November 11, 2008 // Franchising.com // Vangie Sidoti didn't need television reruns of "NYPD Blue" to figure out being a cop in New York could be a rough business.
For 14 years she majored in human nature and sobering reality as a member of New York Police Department, patrolling the streets of Brooklyn. Finally, she decided to make a clean sweep, so to speak.
Sidoti purchased a Molly Maid Cleaning Service franchise and opened a location in March 2007 in Wilson Borough. Practicality spurred her foray into opening a cleaning services franchise business.
Given current economic times, she was looking to sell a commodity that was essentially recession-proof.
"It is a service that everybody needs," Sidoti said.
Sidoti is the classic example of an entrepreneur who took the plunge from the steady work world to become their own boss. Her story describes how a small business owner can overcome obstacles in a financially troubled era.
It starts with a handshake
While dust, dirt and garbage remain a bankable commodity, it does not guarantee a successful cleaning business. Sidoti is cognizant of effective branding.
Part of differentiating her business is that Molly Maid doesn't require customers to enter into a contract.
Another aspect is that quality cleaning is job one: If the crumbs aren't cleaned out of your microwave, it will get done for free by any one of her 10 employees.
"We don't book them into a contract," Sidoti said of her customers. "More or less it's a handshake."
Sidoti's handshakes rival a running politician.
"We've doubled our business since our purchase," Sidoti said.
Still the economic meltdown hasn't gone unnoticed.
"At the same time, you know, you get the cancellations here and there," she said.
Those cancellations required Sidoti to become astute at managing resources, including being more judicious about how she orders cleaning supplies and more efficient in how she uses her employees.
"Our biggest opportunity is keeping the quality up," Sidoti said. "We're creating customers for life, and it starts by keeping our customers' homes in the pink. Molly Maid pink, that is."