January 19, 2009 // Franchising.com // Ann Arbor, MI – American consumers made it clear this year that one thing they won't give up is a clean home, and they don't want the chore of doing it themselves.
Molly Maid, a leading residential cleaning service franchise with more than 5,000 signature navy and pink cars on the road, finished 2008 with a 5 percent increase in sales over the previous year. In addition, the company welcomed 18 new franchisees across the country, and an additional 17 existing franchise owners invested in expanding their territories. Molly Maid also experienced a whopping 85 percent increase in website contacts.
Molly Maid broke into four new markets last year, including Tulsa, Okla., Omaha, Neb., Rochester, Minn., and Syracuse, N.Y. and company executives are preparing an aggressive franchise expansion campaign for 2009, targeting Boston, Long Island, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Miami. According to Mailloux, each market was carefully chosen based on consumer demand for quality, reliable cleaning services. Overall, residential cleaning represents a $3 to $4 billion industry, which is projected to grow up to 17 percent through 2014.
"In homes around the country, a volatile economy often calls for both spouses to work harder and longer hours than usual, just to get by," said Molly Maid President Kristi Mailloux. "Busy working families want to make the most of their free time, and cleaning their house isn't exactly what they want to do during those rare, free moments. We offer one time, monthly, bi-weekly and weekly cleaning. It costs money, but it's an investment families are willing to make as a trade out for quality time together."
Mailloux noted that also during tough economic times, consumers tend to be more careful in making choices about companies and services that they hire, and are less likely to take chances with independent, little-known local businesses. "Molly Maid is nationally recognized. We do background checks, and home service professionals are bonded and insured. Customers know they can trust the people they are letting into their homes, which at a time like this, is critical."
As a whole, Molly Maid has been increasingly contacted by and has awarded franchises to executives being downsized in corporate America, or others who are tired of the uncertainty. She noted that Molly Maid franchises offer an executive style model for those who enjoy managing people, providing great customer service and who are looking for a flexible lifestyle with Monday – Friday hours.
In addition to franchise opportunities, Molly Maid also helps boost local economies by bringing jobs into the community, said Mailloux. "Our company and our franchise owners believe in creating good working environments where Home Service Professionals and office team members can make a good living. Many have been with their franchises for more than 10 years," she said.
Molly Maid franchisees also enjoy giving back to the communities they serve through the Ms. Molly Foundation, a non-profit foundation that supports victims of domestic violence and their families. The foundation raised a record-setting $127,500 this year, which was distributed to nearly 100 shelters across the country. Since its inception in 1996, the foundation has raised more than $725,000 for local domestic violence shelters throughout the United States and Canada.
Molly Maid, based in Ann Arbor, MI, is one of three service companies under Service Brands International. The residential cleaning franchise, ranked number one in the United States, was founded in 1979 and began franchising in 1984. Currently, over 450 Molly Maid units are operating in the United States alone, with an additional 300 operating throughout Puerto Rico, Canada, Japan, England and Portugal. Molly Maid has consistently ranked well in Entrepreneur magazine's Franchise 500 rankings, currently at number 104. Molly Maid has also been the recipient of numerous awards for entrepreneurialism, software innovation and humanitarian causes, including the Ms. Molly Foundation, which collects money and goods for safe houses and shelters for victims of domestic violence.