Merry Maids of Croydon Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Celebrating 20 years of Merry Maids of Croydon.

The end of 2023 marked 20 years in business for Merry Maids of Croydon.

Business Owner Debbie Walker, who was recently a finalist in the BFA HSBC British Franchise Awards, started her business in 2003 after a successful career working in corporate roles.

With a background in Strategic Account Management and working with large numbers of suppliers, Debbie became well-versed in working to provide support within her community at the highest level.

This made her well-suited to deliver the services offered by Merry Maids UK: providing premium home cleaning services with a smile, professionalism, high-quality training, expertise, and assured safety practices.

At Merry Maids, we deliver a high-value exchange to our clients.

As part of a nationwide franchise organisation, we are locally owned and nationally renowned, providing the quality and assurances of a trusted brand with the knowledge and care of a local professional.

At Merry Maids of Croydon, two decades in operation means twenty years of unparalleled cleaning, community care, and happy customers.

Anniversary Celebrations

To celebrate their anniversary, the team threw a celebration in the office in which all of the staff received a cupcake from Drizzleanddrips and a note thanking them for their hard work.

Their regular clients also received a thank you card, and clients with cleans that day received a cupcake!

Receiving a celebratory bunch of flowers from Merry Maids’ franchisor ServiceMaster, Debbie said:

“We are thrilled to commemorate an incredible 20 years of serving the Croydon community. From day one, we’ve been dedicated to delivering exceptional cleaning services with a smile.”

“Our journey has been nothing short of remarkable, and we owe it all to our dedicated team, our loyal clients, and our community, who have supported us throughout the years. We cannot thank you enough for being a part of our journey.”

Charity Partnership

As part of their anniversary, the team partnered with Reedham Children’s Trust to collect donations from their customers for vulnerable people and families in Croydon.

Essential items like food and toiletries have been pouring from customers to help people in the local community during Christmastime and generated donations with a total value of £1161.89!

Jessica Ritchie from the Reedham Children’s Trust added:

“Once again, Merry Maids of Croydon and their wonderful customers have been incredibly kind, donating over £1,100 worth of food to help vulnerable children and their families this Christmas and into the new year.

The cost-of-living crisis affects so many of us, but it is heartening to see that despite this challenge, everyone pulls together to help others in their time of need.

Thank you so very much.”

Want to own a successful cleaning business?

If, like Debbie, you would also like to operate a successful cleaning business, providing expert support to homeowners in your community, contact our franchise sales team today on 0116 275 9000, email franchisesales@servicemaster.co.uk or book a brand intro call today.

Merry Maids of Croydon donates over £1100 worth of items to food drive

Merry Maids of Croydon have completed another successful food drive in collaboration with the Reedham Children’s Trust.

This Christmas, the Merry Maids of Croydon team once again partnered with Reedham Children’s Trust to collect donations from their customers for vulnerable people and families in Croydon.

Essential items like food and toiletries have been pouring from customers to help people in the local community during Christmastime.

The drive, held for the second time following a successful effort last year that inspired the nationwide Forget Me Knot Challenge, has generated donations with a total value of £1161.89!


The Impact

The impact of this scale of donations cannot be overstated.

Last year, the food drive helped support over 100 families in Croydon to have the essentials over Christmas and into the new year.

Like this Mum of three who benefitted from a hamper provided by Merry Maids last year:

“With the cost of the living crisis, I was feeling depressed and turned to a friend for help in finding a charity that could support us.

But to my amazement, we received a food hamper and vouchers, an incredible show of support I couldn’t believe. I am beyond grateful for this support, which has helped my children and me.”

This year, the team surpassed the donations from last year, which will go a long way to supporting the (approx.) 27,483 children living in poverty in Croydon.


Thank yous

The Croydon and Reedham Trust teams would like to extend a huge thank you to the people who dug deep to help.

Merry Maids of Croydon Director Debbie Walker, who was recently named a finalist in the BFA HSBC British Franchise Awards for her work in the local community, said:

For the second year running, we have been delighted to raise food donations for the Reedham Children’s Trust.

Our clients have been so generous in supporting this initiative and we hope this will make a difference to families in need in the Croydon area this Christmas.

I would like to thank our clients and staff for such a positive response!”

Jessica Ritchie from the Reedham Children’s Trust added:

“Once again Merry Maids of Croydon and their wonderful customers have been incredibly kind, donating over £1,100 worth of food to help vulnerable children and their families this Christmas and into the new year.

The cost-of-living crisis affects so many of us, but it is heartening to see that despite this challenge, everyone pulls together to help others in their time of need.

Thank you so very much.”


Interested in joining the Merry Maids network?

If you would like to work within your local community carrying out domestic cleaning services for those who need a little extra helping hand, contact the ServiceMaster Brands UK franchise sales team to find out more about opportunities near you today.

Merry Maids Croydon attends BFA HSBC British Franchise Awards

Merry Maids of Croydon’s Debbie Walker achieved finalist status in the BFA HSBC British Franchise Awards.

The results are in for the prestigious BFA HSBC Great British Franchise Awards, held by the British Franchise Association at the end of their annual conference to recognise the best of British franchising, and were attended by some of our head office team and franchisees.

We are thrilled that we had a finalist, Debbie Walker from Merry Maids of Croydon, who was up for the Community Focus Award.

Community Focus

We’d like to congratulate Diljit Brar from Costa Coffee, who won the Community Focus Award.

The ServiceMaster team and Merry Maids UK network are incredibly proud of Debbie for beating out countless applicants to make it this far.

To be a finalist in such a competitive sector is no small feat and is a testament to her hard work, dedication and commitment to her brand and community. What she has achieved as a finalist is no small thing.

And Debbie has indeed achieved some impressive feats.

In the past year, she has taken on a Ukrainian refugee to enable her to stay in the UK, donated enough material during a food bank drive to feed multiple vulnerable families struggling with the cost of living over and beyond the Christmas period, and been paramount in the development of our nationwide Merry Maids Forget Me Knot Challenge, which raised over £4000 for Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia Friends.

Kind words

Commenting on the awards, Debbie said:

“I was absolutely delighted to be alongside some other great franchisees as a finalist for the Community Focus award.

We work hard every day to make our business count in the local community and give back to the people who we serve, so this recognition means a great deal to us.

Pip Wilkins, Chief Executive of the BFA, said:

“Our huge congratulations to all the winners tonight. We had some fantastic entries this year and these winners really stood out from the crowd. We would like to thank them for being such great ambassadors of the BFA and for representing the very best in UK franchising.”

Judge, awards host and UK Head of Franchise, Commercial Banking at sponsors HSBC Bank Gillian Morris said:

“The diversity of franchising on display at tonight’s awards ceremony – across so many brands and sectors – demonstrates the strength and reach of the industry.  Choosing a winner is never easy and I’d like to join Pip in thanking everyone who entered and sending our warm congratulations to all the winners on these very well-deserved awards.”

Want to start a successful cleaning franchise?

If, like Debbie, you would like to work with a team of cleaners to carry out bespoke and professional cleaning services in your local community, contact the Merry Maids franchise sales team today.

Take the first step towards a cleaner, brighter future by calling 0116 275 9000 and see if a Merry Maids business could be your perfect fit.

Merry Maids UK ‘Forget Me Knot Challenge’ Raises £4,000 for Alzheimer’s Society

The Merry Maids UK Forget Me Knot Challenge has raised over £4,000 for Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia Friends.

At Merry Maids UK, we are a nationwide cleaning franchise that has long had our heart in care and the community.

When, in 2014, a friend of the Croydon-based franchise, Debbie Walker, was researching a PhD thesis on dementia patients and told her about Dementia Friends, we began to work closely with the charity and have never looked back.

Our Merry Maids business owners provide care across the UK through compassionate and professional home cleaning services.

This often means they encounter members of the public living with dementia and struggling with the disease.

This year, we took our dedication to giving back a mammoth step further by undertaking the Forget Me Knot Challenge – which has raised over £4,000 for Alzheimer’s Society.

The Forget Me Knot Challenge

The Forget Me Knot Challenge – named in reference to the tying together of Merry Maids businesses and the small blue flower that has long been associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia – was a sponsored virtual relay in which staff and owners from Merry Maids businesses across the UK ran, walked, or cycled the equivalent total mileage between each Merry Maids UK business.

The results

Cleaners, business owners, customers and head-office staff from across the UK put forward donations, helping raise over £4,000 – achieving more than double their initial £1000 donations and 2345 mileage targets.

Collectively, the Merry Maids franchise network has walked 4796.14 miles – the distance between London and Dallas, Texas!

Our stories

With over 900,000 people estimated to be living with dementia or Alzheimer’s in the UK today, it is likely that we all know or have known someone affected.

Each participant had their reasons for taking part.

Like Mike Fargher of Merry Maids in Sheffield and South Yorkshire, who racked up 1186 miles and generous donations by cycling and pledging £1 per mile.

“Our Merry Maids business has had many encounters with Dementia over the years,” says Mike.

“We have some long-term clients that did not have dementia when we started to clean for them but sadly now have it.  We also take on new clients where they, and their families, wish to remain in their own homes and, with the support of ourselves and other outside agencies, can do so.”

“Sometimes a client wants to chat over a cup of tea, to tell you about their life, family and other interests. The Maids may have heard the same stories several times but will listen as if it was the first time they heard it.”

Or the team in Fylde, Blackpool and Preston – including maids Angela and Bernie – who each has had multiple family members live with the disease.

“I’m doing the Forget Me Knot Challenge because I’ve been through dementia experiences three times so far, and I’m just about to go through my fourth with my dad,” Angela said back in July.

“It’s devastating. The person you once knew changes into somebody else.”

“They don’t die… straight away. It’s a long process. But they change. They’re unrecognisable as the person you once knew.”

“You have to be kind to one another. You have to talk. Don’t bottle things up, and listen. Listen to the person who is ill because they are just as confused as you are.”

“It’s important that we help them to feel as normal as possible for as long as possible. We must find ways of making this illness easier to live with, raise awareness and money to develop new medication to help slow this process.”

Learn more

To learn more about Merry Maids UK and our work with Alzheimer’s Society, call 0800 021 3072.

If you’d like to join a franchise network of like-minded business owners working to make the world a better place in an industry with endless growth opportunities, contact our friendly franchise sales team today on 0116 275 9000 to find available territories near you.

Merry Maids owner in West Midlands recognised as Great British Franchisee

A cleaning company boss who offers rare job security and long-service awards to the people he employs in the West Midlands has won a major industry accolade.

Tom Jackson, owner of the Merry Maids franchises in Dudley, Wolverhampton, Birmingham South, Solihull and Stafford, has won a Great British Franchisee Award, one of the most prestigious honours in the highly competitive franchise sector.

“It’s common for a high frequency of staff turnover in the cleaning industry,” Tom says, “but that’s not the case in my business.

“I offer long-service awards because, generally, many of our staff stay with us for a long time.

“Two of the admin support staff have been with me for 15 years and nine years respectively – each having started as cleaners.

“And even the original two members of staff that I employed 20 years ago still work for us.

“I believe our staff stay with us because we care about them, and they can feel it, but also because many have been part of our journey and have seen the business grow from just two staff into what it is now.

“I also think people are drawn to the job security that a business established for 20 years brings.”

The Future of Merry Maids

Tom, a former bingo firm manager, is proud, too, that some of his customers have been using the company for 18 years, and one has even had the same cleaner continuously for all that time.

He also actively supports the rest of the Merry Maids network and mentors new business owners like Mercy Ikeji (pictured) when they join us.

“I’ve grown my Merry Maids business from a zero turnover virgin business to, what is currently, the biggest Merry Maids franchise in the UK with 60 staff,” he says.

“It’s a far cry from when I started with myself and two staff using a spare office – but I’m not content to rest on my laurels.

“I’ve set challenging goals for the next three years of growth with a target to be the first Merry Maids with a £1 million turnover.”

Tom is not the only one who thinks he will achieve that.

“Tom is a real asset to the franchising world,” says Merry Maids Brand Leader Vikki Donnachie.

“He is passionate about everything business, from his customers to his staff, as exemplified by his industry-defying levels of staff and customer retention.”

Contact Us

If, like Tom, you’d like to run your own award-winning professional domestic cleaning care business backed by 30 years of experience as an industry leader sounds like the opportunity for you, contact our friendly franchise sales team on 0116 275 9000 or email franchisesales@servicemaster.co.uk to find opportunities near you.

New Merry Maids business launches in Bedford under industry pro

After years of working in care, a Bedford-based businesswoman is expanding upon her long career in care by opening a home cleaning franchise with Merry Maids UK. 

Mercy Ikeji, who lives and works in Bedfordshire, has recently made great strides towards self-actualisation as a small business owner with the support of the nationwide Merry Maids UK franchise.

Say hello to Merry Maids in Bedford

Wanting to work for herself but not by herself, Mercy bought a business that allows her and the local women she’s worked with over the years to run her company, ‘Dezionite Domiciliary Care’, while delivering a caring and compassionate service to those in the community.

“I have always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit and passion for care,” Mercy says.

“In my youth, I owned multiple businesses, including a cleaning business in my home country, which I started in 2010 and expanded before pursuing MBA studies in the UK.”

“In my years working in cleaning, I always admired the professionalism of the Merry Maids brand, and I eagerly awaited the opportunity to acquire and grow a Merry Maids franchise business.”

About Merry Maids UK

Merry Maids UK is a nationwide domestic cleaning franchise that provides residents across the UK with expert, hassle-free home cleaning and the time to do what matters most to them.

These range from one-off deep cleaning services for end-of-tenancies, builders of home sales, and regular weekly and monthly cleans to help you keep on top of the housework, complete with dusting, hoovering, mopping and window cleaning.

With over 30 years of expertise supporting their local communities with the backing of a multinational brand, Merry Maids UK prides itself on its personalised, caring and compassionate approach to the people it serves.

Mercy’s hopes for Merry Maids Bedford

Mercy brings to her new business a wealth of experience as a trained accountant and business development consultant, with over 13 years of experience launching and expanding businesses.

“My goal is to surpass the success I have achieved with my previous businesses with the Merry Maids franchise in Bedford,” she says.

“I envision a bright future for Merry Maids Bedford, with the potential for exponential growth.

My confidence is bolstered by the strong brand image and the support and training provided by the ServiceMaster franchise.

As such, we aspire to make a positive impact on the cleaning industry and ensure the sustainability of the Merry Maids franchise as we integrate our Dezionite Domiciliary Care services with our new Merry Maids cleaning franchise in Bedford.”

Charity Cleaning Raffle

Informed by her background in care, Mercy would like to commemorate the opening of her new business with a series of charity cleans for those who may be unable to clean their homes for themselves because of illness, circumstance or disability.

If you are or know someone who could benefit from a free cleaning, you can nominate them by submitting your interest via an online submission form.

Contact Us

If running your own professional domestic cleaning care business, backed by 30 years of experience as an industry leader sounds like the opportunity for you, contact our friendly franchise sales team on 0116 275 9000 or email franchisesales@servicemaster.co.uk to find opportunities near you.

Merry Maids Croydon are finalists in prestigious franchise awards for Community Focus

Croydon-based businesswoman Debbie Walker, owner of Merry Maids of Croydon, has made it to the finals of the prestigious 2023 BFA HSBC British Franchise Awards.

Founded in 1977, the British Franchise Association (BFA) is a self-regulating governing body, formed to accredit and promote franchise systems that meet strict ethical and business criteria.

Fighting for her position amongst many other entrants, Debbie Walker is a finalist in the ‘Community Focus’ category.

Debbie Walker bought Merry Maids of Croydon in 2003 after working in sales and marketing for several companies.

Merry Maids of Croydon is service-oriented, but their work has a keen care element.

They see many customers regularly, often going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that they are safe, well, and have someone to talk to, allowing the maids to develop strong relationships with many.

As such, Debbie and her team are deeply enmeshed in their local community.

To Merry Maids of Croydon, bettering a customer’s quality of life involves more than just a clean environment.

Even though the business is not a care franchise, per se, Debbie is proud to run a business that cares.

One that she calls a business with a heart.

Debbie’s work within her community

In the past year, she has taken on a Ukrainian refugee to enable her to stay in the UK, donated enough material during a food bank drive to feed multiple vulnerable families struggling with the cost of living over and beyond the Christmas period, and been paramount in the development of the ongoing nationwide Merry Maids Forget Me Knot Challenge, which has raised over £1300 for Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia Friends in just six weeks.

Kind words

Commenting on the announcement, Debbie said:

“I’m absolutely delighted to be alongside some other great franchisees as a finalist for the Community Focus award.

We work hard every day to make our business count in the local community and give back to the people who we serve, so this recognition means a great deal to us.

Everyone here is so excited for the event and really looking forward to celebrating with all the other finalists soon!”

Pip Wilkins, Chief Executive of the BFA, said:

“We would like to offer our enormous congratulations to all this year’s finalists. We received a huge amount of entries, and it was wonderful to read of all the amazing work being done in the UK franchising sector. We applaud our finalists for their enthusiasm, dedication and tenacity and for continuing to uphold the highest standards of the association.”

UK Head of Franchise, Commercial Banking at sponsors HSBC Bank Gillian Morris said:

“Shortlisting candidates for the HSBC bfa Awards is one of the toughest challenges of the year, once more the candidates were a very high standard, and it was very tough to shortlist just a few entries. I was really impressed at the diversity of entries across brands and sectors, which is a great testament of the strength and reach of the franchise industry. I am looking forward to meeting the finalists and wish them all luck!”

Winners will be announced at a gala black-tie event following the BFA’s annual conference on 9th November 2023.

Want to start your own successful cleaning franchise?

If, like Debbie, you’d like to work with your own team of cleaners to carry out bespoke and professional cleaning services in your local community, get in touch with the Merry Maids franchise sales team today.

By scheduling a discovery session, you can find out if a Merry Maids business could be your perfect fit. Take the first step towards a cleaner, brighter future today by calling 0116 275 9000 or filling out a contact form today.

Merry Maids Award winner Tom Jackson shares his secrets for franchising success

We sat down with Tom Jackson of Merry Maids of Dudley, who was recently awarded the coveted Merry Maids Recognition Award.

The Merry Maids Awards are back!

And they spelt victory for Merry Maids of Dudley owner Tom Jackson.

Why?

Well, not only has Tom, who is celebrating 20 years in business and the acquisition of new territory in Stafford, but he is also the proud winner of the prestigious Recognition Award.

The award is a credit to Tom’s hard work, dedication and commitment to the Merry Maids brand and his business and staff.

Merry Maids Brand Leader, Vikki Donnachie, said when presenting Tom with his award.

“[Tom] always has a smile on his face and is always there to support not only his team but his peers too. He’s very supportive and works really hard, showing commitment to his team members, including inviting them to Merry Maids events and meetings. Despite some challenges, his positivity, passion, and desire to grow are always at the forefront of his mind.”

She added, “He also often gives me a call from time to time just to see how I’m doing. Which I think says everything about him.”

Following his win, we sat down with Tom to discuss what it meant to him and to share his secrets for success.

Congratulations on your award! How does it feel to be a Merry Maids Award winner?

“Really great! It’s fantastic to be recognised by ServiceMaster and the network of Merry Maids and receive the first recognition award.

In the 20 years since I started Merry Maids of Dudley, I have tried to look forwards and help Merry Maids head office by making sure I attend all the regional and marketing meetings, be a part of the Merry Maids representation at head office and also make sure where possible I help out other newer franchisees.”

Have you done anything to celebrate your win?

“As we have recently purchased the Stafford and Shropshire area, it is a manic time for us looking at recruitment for those two licences.

But I have a senior staff meeting planned this month where I will ensure I thank my team for their help and support.”

How did your staff react to your win?

“The team thought it was well deserved as they can see the effort we put into our business and helping other Merry Maids throughout the network.”

In your view, what has been the basis of your recent success?

“I think the success is down to my drive to be the biggest and best Merry Maids in the UK.

And my desire to keep growing and pushing the limits of a Merry Maids business in the country.

The team have taken on board my ethos and desire to grow and be successful.”

Do you think being a franchise business has played a part in your success?

“The benefit of running a franchise is the individuals behind each licence area. We all come into Merry Maids franchising with different backgrounds and knowledge. The biggest asset is sharing that between fellow franchisees.

We are never in competition with each other. The shared knowledge and ideas are vital to making my area and business successful and profitable.”

How do you plan to keep up this momentum going forward?

“I have high targets and expectations for 2023 and healthy growth plans for my Merry Maids licences.

The senior staff in each area know their targets and my goals for the business.”

What advice do you have for newer Merry Maids franchisees looking to achieve success?

“Think big.

It’s not about customer number 1 or 100. Think big, keep expanding and take your team on the journey.

Share success and anything that didn’t work: we are all part of the same family of brands and want to grow together.”

Want to start your own successful cleaning franchise?

If, like Tom, you’d like to work with your own team of cleaners to carry out bespoke and professional cleaning services in your local community, get in touch with the Merry Maids franchise sales team today.

By scheduling a discovery session, you can find out if a Merry Maids business could be your perfect fit. Take the first step towards a cleaner, brighter future today by calling 0116 275 9000 or filling out a contact form today.

Merry Maids UK kicks off Forget Me Knot Challenge in aid of dementia charities

Learn more about Merry Maids UK’s Forget Me Knot Challenge for Dementia Friends.

With over 850,000 people in the UK estimated to be living with dementia right now, we have likely all experienced the impact of dementia in some capacity at one time or another, with research suggesting it will affect 1 in 2 people in our lifetimes.

This means that, at Merry Maids UK, we regularly encounter clients and family struggling or living with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

As such, we have been a long-time supporter of the charity Dementia Friends (which is a subset of Alzheimer’s Society).

Who are Dementia Friends?

Dementia Friends is an initiative that trains businesses and organisations and the people who work for them in the right ways to interact with people with dementia.

Merry Maids UK began working alongside Dementia Friends in 2014 when a friend of Debbie Walker, the owner of Merry Maids of Croydon, started looking into the charity whilst researching for her PhD on the health of older adults.

Our duty of care to our customers is something we value deeply, so we jumped at the chance to receive training from Dementia Friends to aid our cleans.

Soon, we were becoming dementia friends nationwide.

What is the Forget Me Knot Challenge?

This year, we wanted to do more.

That’s why we have created the Forget Me Knot Challenge.

Alzheimer’s Society is represented by the forget me not, a small blue flower that has long been associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia due to its effects of memory loss.

This is a sponsored virtual relay in which staff and owners from Merry Maids businesses across the UK will run, walk, or cycle the equivalent total mileage between each Merry Maids UK business, tying them together and raising funds for Dementia Friends/ Alzheimer’s Society: creating the Forget Me Knot.

How to support us?

With the challenge now underway, our businesses will cover 335 miles each to raise money over the coming months.

To support us, please visit our Just Giving page to donate online.

Discover the value of a network that cares

If you’d like to join a franchise network of like-minded business owners working to make the world a better place in an industry with endless growth opportunities, contact our friendly franchise sales team today on 0116 275 9000 to find available territories near you.

Father’s Day: Spotlighting Merry Maids Sutton Coldfield

We sat down with Merry Maids Sutton Coldfield for Father’s Day.

In honour of Father’s Day – we’re spotlighting the father/daughter business Merry Maids Sutton Coldfield – co-owned by Helen Bielby and Becky Hewitt – but has been in Helen’s family for many years.

Helen’s father still works within the business and so the pair still enjoy sharing their professional lives as father and daughter.

We spoke to Helen about what it was like to work with her father and the history of this particular family business.

The history

In August 1980, a month before Helen was born, both of Helen’s parents were made redundant around the same time.

“They decided to create their own destiny, get out of engineering and purchase a franchise pooling their redundancy money,” Helen says.

They purchased a ServiceMaster franchise – ServiceMaster North Birmingham – which included both the ServiceMaster Restore and ServiceMaster Clean brands under one umbrella.

The business was a family affair, with Helen, her brother, and Nan helping out doing the cleaning.

Her dad ran to the physical side of the business, whilst her mum handled the running and operation.

“ServiceMaster was run from home until 1999 – (ironically when I left home!) so we had no choice but to be part of the business from a young age,” Helen jokes.

“From cleaning fire-damaged items in our back garden to cleaning hotels, cleaning up flooded or fire-damaged homes with our Dad, Mom, Nan etc or dropping leaflets – me and my brother did it all – and occasionally got our pocket money too!”

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 found herself having to handle both businesses.

They found Becky Hewitt, who was working part-time as in conveyancing at a solicitor’s office.

Helen and Becky hit it off from the start and “became best friends very, very quickly”.

When, in 2011, Helen’s dad decided he wanted to sell the Merry Maids, business, he suggested that Helen and Becky take it over together.

Helen says her family experience and the skills passed down by her dad stood her in great stead to manage the business and that she knew from years of experience that being a part of a ServiceMaster franchise and the Merry Maids was a no-brainer:

“My dad has taught me lots – how to deal with customers, how to work hard and most importantly to have a good brain for numbers!

“I know the brand so well I wouldn’t have thought to look elsewhere – the solidarity the other franchisees have with each other is also very important.”

Helen and Becky have now been running it for the last 13 years alongside working other jobs and raising young children.

Helen says that being a multi-generational business owner is very important to her and the fabric of the business.

“ServiceMaster has been a part of my life since I was a month old – I’m 42 now and very proud to continue to uphold our family traditions of providing reliable and professional cleaning services.”

As a parent herself, we asked Helen if she is hoping to leave a legacy behind for future generations.

“I don’t know to be honest,” she says.

“My children are too young right now – but both the 6-year-old and 4-year-old do love to clean so who knows what their future may be!”

Want to run your own franchise business?

If, like Helen, you’d like to operate your own successful cleaning business to help serve homes and people in your local community, get in touch with our franchise sales team today on 0116 275 9000.

Merry Maids Bromley donate Easter eggs to Dandelion Time

Spreading Easter cheer and chocolate.
Over Easter, Richard Wall and his team at Merry Maids Bromley and Orpington partnered with Reed Employment to donate chocolate eggs to Dandelion Time.
Richard, who has previously engaged in other charity work, such as running the Cambridge Half Marathon to raise money for Dementia Friends, says he and his business are always looking for ways to help charities that do vital work, like Dandelion Time.

“We are always glad to support charities and help [wherever possible].”

Due to Richard’s first-hand experiences earlier in his career, supporting children’s mental health for him was a no-brainer.

Hence when Reed contacted him about Dandelion Time, Richard was more than happy to help.

Dandelion Time

Dandelion Time is a charity local to Richard’s area.

Their mission is to support children in Kent who have suffered traumatic experiences like neglect or domestic abuse.

According to Dandelion Time,

“Health, education and social care services face huge financial pressures and aren’t always the right solution for children with [mental health and trauma] issues: Dandelion Time fills this gap.”

Over the last 20 years, they have brought lasting change to over 1,000 families through their unique therapeutic approach focusing on the great outdoors.

At Dandelion Time, families take part in a ten-week programme.

During this time, they work with experts, nature, crafts and families to get the time and space they need to recover and be the children they deserve – without trauma and distress.

Donating Eggs

We all know that as much as the time off is much appreciated, the holidays are the best for children.

Especially when there’s plenty of chocolate to seek out and snack on.

That’s why, in partnership with Reed Employment, Richard and Merry Maids Bromley and Orpington donated Easter Eggs to Dandelion Time so the children in their care could share in the spirit and have some chocolate eggs this Easter.

Find out more

If, like Richard, you would like to run a business that allows you to engage with your local community, get in touch with our friendly franchise sales team on 0116 275 9000 to find out about opportunities in your area.

Celebrating 20 years of success at Merry Maids Fylde and Blackpool

The team at Merry Maids Fylde & Blackpool are celebrating their 20th anniversary.

It’s been all smiles and celebration at Merry Maids Fylde and Blackpool as business owner Nicola Morris and her team of cleaning experts celebrate the 20th anniversary of the business.

About Merry Maids Fylde and Blackpool

Nicky Morris established Merry Maids Fylde and Blackpool in 2002 after moving to the area with her husband and young child.

Following a career in the corporate world, Nicky knew she wanted to do something for herself.

And when reflecting on her own experience of struggling to find quality and reliable home cleaning, she recognised that first-rate cleaning services were in short supply.

Knowing there was a need for cleaning services, Nicky started her Merry Maids business and has provided first-class and professional domestic cleaning services in Fylde, Blackpool, Lytham St Annes, Kirkham, Poulton le Fylde, Thornton Cleveleys and Freckleton ever since.

Celebrating 20 years

To celebrate her 20th anniversary, Nicky held a surprise party for her team. And what do you need for a good surprise party? Commemorative Merry Maids cupcakes and balloons, of course!

 

This was a lovely opportunity to socialise, spend time together as a team and ensure all of the new staff who recently joined the Merry Maids Fylde and Blackpool family could get to know everyone.

Giving back

Nicky says she also wanted to give back to the people who made her time in business special: her staff and customers.

To say thank you to her customers, Nicky and her team delivered Merry Maids cupcakes to everyone they cleaned for that day.

And for two extra-special customers who have been loyal Merry Maids Fylde and Blackpool supporters for Nicky’s 20 years in business, the team delivered bouquets as a token of their gratitude.

One of these customers, from Lytham St Annes, started using Merry Maids as cover for a previous cleaner’s absence and is still with us two decades later!

“I first used Merry Maids 20 years ago for full house spring cleans or as cover for my cleaner’s holiday and was always delighted with the results,” she says.

“When I was looking later for a replacement cleaner, I chose Merry Maids as a regular replacement – and I have been with them ever since.

It was a sensible choice, as holidays or other absences were always covered, so the cleaning is done regardless of circumstances.”

We’ve been with this customer through changes in their life and have supported them by customising our services seamlessly.

“When our daughters were still living at home, the visits were weekly. But as they flew the nest and our needs changed, we adjusted schedules to fortnightly.

Ad hoc changes were readily accommodated – a few more hours before and after Christmas and reduced hours if necessary when we were away.”

“It is lovely to come back home after the ladies have been – the house is always clean and tidy,” she says.

And over this time, they have built up a lasting relationship with the team:

“If we are at home when they visit, we enjoy a quick catch-up whilst they crack on.

[The maids] are reliable, hardworking, trustworthy and cheery.”

And “A particular well done and thank you to Debbie, my ‘regular’ Merry Maid,” she adds.

As the anniversary was in December, Nicky participated in the spirit of the season by taking on the role of St Nicky and giving her staff a £20 Morrisons gift card each to mark each of the years they’ve been in business.

That way, the staff could choose to use it for fuel, Christmas food shopping, or to treat themselves!

Nicky says the anniversary was “the highlight of the year” and was thrilled to celebrate her achievement with her team.

“Celebrating 20 years in business is a fantastic achievement, not only for myself but all the dedicated people who have worked for Merry Maids along the way and all our lovely loyal customers who continue to support us.

I put our success down to being lovely, trustworthy people who care about doing the best we can for our customers – at the highest standard of cleaning.”

Want to start your own cleaning franchise?

If, like Nicky, you’d like to work with your own team of cleaners to carry out bespoke and professional cleaning services in your local community, get in touch with the Merry Maids franchise sales team today.

By scheduling a discovery session, you can find out if a Merry Maids business could be your perfect fit. Take the first step towards a cleaner, brighter future today by calling 0116 275 9000 or filling out a contact form today.

What our franchisees love about Merry Maids

Merry Maids Franchisees share the love this Valentine’s Day.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Merry Maids Franchise!

It’s a day for sharing the love, whether with your significant other, your friends and family, or just indulging in your passions.

In the spirit of focusing on the things you love, we’ve been speaking to some of our franchisees about what they love about Merry Maids.

What our business owners love about Merry Maids

Merry Maids of Croydon

Debbie Walker, the owner of Merry Maids of Croydon, says that she loves that Merry Maids is a people-orientated business, meaning that she gets to work with people all day long and within ever-changing dynamics.

She says she takes great pride in building positive relationships with staff and customers.

From celebrating life events with staff like birthdays and anniversaries to developing a rapport with clients and providing care and support to vulnerable clients with dementia and other illnesses, people are at the heart of what we do.

Through providing bespoke and top-quality services and through local initiatives like a Food Drive for a local charity, Debbie has formed a business with a heart that supports her staff and those in need and shares in the day-to-day: what life is all about.

Lynne, the Office Administrator at Merry Maids of Croydon, adds that she loves everything about Merry Maids and that it would be hard to single any particular thing out.

But she notes she loves the variety that Merry Maids brings to her routine and being amongst the company of the team’s friendly staff.

Merry Maids Fylde and Blackpool:

Having spent 30 years building a thriving cleaning business, Nicola Morris from Merry Maids Fylde and Blackpool seconds this, saying she loves working as part of a network of like-minded business owners across the UK who support one another in running their businesses.

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

Merry Maids Dudley, Wolverhampton and Stafford:

Tom Jackson from Merry Maids Dudley and Wolverhampton and Stafford agrees, saying what he loves about his Merry Maids business is the support from our network:

“The best thing about being a franchisee is the support and teamwork you get from the other people in your network.

Whether 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.

Borrowing ideas from Bill in Inverness or asking Nicky in Blackpool what she is doing about a particular issue is invaluable.”

Want to run a business that you love?

If you’d like to join a thriving franchise network of like-minded business owners who love what they do, in an industry with endless growth opportunities, get in touch with our friendly franchise sales team today on 0116 275 9000 to find available opportunities near you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Merry Maids Croydon’s festive food bank drive

Merry Maids Croydon has partnered with local charity Reedham Children’s trust as part of a food bank collection drive this Christmas.

Christmas is the season of giving, but it’s also a difficult time for many, particularly as the people of the UK face increasing hardships from rising energy bills and the cost of living. That’s why Debbie Walker and the team at Merry Maids Croydon have partnered with Reedham Children’s Trust as part of a drive to support their local food bank.

Debbie Walker, the owner of Merry Maids Croydon said she was delighted to be able to work with Reedham Trust to provide support to her community during this time,

“There can be no doubt that we are living in difficult and uncertain times. But we don’t have to face them alone. By working together, we can make a real difference and improve the lives of the people in our communities.”

Reedham Children’s Trust

Reedham Children’s Trust began as an orphanage in 1844, and since then has grown into a pillar of the community in Croydon, providing support to children and schools in the local area through initiatives like the ‘Achieving More’ project.

It’s no secret that Christmas is a special time for children in particular. Unfortunately, many children in the UK may miss out on the bare essentials like food and toiletries.

As the Reedham Trust puts it,

“The cost-of-living crisis will impact the poorest households the most, many will have to choose between food or heating, and for some families, they won’t have either. By partnering with Merry Maids Croydon, we hope to provide vulnerable families with enough food to see them through the winter months.”

How Merry Maids Croydon is helping

Until the 30th of November, the team at Merry Maid’s Croydon is asking staff and customers to spread a little extra festive charity by donating:

  • Tinned Vegetables
  • Pasta and Pasta Sauce
  • Tinned Meals
  • UHT Milk
  • Cereal
  • Soap and Shower Gel

Donations will be collected from clients across Croydon in our handy Merry Maids bags and distributed to children and families in need around the Croydon area by the Reedham Trust. Merry Maids Croydon will then also be matching any client donations, so please give as much as you can!

Getting started

As you can see, the donations are already pouring in, with many of our customers from Croydon and the surrounding areas already donating what they can since the drive was announced last month on the Merry Maids of Croydon Facebook page.

Get involved

Make sure you’re following the Facebook page to keep up to date with our donations and track what items are needed the most as we get closer to Christmas.

And if you are local to the Croydon area, get in touch with Debbie, and the rest of the Croydon team today by calling 020 8663 3268 or emailing croydon@merrymaids.org.uk to see how you can help out.

Interested in joining the Merry Maids network?

If you would like to work within your local community carrying out domestic cleaning services for those who need a little extra helping hand, get in touch with the ServiceMaster Brands UK franchise sales team to find out more about opportunities near you today.

Merry Maids Sutton Coldfield wins BNI Award

Helen Bielby from Merry Maids of Sutton Coldfield has won a networking award from the BNI in her area.

About the BNI

The BNI (Business Network International) is the largest business networking organisation in the world, with multiple chapters around the world that span a variety of industries in a vast network. Each chapter in the UK holds seats for around 20 business owners, each representing a different sector. Membership in BNI offers members access to business training, peer learning and opportunities to network and do business with hundreds of thousands of BNI members around the world. Each group in the UK meets once a week to network and discuss happenings in the businesses.

Merry Maids & BNI Partnership 

This August, our very own Helen Bielby from Merry Maids Sutton Coldfield joined her local BNI Premier chapter to represent the cleaning industry on referral from the occupier of the charity seat who represents the Buddy Bag Foundation. The setup of the network is designed to allow members to bring in new business through referrals, which are logged in an app that allows members to see direct links to new business. Helen and Merry Maids Sutton Coldfield have received some recent business via referral from the network’s printing company, for example.

Helen says that although she had visited the chapter as a visitor, she was unsure about how the different businesses would work together, particularly as the referrals would be for vastly different industries a lot of the time. However, in practice, she has been pleasantly surprised by the results. She says that being part of the chapter, even for just a couple of months, has made her realise that she is part of a further-reaching business community than she had thought. She says that even just attending the meetings has been beneficial in seeing how other members of this community run their businesses and are dealing with the same challenges that are currently facing small businesses across the UK like the cost of living crisis.

“For all small businesses, it’s a difficult time,” she says. “Whether it’s an insurance broker or a wine importer, we can see how other people are coping, you know you’re not alone.”

Having already brought in an estate agent, Helen says she is now “Really hopeful that we’re going to work more to get referrals, the group is always expanding further. I’m looking forward to meeting new people and seeing what we can do for each other,” she says. And historically, BNI businesses can do a lot for each other, with their “UK and Ireland members [generating] over £429m of business between them” in the last 12 months.

The BNI Awards

Held as part of one of their recent meetings, the BNI awards recognised the efforts put in by its chapter members for a variety of areas. Helen was surprised to take home the Notable Networker award as recognition of the noticeable growth that she has managed to bring to the network in just the past two months, especially as it has helped her feel more connected to her local community.

“I’m really pleased to win the award after only being a member for a couple of months,” Helen says. “It proves we do know people, and we’re really interested in getting to know other businesses who might want to come and work with us.”

As Helen says, the BNI meetings are a real commitment, particularly because each meeting takes place first thing on a Thursday morning! But she knows that not only will she reap the rewards for her business, but also that it has helped her feel more involved in her local community of other small businesses and find “her small business tribe,” as she describes it.

This has also given Helen a great opportunity to promote her business through other channels, as she has been using it as an opportunity to promote the new online shop that is now running at Merry Maids Sutton Coldfield, which allows customers to book a range of domestic cleaning services from Helen and her team with the press of a button.

Looking for a change of career?

Do you like the sound of a job that allows you to run your own business and get involved in your local community? We’re always looking to expand our network of around 100 franchises in the UK. At ServiceMaster Brands UK, our franchises (including Merry Maids UK) allow every one of our franchisees up and down the country to be in business for themselves, but not by themselves. By joining our franchise network, you’ll receive all the support you need to grow a thriving business in the ever-expanding cleaning industry.

Starting from scratch can be daunting. But with a Merry Maids franchise, you don’t have to. Our business model has ensured that over the 35 years that we’ve been in business, we’ve grown into one of the UK’s leading domestic cleaning brands. It also means that after a comprehensive training academy, all of our new business owners can hit the ground running as soon as they open their doors for business.

We support all of our franchisees with marketing, PR, social media, uniforms, van wraps, products and cleaning supplies and much more. To learn more about how we could support you on your journey to becoming a highly profitable cleaning business, take a look around our website or book a discovery session with our friendly franchise sales team today.

Merry Maids Croydon & the menopause

How Debbie Walker from Merry Maids Croydon has been supporting her staff through a new menopause policy.

Successful Mums is a London-based organisation funded by mayor Sadiq Khan that provides support to working mums in the area. Recently, Merry Maids of Croydon has partnered with Successful Mums to develop staff policies and training after business owner Debbie Walker spotted an advert on a local notice board. Since then, Debbie has received support in business management, flexible working, and policy making.

Debbie knew that due to the nature of her staff, it was vital to draft a health policy specifically to support her staff working during menopause and perimenopause. So, with the support of both Successful Mums and Wirehouse Employer Services, Debbie has worked to take account of existing menopause policies already in law and offered a range of bespoke support to her staff. She says the goal when developing was to ensure that work undertaken by her staff is manageable and that any menopause symptoms are not worsened as a result of their work. She also wanted to continue to develop a culture of understanding and openness around menopause so that the women working for Merry Maids Croydon can ask for support and speak confidently about this issue without embarrassment, all whilst treating them with dignity and respect.

As the no-nonsense named “The Menopause Charity” highlights, “Your experience of menopause is unique to you, which is the main reason why there’s so much confusion about symptoms and treatment.” This means that providing adequate legislation and policy around it can be tricky. That’s why support from organisations like Successful Mums can be vital for businesses like Merry Maids Croydon in helping do right by their staff. As a result, of the varying experiences of menopause, the Croydon policy treats staff on a case-by-case basis whilst providing in a range of areas.

The new menopause policy provides

  • Flexible work arrangements such as adjustments to working hours
  • Hybrid working patterns
  • Adjustments to workplace procedures and processes
  • Prohibiting the need for extensive travel or manual handling
  • Facilities or areas for keeping cool
  • Fresh, cold water is available at all times
  • Providing desk fans if requested
  • Ability to take comfort breaks when needed
  • Ability to attend medical appointments in line with Company procedure
  • One-to-one support from managers
  • Deadline/task reminders from managers if requested which may include extended deadlines
  • Information and signposting to relevant organisations

Note: This list is not exhaustive

Treating workers with respect and dignity also means that this policy does not deny staff their agency, and all workers are still responsible for looking after their health and helping to further foster and maintain an open and caring work environment in which staff support themselves and one another.

Want more info?

Are you looking for more information about menopause at home and work? There are lots of brilliant resources that can help you learn more. Such as, but not limited to:

Looking for a change of career?

We’re always looking to expand our network of around 100 franchises in the UK. At ServiceMaster Brands UK, our franchises (including Merry Maids UK) allow every one of our franchisees up and down the country to be in business for themselves, but not by themselves. By joining our franchise network, you’ll receive all the support you need to grow a thriving business in the ever-expanding cleaning industry. Giving you the ability to run your own team, with the support of a world-renowned franchisor behind you.

Starting from scratch can be daunting. But with a Merry Maids franchise, you don’t have to. Our business model has ensured that over the 35 years that we’ve been in business, we’ve grown into one of the UK’s leading domestic cleaning brands. It also means that after a comprehensive training academy, all of our new business owners can hit the ground running as soon as they open their doors for business.

We support all of our franchisees with marketing, policy, PR, social media, uniforms, van wraps, products and cleaning supplies and much more. To learn more about how we could support you on your journey to becoming a highly profitable cleaning business, take a look around our website or book a discovery session with our friendly franchise sales team today.

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 the women of Merry Maids UK.

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 – Merry Maids Tyneside:

Sue Smith has owned Merry Maids Tyneside for 28 years now. Before this, she worked in payroll for Safeway’s.

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,” she says.

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 doing 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,” she says.

Nicola Morris – 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 researched franchises, and having spoken to other Merry Maids 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, in her own words: “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. Having a business and building it up, its blood, sweat, and tears that you put into it.

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 – Merry Maids Sutton Coldfield:

Helen Bielby has a personal history with ServiceMaster and Merry Maids.

In the early 1980s, 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, but says the support from ServiceMaster helped her through it:

“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.

We had to keep going. 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 in my 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,” Helen recalls.

The pair met, and hit it off from the start.

“We became best friends very, very quickly,” says Helen.

“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 – 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,” she says.

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 both the businesswoman and mum she wants.

“I can be the mum I want to be, and I have the work that I enjoy, she says.

“And 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 in 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 her 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,” Beccy recalls.

“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.

Find out more

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.

We hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about the women that make up the Merry Maid’s network.

If you’d like to join a network of supportive and like-minded business owners and get a fresh start running your own domestic cleaning business, get in touch with our friendly franchise recruitment team to learn more about 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