Sarah Kershaw, Molly Maid franchisee and winner of the firm’s Best Newcomer award, details life as a franchisee and the benefit of being backed by such a well-known household brand…
Having had enough of working in the “stressful and uninspiring” world of accounting, Molly Maid franchisee, Sarah Kershaw, took the plunge and became a business owner in 2019.
Since then, through her hard work and support of Molly Maid, she has firmly established her business and been part of the post pandemic boom in home cleaning services. She says: “Since I started, Molly Maid has been ahead of the curve when analysing market conditions and trends, and ensuring we had the tools we need.”
“Home cleaning demand has soared post Covid, as the pandemic has brought the importance of hygiene and cleanliness to the forefront of minds. Molly Maid has helped me to take advantage of this trend by creating the HomeSafe cleaning system (and marketing it well) which provided customers with the reassurance required.
“Support Office has also provided welcome guidance on marketing methods, areas to target and emphasised the importance of investing in a good marketing mix (ie both online and offline marketing activity) to drive more customer enquiries.”
There’s a great deal of autonomy in running the business but a steep learning curve to overcome as well, she adds: “Having the judgement and experience to price cleans right, to ensure that we provide good value for money, yet remain profitable, has been hugely important. Especially because I didn’t have any cleaning experience. It has been a definite learning curve.” But already the business is expanding to a fourth cleaning route and Kershaw has another in her sights after that.
“I want to fill this route by the middle of next year and establish a fifth route before the end of 2023. I am also keen to expand by purchasing new postcode areas in the next year or so.”
The key, if you want to grow the business, is to look after your staff, she says: “I strive to be as fair as I can be at all times, and ensure staff feel valued and respected. I love the team spirit we have. We all work hard and pitch in to help when colleagues are struggling or off sick. This means we never have to cancel cleans, and many of our customers say that this reliability is one of the reasons they are prepared to pay a premium for a Molly Maid clean.”
For many, running a business like Molly Maid is as much a lifestyle choice as it is about money and she enjoys the flexibility it affords her as a young mother.
“I am very busy during the working day, but I have the flexibility to be there for my daughter when needed, which is what I had hoped to achieve by running my own business.”
Her success has seen her smash sales targets by almost a third in the first year alone and doing so allowed her to win the organisation’s Best Newcomer of the Year award.
“By the end of my second year, I was proud to beat my year two sales targets by a whopping 54%. It’s given me so much belief and confidence in our service and brand that we can survive anything and continue to grow.”
Alongside the autonomy of being your own boss and running your own operation, Kershaw says the strength of the Molly Maid brand makes it easier to, literally, open doors for the business.
“Many customers tell me they feel reassured that it is a nationally recognised name for high standard cleaning. Whilst visiting customers for quotes, I have heard many horror stories of bad experiences with less established cleaners, mainly surrounding damage being done to the home, and the cleaner having no insurance in place.
Customers tell me they value the accountability that a large brand provides. This, coupled with the personal service of a locally owned and managed business, really does give people the best of both worlds.”