Meet the Franchisee: Beccy Pope

Beccy with her award for Merry Maids Rookie of the year, awarded for her exceptional work during the COVID19 pandemic.

Beccy Pope’s journey into the world of franchising was completely unplanned. She began her working life as a student with the goal of teaching. But, whilst working three jobs as a student, Beccy realised she preferred to earn money. A combination of the need to retake a year, and the sudden passing of a close friend then caused Beccy to rethink her life. Having decided she wanted to leave university and earn money for herself, Beccy made a leap of faith and took a job in the forensics industry doing finance and admin. From there, she found herself on the path of a career woman, building said business from the ground up along with the owner. She was then headhunted as an Operations Director selling military software for two-ex military men and did this for a number of years.

Her two financing and admin roles gave Beccy a good sense of the processes involved in running a company. She had become very familiar with the requirements of establishing a good business, and loved building a business and running it how she wanted. She describes the feeling of being in her 20s and finding the fulfilment of being ‘in it’, meeting amazing people, doing work she loved, and being the woman who can “slap her high heels on and stomps across the train station feeling important.”

During this period in her life, she was with her then boyfriend, now husband. “You know,” she says, “We did the whole traditional get married thing and decided we wanted to have children.” And in 2017 Beccy had her daughter Isabelle. Beccy says that it was pretty much immediately after this that she realised she was faced with a choice. She had come up against the reality of a lot of modern women. “I could be the mum that I wanted to be, or the career person that I wanted to be, and nothing in-between. It wasn’t doable to do my job, and be a good mum.” Beccy knew she had to revaluate her options.

It was then that a friend and colleague told her that his father was looking to sell his business. She wouldn’t have to start something new. She met with Ray Topple, who started Merry Maids North Sussex in 1996. Ray was supportive of Beccy stepping across to North Sussex and introduced her to the team. “It just seemed like a really nice bunch of people, a really nice setup,” she says. Beccy was then supported in buying the business by her own dad, who helped her put the money together to make the sale. With a smooth sale done, Beccy took over Merry Maids North Sussex in August 2019.

“And then the pandemic hit.”

Though Beccy says she was lucky to not lose anyone in the pandemic, she struggled with managing a new business alongside the birth of her son Finley. Though through this now, she said she’s now found herself in the place she wanted to be in:

“I can be the mum I want to be, and I have the work that I enjoy. I like dealing with the staff, and I still get to go out and meet people. It still feels like the best part of my jobs, but in a more local, community setting. I love going and meeting people. I met a mum a little while ago who just wanted us to go and hoover her floors and mop them because she couldn’t find time. And that’s real life isn’t it? Forensic software is all very exciting, and it’s cool, but it’s not the part of my life that I’m in. And my team leader Alex, she’s got two little boys, and between us: We’re sailing this ship.”

Together with her team, and her husband, who also runs his own business, Beccy has found a better quality of life. The work life-balance afforded by Merry Maids, and the systems in place mean customer inquiries can be seen to without becoming all consuming. Beccy can live the life she wants, as part of a partnership she wants, to be the woman she wants.

If you liked Beccy’s story and want to follow her journey, check out her YouTube channel: ‘Beccy Cleans’.

The Women of Merry Maids UK

Celebrating International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month 2022.

It was International Women’s Day this week, which centres the discussion of women’s issues as part of Women’s History Month. The theme of Women’s History Month changes annually. Though the goal is always to provide education on how women helped shape the nation, and the world at large.

The Merry Maids network includes many brilliant women who manage professional domestic cleaning businesses across the UK. Each one of them brings something different. Be that previous experiences that have led them to where they are now or a unique outlook that helps them run a successful business.

Sue Smith – Owner of Merry Maids Tyneside:

Sue Smith has owned Merry Maids Tyneside for 28 years now. Before this, she worked in payroll for Safeway’s. But with a young son aged three, Sue wanted to have her own business to manage her own time and childcare. Merry Maids “was the perfect solution”, as Sue liked to clean and was able to incorporate this into her job.

Though she found Merry Maids and thought it was just right for her, Sue still had her reservations. She was concerned that she was not the right sort of person to run a hands-on business, as she felt as though she lacked the confidence. “I remember when I had to do the first callout it was terrifying.”

But Sue found that she could do it, and has become confident running her business “I think the more you do it, the more you get used to it. If you push yourself, you can do these things, even when you think you can’t,” she says.

Sue has found also herself becoming more and more involved with the local community and developing long-lasting relationships with clients. “We’ve had some customers for years. I like dealing with it. Especially the older people that have always kept a nice house, and are now finding it difficult to do. I think you get more satisfaction out of that kind of clean – when they’re so grateful for the difference you can make to their home.”

Nicola Morris – Owner of Merry Maids Fylde and Blackpool:

Nicky Morris also started her Merry Maids business around 20 years ago when looking for a fresh start. This coincided with her husband changing careers, having been in the military, and with the two of them moving to a completely different part of the country with a young child. Having spent most of her career “in the corporate world”, Nicky wanted something new, for herself. So, she did a lot of research into franchises, and having spoken to previous Merry Maids franchise owners, found that she was happiest with the brand and company. There was also the question of timing around her move, but ServiceMaster (Merry Maid’s parent company) were happy to hold the business until Nicky was ready. This meant that when her move was completed Nicky was able to undertake her Merry Maids training academy and “hit the ground running after that.”

Though she’s had to put in lots of hard work, Nicky has found running her own business to be worth the challenge:

“It’s very rewarding to see what I’ve built up from nothing. When you initially start, like any business, you have to give it your all 24/7. Especially for the first couple of years. And moving to a new area with a young child was pretty difficult. On the other hand, being my own boss gave me a bit of flexibility. It is your baby, really having a business and building it up. It is blood, sweat and tears that you’ve put into it. So, it is different to a normal job. However much you might like the company you work for, it is very different. When it’s your business, you do have an emotional attachment to it as well. But it’s worth it.”

Helen Bielby & Becky Hewitt – Owners Merry Maids Sutton Coldfield:

Helen Bielby has a personal history with ServiceMaster and Merry Maids. Back in the early 80s, both of Helen’s parents worked in engineering and were made redundant around the same time. So, they decided to pool their redundancy money and buy a ServiceMaster franchise – which used to involve our disaster restoration and clean brands under one umbrella. The business stayed a family affair, with Helen and her nan helping out doing the cleaning. Her dad ran to the physical side of the business, whilst her mum handled the running and operation. Then, in 1999, Helen’s mum decided that she wanted to buy a Merry Maids franchise as well. At the time, Helen was at university and would still help out with the cleaning on her break days, and after university, she would help with the books alongside her job. When Helen’s mum passed away suddenly in 2010, Helen had to handle both businesses:

“There was a point where we didn’t have any of the passwords to get into the ServiceMaster system. And ServiceMaster were great, and they sent people down from head office to help us get it all because we had to keep going. And we had staff that we employed, we couldn’t close. So, you know, it was a nightmare, to be honest. I couldn’t run both businesses and have a foot my own full-time job. I could do Merry Maids because I’d done it for such a long time. But we realised we needed a secretary to help my dad do the admin on Service Master.”

They found Becky, “who was working part-time as in conveyancing at a solicitor’s office. She had just had her hours reduced, and she was looking for something to make them up. We met, and we hit it off from the start, we became best friends very, very quickly. It let me get on with concentrating on Merry Maids, but because they were run from the same office in the same room, she would help me out with Merry Maids as well, which was huge for me.”

When Helen’s dad then decided he wanted to sell the Merry Maids, business, he suggested that Helen and Becky take it over together. They have now been running it for the last 12 years alongside working other jobs and both having young children. Though this has been difficult to manage, especially during COVID-19, the pair have been able to lean on each other and be at the forefront of making changes within the business to tackle whatever problems come their way. Helen and Becky have needed to be adaptable and able to work under enormous pressure, but have been able to manage it together.

Beccy Pope – Owner of Merry Maids North Sussex:

Beccy Pope’s journey into the world of franchising was completely unplanned. She began her working life as a student with the goal of teaching. But, whilst working three jobs Beccy realised she preferred to earn money. So, she made a leap of faith, taking a job in the forensics industry doing finance and admin. After building this business from the ground up along with the owner, she was headhunted as an Operations Director selling military software. These two roles gave Beccy a good sense of the processes involved in running a company, and she found she loved building a business and running it how she wanted.

In 2017, Beccy had her daughter Isabelle and was faced with a choice as she was worried she was missing out on too much of her daughter’s early life due to the job she was in.

“I could be the mum that I wanted to be or the career person that I wanted to be, and nothing in-between. It wasn’t doable for me to do my job, and to be a good mum.”

So, in August 2019, Beccy purchased Merry Maid’s North Sussex. Though she faced some difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside the birth of her son Finley, Beccy is now be both the businesswoman and mum she wants.

“I can be the mum I want to be, and I have the work that I enjoy. I love going and meeting people. I met a mum a little while ago who just wanted us to go and hoover her floors and mop them because she couldn’t find the time. And that’s real life, isn’t it? My team leader Alex, she’s also got two little boys, and between us: We’re sailing this ship.”

As the newest of these women to the Merry Maids franchise, Beccy says she has received invaluable help and support from the other women in the network like Nicky and Helen. Who have helped Beccy with various things during the setup of her business, even though online during the pandemic:

“Helen talked me through how she runs her online shop and was really friendly and positive. She was happy for me to use some of her work if I chose and to call her if I had any problems during or after set up. Nicky has sent me a few letter templates which have saved me a lot of time too. Considering I haven’t even met these ladies, they have been very supportive!”

Beccy is soon to be starting a new YouTube channel called Beccy Cleans, which will concentrate on Beccy running her business, looking after her family and lots of useful cleaning tips.

As a leading British franchise, people are at the heart of what we do. The women of Merry Maids have each brought unique contributions to our franchise network. This month is all about celebrating them and shedding light on what they do. So, we hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about the women that make up the Merry Maid’s network.

To learn more about a professional domestic cleaning service near you, find your nearest Merry Maids today. And if the stories of these women inspired you to make a fresh start, get in touch with our franchise recruitment team to learn more about Merry Maids business opportunities near you.

What our franchisees love about owning a Merry Maids franchise

Happy Valentine’s Day from Merry Maids! In keeping with the theme of the day, we’re sharing the love. We asked the franchise owners within our national network to share what it is that they love about franchising, and owning a Merry Maids business.

Whether it’s being a part of an established network of friendly franchisees, or working with a trusted and dependable business model, there’s a lot to love about owning a Merry Maids business. As Nicola Morris from Merry Maids Fylde and Blackpool will tell you:

“What I love about the Merry Maids brand is working together with a fabulous group of fellow Merry Maids owners all helping each other!”

Tom Jackson from Merry Maids Dudley and Wolverhampton says what he loves about franchising with Merry Maids is the support from our network:

“The support from head office is good….but the best thing about being a franchisee is the support and teamwork you get from the other people in your network.  If it’s solving a problem or just ‘how’s your business getting on?’ there is always another franchisee at the other end of the phone or WhatsApp.

Seeing those league tables and finding out how that area is doing so well and what is working is fantastic for my business…..borrowing idea’s from Bill in Inverness…..asking Nicky in Blackpool what she is doing about a particular issue is invaluable

And of course I look forward to the social events where we can now get back to being able to meet up from time to time.”

If you’re looking to start a new business that will allow you to support domestic customers in a rapidly growing and highly profitable industry, make an enquiry with us, and join our network of satisfied franchisees today. Upon purchasing a business with us, you will take part in one of our comprehensive training academies, to help you get to grips with the Merry Maids values, strategies and methods. No matter your experience of the domestic cleaning industry, franchising, or the stage of your journey, we will be there to support you every step of the way.

Merry Maids of Inverness wins Great British Franchise Award

Merry Maids network are delighted to announce our 2nd ever franchisee to achieve ‘Great British Franchisee’ status in the 2022 Great British Franchisee Awards.

We are thrilled to congratulate Bill Grant of Merry Maids Inverness & East Highland on achieving Great British Franchisee Status this year. Bill is our second ever franchisee to receive this esteemed title, alongside Gary Rolfe of Merry Maids Kingston in 2021.

The whichfranchise.com Great British Franchisee Awards are designed to recognise franchisees across the UK for their outstanding performance and contribution to franchising, regardless the sector or size of the business. Franchisees are recognised and assessed on a number of factors including stability and business experience, staff retention, customer satisfaction, community and franchise involvement, inspiring leadership and driving business growth.

All of these Bill has in spades. His branch of Merry Maids has been in operation out of a single base in Inverness since January 2008, and though it initially saw relatively modest profits in its first year, it has since flourished due to expansion and investment, which has included the use of expanded commercial premises and branded vehicles. Bill has been a Merry Maids partner, covering Inverness and East Highland for the last thirteen years. The business employs a further twenty staff members, who in the past year have had to deal with being severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This included a full closing of the branch in March-June of 2020 and Christmas 2020-April 2021. However, in spite of this, Bill and his team persevered and saw that month on month trading figures between the first lockdown closure, and the subsequent post-lockdown closure in 2021 were significantly higher than pre-COVID figures. As a result, Bill is very optimistic about post-pandemic recovery and how the business will perform in 2022.

Bill recognises that the principle challenge facing him and Merry Maids Inverness (beyond the pandemic) is the fact that they operate within a geographically expansive franchise territory that has a relatively low population. As a result, they have opened a second office approximately an hour’s drive from the second largest populated area in the territory, following its’ successful operation and growth  as a satellite business, this business was then sold to a new franchisee as a separate and newly agreed territory.

Now, Bill concentrates on territory within a twenty mile radius of Inverness and so has invested in local marketing and brand awareness. Marketing is the key for Bill, and he has focused on brand awareness continuity post-lockdown. This has proven to be fruitful as it has grown business quite substantially. Merry Maids Inverness is now the largest single territory business by turnover within our franchise network, as well as the second largest single or multi-territory Merry Maids business by turnover.

Key to franchising and one of the factors recognised by the Great British Franchisee Awards is a franchisee’s approach to staff recruitment, training and development. Along with his approach to marketing, Bill has embraced alternative approaches to staff recruitment and his team now includes a dedicated Operations Manager who is responsible for training, staff engagement, and quality control. To incentivise staff and keep morale high, Bill encourages client feedback through online forums such as Google Reviews. He displays any and all positive feedback on a staff noticeboard to recognise the successes of his staff. He also holds regular staff meetings and training in order to highlight these achievements, client gratitude and to encourage retention of  a high working standard.

Much of this training and standards include making sure that his team are able to work to and maintain the core values and practices of the business. For Bill, the central objective for Merry Maids Inverness is to meet and exceed client expectations. These are consequent to information provided by the extensive marketing and research, the business’ online presence and initial visits to prospective clients. During the initial interview and training process, Bill makes sure that his workforce are made aware of these high client expectations. This training then provides staff with the wherewithal and tools to consistently deliver this high level of service.

Beyond his team, and within the wider franchise network, Bill is a long-standing member of the Merry Maids IRC (Ideas Review Council), and provides assistance, encouragement and mentoring to other franchisees within Scotland, and engages regularly with our franchise Brand Manager and marketing department.

Brand Leader for Merry Maids UK, of Vikki Donnachie has high praise for Bill and his achievement, saying…

All this and more proves why Bill is a worthy recipient of a Great British Franchisee Award. We would once again like to congratulate him for this outstanding achievement, and wish Bill and his fantastic team continued success for 2022.

If you aspire to be like Bill and build one of the largest businesses within our franchise network, we would love to hear from you. Contact our franchise sales team on 0116 275 9005 / franchisesales@servicemaster.co.uk for further information 

An Introduction to new Merry Maids UK Brand Leader, Vikki Donnachie

Merry Maids UK has recently appointed a new Brand Leader,experienced franchise professional, Vikki Donnachie. Vikki, who has just completed her second week at ServiceMaster, will be officially taking over the reins from Steve Morris in January of 2022. Vikki joins Merry Maids with over twelve years’ experience in recruitment, and thirteen years’ experience in healthcare franchising as Head of Kare Plus Franchising. What attracted Vikki to Merry Maids was the opportunity to use her years of franchising experience, but in a different environment, which will allow her to put her own stamp on the franchise network. Vikki added, “The fact that [Merry Maids is] a big organisation, but with a family feel, and the fact that there is scope for network development–” Furthermore, having spoken to other Brand Leaders within ServiceMaster, Vikki says that she has been assured of the career journey that a Brand Leader position offers, and that this is in line with the path she sees herself on.

Having now completed her two-week training academy with Merry Maids, to get acquainted with the brand and its processes, Vikki feels well-prepared to tackle her new role. Speaking of her experience settling in at ServiceMaster over the past fortnight, she says, “It’s been really, really good! Everyone has made me feel really welcome. I feel like I’m fitting in, the processes are very similar, and certainly what I would expect, I feel like I’ve been here for ages – which is always a good sign. And the days fly! There are not enough hours in the day, so that’s another good thing.” Vikki is now itching to get out and interface with the Merry Maids network and is looking forward to “Building a relationship with the franchise partners and getting them to buy into and trust [her], and then helping and supporting them to develop as much as they can.” With her experience in franchising, Vikki is aware that it is all about the people. Therefore, it is the network that is at the forefront of her mind going into her first month at ServiceMaster and the New Year. “What motivates me is seeing other people succeed. I love being a mentor, I’m not one for ‘it’s all about me’, I love to give people ideas and for them to roll with it,to be successful and for them to take the credit for it. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning: seeing people I work with and support doing well.”

Speaking of her plans for her first month at ServiceMaster she said, “Obviously the last two weeks I’ve been getting my head around the systems and so on and so forth, plus getting to meet the internal team. I think in January, the first thing is going to be to have verbal conversations and hopefully interactive conversations on Teams with all the franchise partners, just getting to know them, find out why they joined Merry Maids in the first place; what their motivators are; will they need my help and support? Ultimately, what their goals and aspirations are, because I think everybody is going to have different goals and plans. I want to try and find out what floats their boat and what motivates them, to build business plans to make sure that is what we are achieving. After that, hopefully in quick succession, to go out and meet them all face to face in their offices. But I know that is potentially going to be hampered at this moment in time.”

But Vikki is also thinking long term. She says there are two sides to how she sees herself progressing Merry Maids and the strategy she will use to realise this progress. She says “The first is to work closely with the existing network. Step 1 will be to work with the existing franchisees and try to explore new opportunities, alternative ways and ideas –fresh initiatives – to help boost the business.  Her goal – to enable the network to get the best out of their investment and to build a really good relationship with us, because for me it is a partnership. It’s not a dictatorship, it’s a partnership. It’s all about making sure [franchisees] get as much out of the support that we give as well, whilst exploring other services and other offerings down the line.” Vikki says “The second part is to work very closely with franchise recruitment, to bring in some new franchise partners and some fresh energy.” Vikki feels well equipped to support the Merry Maids Franchise Recruitment team, drawing on her experience in franchising. She says “I think the Merry Maids network are poised for some great investors in 2022. Following on from recent investment from two new franchise partners, we plan to build on this success. Even during challenging times, Merry Maids has remained an attractive opportunity for those looking to be in business for themselves, but not by themselves. I like to think outside of the box, and think of different initiatives and different ideas.” As a result, Vikki has already been in conversation with the franchise recruitment team at ServiceMaster. She says “I’ve been working closely with Emma Chappell, Franchise Sales Manager already and sharing a few ideas and how I’ve done things previously. We’re both really excited about where we can take the Merry Maids network by working closely together and sharing our expertise. So, developing the existing network but bringing fresh investment in as well, is really, really important because we need people to bring in different ideas and initiatives. That’s what makes a successful network to me.”

Outside of work, Vikki keeps busy  within her very own network and as a Mum. She says, “I live in a little country village so I love walking. I’ve got my dog – a cockapoo – I love getting out and about. I’m a horsey person as well and love just ‘the countryside’ shall we say? I’ve got a lot friends dotted around the country as well, so I love the social element of that; love a good night out; love a good party. Whether it’s a party in a kitchen or a party in a pub, I don’t mind. Aside from that, I’ve got an eleven, soon to be twelve, year-old daughter, who keeps me busy with netball, and dance, and gymnastics, and everything else. So it is ‘Mum’s Taxi, all aboard!’ most weekends. We like to be busy!” Ultimately, Vikki says she feels confident in her career journey and to be taking a new step with ServiceMaster, and is now eager to roll up her sleeves and get to work. She says, “I’d like to be here for the long-haul. I’d like this to be my last job now and I really want to make the most of it, and to grow and develop together.”

Though COVID-19 has provided challenges for us all, the importance and demand for cleaning services has never been more pronounced. Merry Maids is well placed to capitalise on this demand, and we are very excited to welcome Vikki on board to spearhead this. Therefore, on behalf of the ServiceMaster family of brands, we would like to once again heartily welcome Vikki and wish her the best for what promises to be a bright future with Merry Maids.

A Croydon based cleaning company is celebrating after collecting a business award following the COVID pandemic

Merry Maids of Croydon scooped the Merry Maids Business Resilience award following the COVID pandemic. The award is designed to recognise and celebrate achievements in showing resilience throughout the pandemic to a business that responded in an above and beyond manner.

Covid19 presented a multitude of challenges to Merry Maids businesses and employees across the UK, who all responded magnificently in the highest traditions of delivering excellent customer service.

However, it was one business that stood out. Throughout the pandemic, Merry Maids of Croydon responded to the challenges in an exemplary manner by employing exceptional safety protocols, maintaining excellent standards of customer service and actively exploring new opportunities to ensure the future of the business.

Merry Maids of Croydon, is a franchise of ServiceMaster, owned and managed by Debbie Walker and has been successfully cleaning homes in the area since 2003.

Debbie commented: “Myself and the team are delighted to have won the award. It was an immensely challenging time and to know we did as much as possible to help our community and our fellow franchisees across the UK is a great feeling.” Said Debbie

“I was so pleased to be able to return back to work on 1st June 2021 and bring my team back together again. We set ourselves a target to have all our staff back within the business by September 2020 and this was achieved.” Added Debbie

“In the last year we have helped so many families, elderly clients and those that are vulnerable in our community to bring their lives back to some form of normality after what has been a hideous time for all. Nothing rewards us more than making a client comfortable in their home and making them smile when often they are facing difficult times.” Finished Debbie

Merry Maids franchise were committed to ensuring that all franchisees were fully supported throughout the pandemic and the challenges that business owners faced. This meant regularly speaking with franchisees to update them on the latest government guidance and how their business would be affected, but how the affects could be managed positively.

Brand Leader for Merry Maids, Steve Morris said: “As the Brand Manager for Merry Maids it is one of the great privileges of my role to reward businesses that have achieved great things in the past year. Throughout the pandemic, Merry Maids of Croydon responded to the challenges in an exemplary manner.

“Of particular note, regular contact was maintained between the business and myself, the Merry Maids Brand Leader, for our mutual benefit for which I was extremely grateful. Proof of the excellent business management and customer service skills utilised during this challenging period are now being rewarded by a strong business recovery.” Added Steve

Merry Maids of Croydon are deserved winners of the 2020, and hopefully the only, Merry Maids Resilience Award!” Finished Steve

Recognising some of the less obvious, but nonetheless culturally vital parts of franchising is imperative to ServiceMaster and the yearly awards allows this to happen.

Awards were given for not only growth, but also to those that have given back to their community, or employees of franchisees that have demonstrated their commitment to the brand attributes engaging in initiatives and actions with colleagues and customers well beyond their job description, very often in their own time at their own expense.

“As a family business working for families, we are thrilled to have won, but it simply wouldn’t be possible without our staff. I feel they all need a special thank you. Merry Maids of Croydon constantly strives hard to offer great customer service and a community friendly approach.

“Of course, our goals over the next 12 months are to grow but also to continue to offer an excellent service to our clients especially continuing to develop in certain sectors – working with clients with dementia and the elderly that wish to stay living at home. Additionally, we want to maintain an excellent customer experience and continue to serve our local community”

“Let’s hope we never have to go through a situation with so much sadness and challenge again.” Finished Debbie

If you’d like to learn more about how our network worked through the challenging times of the pandemic to come out of the other side stronger, together, contact our franchise sales team today on how you can be a part of it. 0116 275 9005 / franchisesales@servicemaster.co.uk 

 

A Wakefield based cleaning company is celebrating after collecting a business award following the COVID pandemic

Merry Maids of Wakefield scooped the epitome of awards, the Merry Maids Franchisee of the Year award 2020 following the COVID pandemic. The award is designed to recognise and celebrate achievements in being a model franchisee and additionally in the following year, showing resilience throughout the pandemic and reacting in an above and beyond manner.

Covid19 presented a multitude of challenges to Merry Maids businesses and employees across the UK, who all responded magnificently in the highest traditions of delivering excellent customer service.

However, it was one business that stood out. Throughout the pandemic, Merry Maids of Wakefield responded to the challenges in an exemplary manner by employing exceptional safety protocols, maintaining excellent standards of customer service and actively exploring new opportunities to ensure the future of the business.

Merry Maids of Wakefield, is a franchise of ServiceMaster, owned and managed by Gina Glendinning and has been successfully cleaning homes in the area since 2018.

Gina said: “Firstly, I can’t quite believe I won such a prestigious award having only just completed my 3 year as a Franchisee! What a huge sense of pride both in my achievements but also in my team and how hard we have all worked to keep going in such unprecedented times.”

“2020 as we all know had been a challenging time for everyone and although I knew the business would be impacted I also knew that I had the drive and the team around me to steer the business through.”

“I took the bold and immediate decision, to close the business immediately when needed but also to contact my lovely customers letting them know we’d be back. I believe my calm approach to the situation help others see that it was not a time to panic but to act.” Added Gina

All franchise owners received heaps of support throughout the pandemic to ensure that they were able to manage their business effectively through the storm without too much damage. Our job as the franchisor was to ensure that franchisees were fully supported in what decisions they chose to make throughout the pandemic.

Brand Leader for Merry Maids, Steve Morris said:

“As the Brand Leader for Merry Maids it is one of the great privileges of my role to reward businesses that have achieved great things in the past year. Throughout the pandemic, Merry Maids of Wakefield responded to the challenges in an exemplary manner.

“Of particular note, regular contact was maintained between the business and myself, the Merry Maids Brand Leader, for our mutual benefit for which I was extremely grateful. Proof of the excellent business management and customer service skills utilised during this challenging period are now being rewarded by a strong business recovery.” Added Steve

Recognising some of the less obvious, but nonetheless culturally vital parts of franchising is imperative to ServiceMaster and the yearly awards allows this to happen.

Awards were given for not only growth, but also to those that have given back to their community, or employees of franchisees that have demonstrated their commitment to the brand attributes engaging in initiatives and actions with colleagues and customers well beyond their job description, very often in their own time at their own expense.

“Re-opening on 1 June 2020 was great, I had meticulously planned which members of the team should come back and how we would approach each job. I brought back 8 full time ladies with each working on an individual basis. I ensured I constantly contacted both customers and staff, remaining positive and calm even when some felt a little uncertain.” Added Gina

“The business steadily grew and eventually we got back to somewhat normal times. During this strange and demanding year, I strove to look for opportunities to grow the business via different avenues working with Estate Agents and Property Developers to ensure that any voids during our working days were filled.” Said Gina

“My year ended on a high as during Q4 my husband and I took the decision to expand and we purchased two new additional franchise areas. An excellent adventure awaited in 2021 when we took the reins just before Christmas.” Finished Gina

If you’re interested in joining a franchise where support is second to none, franchisees are rewarded for their resilience and greatness, then do contact our franchise sales team on 0116 275 9005 / franchisesales@servicemaster.co.uk for further information on our available territories and future training academies 

Advice to others from an existing Franchise Partner

Going in to business for the first time, or even in to a new business can be daunting.

Fortunately when joining a franchise network, you not only get support from the franchisor, but also from an established network of existing business owners.

Here Gina Glendinning of Wakefield, South Leeds, York & Harrogate shares her advice to those who are looking to go in to business for themselves, not by themselves with a franchise opportunity.

What can you expect going in to business? 

Always try to expect the unexpected, staff will undoubtedly have problems that will take them away from work and you can never predict the weather!” 

What rule should you always stick by? 

“Never to compromise on your core values, if you have provided a quote stand by it, do not sell yourself and your team short.”

What helped you to grow? 

“Recognising my strengths and affording me the opportunity to success using Merry Maids as my trusted advisor.”

Gina provides 1-2-1 help with other franchise owners within the network to pass on her learnings and experiences. This is such a valuable activity helping others to thrive and grow.

If you would like to speak to Gina, or any other members of our franchise ahead of pursuing your journey with us, contact our franchise sales team to arrange this for you on 0116 275 9005 or at franchisesales@servicemaster.co.uk

Franchise Focus – Nick Rayner

Nick joined the Merry Maids franchise network over 8 years ago in 2013 and has grown a great business servicing customers in Milton Keynes. 

We’re grateful to Nick for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions surrounding being an integral part of our franchise network.

Q. What made you want to own your own business? 

A. “I bought the Merry Maids franchise originally because for years and years of working for someone else, I just thought why not give it a go myself, be my own boss with all the challenges you get from Merry Maids it seemed like something I wanted to do.”

Q. What is your lifestyle like as a Merry Maids franchise owner?

A. “I currently have a really good work/life balance.  I’ve got a goos structure, I have an office manager who is brilliant and gives me the time to do stuff that I want to do. Spend time at home, with the family and things like that. Getting the structure right within your business is key to having a good lifestyle.”

Q. What is the support like the brand?

A. “We have good marketing support. They sort out Facebook and social media for us. Leaflet design, they do our leaflet run and then we sort out distributing them. This is brilliant so we don’t have to think about them. We also have local media, newspaper ads and things like that. It puts our name out there and makes people see us.”

It’s important to not just ‘take our word from it’, but hear from our franchise owners too. They have bought in to and operated the brand for months or years. We encourage all prospective franchise owners to reach out to our network as part of their due diligence.

If you’d like to chat to us, or perhaps a franchise owner – contact our friendly franchise recruitment team today on 0116 275 9005 to arrange an introductory chat.

Franchise Focus – Nicky Morris

Nicky Morris is the proud owner of Merry Maids Fylde, Blackpool and Preston. Celebrating her 20th anniversary in business later this year, Nicky is part of a franchisee elected council to help build and develop the network, and despite her busy schedule operating two territories, took time out of her busy schedule to answer the following questions we asked;

Q. Why did you want to go in to business?

A. I wanted to be responsible for my own decisions and I wanted to drive the business forward for myself and see the results of my own action.

Q. Why did you choose a Merry Maids franchise?

A. I looked at various home cleaning franchises where some of those were an agency where you didn’t get to know customers or staff and used to send out people at the end of the telephone to do a job for someone who you’d only spoken to on the phone. I wanted to be involved with both my staff and customers, so I went with Merry Maids as that’s the scenario there to build relationships with everyone. I also chose Merry Maids because of the business model and the way it works and they worked out much better than other businesses working in a similar way.

Q. How is the work/life balance?

A. As you develop the business is becomes easier to take time off. To the stage where we have a really good lifestyle where our office manager looks after the business so that we can take breaks and holidays. We have a good work/life balance now.

Q. What’s included in the marketing support?

A. Our marketing team look after our social, they run our webpages and we send updates for alterations. They also provide advice for free publicity and for arranging advertising.

Real Franchise Story – 18 Years of Merry Maids

The Merry Maids franchise has been around in the UK for over 30 years and in this time has welcomed many franchise owners to the network to deliver domestic cleaning services locally.

Tom Jackson is the proud owner of FOUR territories within south Birmingham, Dudley, Wolverhampton and Solihull.

Having joined the network 18 years ago, Tom has seen how the industry has changed over the years and has been able to keep up with the times through the research and development undertaken by the brand.

Eighteen years ago, Tom visited every customers’ home to provide an in-home quotation based on their requirements, now, Tom is able to sell some of his services online to give himself and his customers the flexibility to choose and book their service online.

Initially Tom’s business mainly served elderly customers who were unable to clean for themselves, now it serves both customers who need our services, such as the elderly and those who want our services to give them their time back to do something else – not cleaning!

Our clever, empathetic marketing activities help to attract customers from all demographics, giving our franchise owners more opportunities than ever to sell their services to the general public.

Tom’s business is the largest within our network and we support him in his plans to continue to grow so that he can build an asset for the future. Tom also supports other franchise owners by offering his advice and guidance.

If you’d like to chat to Tom, or our franchise recruitment team, contact us today on 0116 275 9005