The Maids Franchise Startup Failure
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Last Revision 12-31-15
You just discovered the most important resource you will locate during your investigation of feasibility of investing in a The Maids Franchise and receiving rewards consistent with your expectations. Any information requested about our failed attempt to start a The Maids Franchise will be provided because we do not want others to commit to becoming a The Maids Franchisee without being totally informed of potential pitfalls. If you prefer confidentiality anything we discuss will not be shared. On request totally free of charge you will be provided monthly P&Ls, information on profitability performance and any other specific information you feel you need to intelligently analyze whether you should invest in this opportunity. You don't have to read any further. Simply write to me at email@example.com and describe your request.
While researching The Maids, we spent a bunch of time trying to locate negative information about The Maids without success. Maybe it wasn't available at that time but information at Unhappy Franchisee surely pose interesting questions now at http://www.unhappyfranchisee.com/the-maids-franchise-blatantly-dishonest/.
One very important observation is The Maids Franchises Do Not Fail they just go away. Even if you are already committed to starting a franchise, we can provide helpful advise about preparation for exit. We lost our butts financially but were able to avoid negative credit ratings because we have not defaulted on one single commitment. In addition to losing over $300,000 of our personal money for the next 5 years we will make monthly payment of around $2000 on an SBA Loan constituting a cumulative loss of over half a million dollars. The key point to embrace is you can fail, you may lose a pile of money and if you aren't careful you could be destroyed financially. I don't know how a prospective franchisee can be better equipped than us and we went down like the Titanic. We had experience starting a successful business, experience in the corporate world, we are educated, bought a very large territory located in the part of Houston which is growing at a high rate, couldn't have been more dedicated and were prepared to spend a very large sum of money but we failed. If we were going to start over today, we don't know about anything we could change which would turn the dismal failure into success. To me personally, that is a scary situation.
Let's start with an analogy. I like analogies because the approach has a way of making concepts crystal clear. Do you remember the first time you went to the Midway of a County Fair? I clearly recall the first time I saw the game booths and prizes offered for completing relatively simple feats. How in the world could the operators afford to run his business this way? The game operator even completed the simple feats himself to show that it could be accomplished by anyone. Fortunately I was a poor kid and didn't have the dime or quarter required for playing the games so I watched other attempt to win the great prizes. For some reason, although the required task was easily completed time after time the required number of times by the game operator, contestants just couldn't put a winning combination together. If three balls were required in the basket, contestants would get two and after encouragement by the game operator would try several more times before giving up. After watching one game for half an hour or so I went on down the midway and started observing a different contest. The situation was the same. The operator of the game showed just how easy it was to complete the required feat but the contestants couldn't perform in the same manner. The lesson, which I should have learned but obviously failed miserably, was "if it seems too good to be true it probably is not something you can accomplish". Today as I reflect on our experience with The Maids International I feel like I returned to the County Fair but this time I had money - at least when I arrived.
If you are considering purchasing and operating a The Maids franchise, you should enter the activity fully aware of our experience and clearly appreciating all potential outcomes. Perhaps you are more talented than we or maybe your territory will be more conducive to success but your due diligence will not be properly completed without a thorough review of our experiences. How much will a little investigation cost? We will communicate via email, phone or in person because everything reported is fact. If information falls into the category of "opinion", it will be clearly indicated. If you allow yourself to be discouraged about contacting us based on the information TMI provided about us, you will be making a huge mistake. What do you expect them to say when someone is attempting to inform people about a catastrophic failure of one of their franchises? Surely you don't expect "oh they were the most dedicated and talented owners in our history". I seriously doubt you will hear those words.
In my opinion, The Maids operates like a Robin Hood in reverse. They facilitate taking from the "not so well off" and giving to the "well off". The "not so well off" could very easily be you in less than two years. At that point, as the wolf is at the door, when you are looking at how to close the business, you will probably notice for the first time that the arrangement for "selling" your business has been constructed in a manner that makes the probability of the buyer being a current franchise operator very high. Since the buying franchise owner is also well aware of the structure, you will be offered next to nothing for things like territories that costs you a pile of money. Your next revelation will be that you are required to provide TMI a customer list even if you shutdown your business. You don't have to be a mental giant to realize that it is in TMI's best interest to provide the list to another franchisee. Bottom line, you can take the pittance you will be offered for the business or just run it into the ground but the end result will be the same. The result of all the money you spent and your hard work will be transferred to another franchise owner. TMI won't miss a single royalty payment for sales and the other franchisee's business will grow significantly. It is all spelled out in your franchise agreement but most buying franchises don't read that information closely because they have no intention of failing.
Information contained on this site is simply documentation of our experience with supporting information for theories about why various aspects of the startup attempt failed. We do not intend to imply anything negative about The Maids (TMI) or their Franchise System but do want to report facts. If we can prevent just one person from entering into the agreement without being fully aware of all potential outcomes, our objective will have been met. People do purchase The Maids franchises and succeed and some fail. We did not enter into the agreement blindly. Due diligence was performed thoroughly (we thought being unaware of Kool Aid Drinkers) and we were convinced that buying the franchise was a decision that could not end poorly when backed with appropriate financial resources and adequate personal effort. We thought that since we were equipped with plenty of money, experienced in business startups, educated and totally devoted to success, success would surely happen. It did not.
When we attended Discovery Day (if you don't know yet that is the visit to the Omaha headquarters where The Maids decides whether you are allowed to purchase a franchise) we were sold a "dream". Colin said "franchises are handed down from father to son" and it sounded like the opportunity of a lifetime. Eighteen months later, we know that we were sold a dream but we bought a nightmare. Almost half a million dollars are gone, we are totally and completely exhausted after a period of the hardest work of our lives and we were not able push the business past break even for a sustained period. Perhaps the best description of the experience came from my wife Marlene who said "it sucks all the joy out of life".
One thing that convinced us that we made a bad decision involved conversation with another franchisee who opened for business over 5 years ago. Like us he anticipated completing the startup phase in a reasonable amount of time and reaching a point where he could afford to hire people to handle most of the day to day activities. He invested over $400,000 and is still working long hours every day for minimal reward. His comment to me during February of 2014 was "I guess I would do it again if I could start over". That does not reflect the enthusiasm perceived from owners before we signed the agreement. In an email received during June of 2014 he said "By the way I started the business with my wife and daughter in law. The daughter in law was very helpful in the roll-out and stayed for 9 months before deciding the cleaning biz was not for her. But she did do a great job training the first team and getting our quality standards up initially. Two years ago I brought another son and his wife into the biz. That lasted 3 months." The important point here is being able to keep the business open doesn't necessarily mean you "won". This franchisee remains in business working much harder than he would in the public sector for compensation far below that received working for a real company. If you only have half a million dollars accumulated as a result of a lifetime of hard work and you invest all that and more in a The Maids franchise, you reach the point were quitting simply is not an option. You have so much work and money invested that you can't stop. In my opinion that situation is more like a "sentence" for committing a crime than success. I guess you could say it has a "Tar Baby Effect".
We asked for and received recommendations about Franchisees to contact and didn't talk with a single person who had anything but very positive comments about the franchise and all felt that their decision to purchase a The Maids Franchise was one of the most positive and important choices of their lives. Unfortunately we only talked to Kool Aid Drinkers.
During February of 2014, Marlene visited the South Houston Franchise to share Marketing concepts and while there the owner received a call from a person considering purchasing a franchise. When the call ended he commented "I get those calls all the time. Are you bothered with inquiries from potential buyers?" She found the question interesting because we never, ever received even one call from anyone considering purchasing a franchise during the preceding 18 months. There must be some reason? I guess someone knows we are not "Tea Sippers".
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For your convenience, a summary version will be presented followed by a detailed presentation including supporting facts. The index of the site is also presented as a site map. Please feel free to contact us via email or by phone at any time. Any discussions will occur in total confidence and will not be shared with anyone. Email should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org and my cell number is 281-685-4930. If you send an email and donít receive a reply, please resend or text me at the indicated number and I will attempt to located the email. I do not ignore people and if you send an email which is received, it will be answered.
Summary of experience
The Saga - Detailed Account Of Franchise Startup Failure
Is Molly Maids Equivalent To The Maids?
Demands of Managing Operation
Hourly Manpower Problems
Professional Manpower Difficulties - Field Managers
Franchises Do Not Fail - They Just "Go Away"
Need Money - Find An Angel
Selling The Business
Owner QualificationsSuccess Motivation