Today, there are 400 franchise units in operation.

  • The Maids has more than 540 franchise units operating. The company was formed in 1979 and began franchising a year later. Start-up costs can range from $70,000 to $220,000. The company is headquartered in Omaha, Neb.

  • The Cleaning Authority is a Columbia, Md.-based company established in 1977 and franchising since 1996. It has 166 franchise units operating, and the start-up costs range from $30,000 to $50,000.

  • Molly Maid was founded in 1979 and has been franchising since 1984. There are more than 600 franchises now in operation. The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company requires around $30,000 to start up a new franchise.

  • CottageCare began in Overland Park, Kan., in 1988, with franchising opportunities following a year later. Interested franchisees can expect to spend from $10,000 to $17,000 to get started.

  • Whether you're looking for a new system, or a concept with years of proven experience, maid services for the residential market come in a variety of shapes and sizes. So consider today's $20 billion market and the forecasts for continued growth--thanks to the growing market of Americans who don't have time to tidy up after themselves. It could likely provide a way for you to clean up--in more ways than one.

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