The Maids Franchise Startup Failure

Kool Aid Drinkers

Now we think one of the reasons we didn't find people who were less than enthusiastic about their choice to purchase and operate a The Maids franchise was we were talking to "Kool Aid Drinkers".  The phenomenon is difficult to perceive and embrace.   As we proceeded through the process of losing half a million dollars and almost killing ourselves physically, some understanding of the situation was gained.  I guess the most simple description is "tar baby effect".  As we became totally immersed in the task of making the business succeed, we lost perspective on everything else.  After pouring all that money into the thing, I was out trying to find someone dumb enough to loan us more money.  I say "dumb" because if you are not knocking on the door of success after expending that much money and effort a fundamental flaw must exist.  Now it could be in the people attempting to start the business, in the territory selected, workforce hired or I suppose a multitude of other contributions but something fundamentally must be "wrong".  The important point is we couldn't see that fact. 

We bought the franchise after doing our best to educate ourselves about the system and experiences of others and entered the activity backed by more money than we ever thought would be necessary but we were failing.  Now when one finds one's self in that position, only a couple of choices exist.  The first is to admit to yourself that you made a bad decision and are failing but the easier choice is to "stay the course".  As long as you can find any way to fund the thing, keep on plugging.  As long as you are trying you haven't failed and we do not like failing.  As franchise owners struggle to start the businesses, they become associated with other franchise owners.  Obviously some will have become successful and the others who are not doing well are surely not eager to talk about that situation.  We don't like "standing out".  If the rest can succeed and I can't then there must be something wrong with me. 

Now I believe that the road to becoming a Kool Aid Drinker begins with Discovery Day.  The marketing approach of "it gives you a chance to look us over and a chance for us to evaluate you" lays the groundwork.  A few days after attending the session, the franchise broker and employee of TMI calls telling you that you have been approved to purchase a franchise.  We all love being a member of the "in crowd" with our actions being acceptable to everyone.  That simple phase of the franchise purchase sets the stage for being in denial if startup difficulties are encountered.  I reached that conclusion partly because of conversations with A Franchisee located in Florida who opened his business about a year before we began.  Scott  was as open, apparently honest and helpful as a person could be.  He was very pleased with his decision to buy the franchise.  Scott closed his business about a month before we shutdown and the only thing that saved him from personal bankruptcy was inheritance.  I am very confident that when Scott expressed satisfaction with his decision he was as sincere and honest (in his mind) as he could be BUT by that time it had to be obvious to him that he was headed for trouble.

Other examples exist in the Houston Area.  A franchise currently exists both in North Houston and in South Houston and both opened a few months before we started our adventure.  As mentioned earlier, the owner on the south side told Marlene he receives calls all the time from people interested in buying a franchise.  We never received a single call.  This is 100% conjecture but I will always believe that potential franchisees were diverted from us.  IF people are steered in the direction of franchisees expected to provide positive feedback, why in the world would they be encouraged to talk to these people?  Based on conversations the owners had with Marlene, both franchisees are struggling.  They are not as deeply committed economically as we were but in both cases one of the partners is back working in the public sector (based on hearsay' .  I believe that what I am describing here is well know and that individuals have confidence that these people will provide positive feedback because they are Kool Aid Drinkers.

There are situations other than us where I have confidence a positive report would not be provided.  A couple who attended training with us encountered significant difficulties with startup.  Like us they have an age difference and he told me during training that his motivation for investing in the franchise was identical to mine.  He was concerned about providing a revenue stream for his wife 20 years from now.  Marlene and the lady became friends and talked frequently and I know, on the basis of their conversations during January and February of 2014, that they struggled in a manner similar to our experience.  She commented to Marlene more than once that she was putting her personal money in the business on a monthly basis and was so fed up with the experience that she would do anything to be able to just get out.

Attending the first conference held by the corporation is essentially mandatory.  A significant portion of expenses are paid by The Maids and franchise owners want to attend if for no other reason to see how others are doing.  The conference is an opportunity to sit and listen to classes about a multitude of things all filled with "we can win" philosophy.  Even if the franchise owner is struggling, this experience reminds them that "everyone else is succeeding".  Rather than tell other attendees the truth about how they feel which in our case would be "we are so sick of the damn business we could throw up and would give anything to be able to go back and undo the decision{ everyone "stays the course".  They become Kool Aid Drinkers.  Everything is good and getting better.  It is just a matter of time until "they" become a glowing success.

Well, we are not Kool Aid Drinkers.  The rose colored glasses are gone and we see things clearly and as they really are.  We spent a small fortune and worked our asses off and failed.  If you want to hear our story and receive information directing you to others who had similar experience all you need to is contact us.  Perhaps you will listen to our feedback, evaluate your situation and conclude that investing in The Maids is a good path for you.  If you do, hopefully you will become a huge success.  If you do fail, you will not be able to say "well I just didn't have all the information".

Revised 6-20-14

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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"

Friendly Fire

Need Money - Find An Angel

Selling The Business

Owner Qualifications

Success Motivation

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