The Maids Franchise Startup Failure
When failure exemplifies its self, the normal question that evolves is "why". The most obvious of potential reasons are considered first. Was a good plan established before beginning the activity, did adequate funding exist, were the people involved properly trained or experienced, did a reasonable probability of success exist and finally were they properly motivated. All questions except the last have been addressed herein. As with the rest of the site, I am going to simply document the experience and leave the conclusion to the reader.
When my wife Marlene heard about the success experienced by a local Molly Maids franchise owner, we were immediately intrigued. We had experience starting a business from "scratch" and know that it can be an exciting and personally rewarding experience.
Our involvement with the business began with research about Molly Maids. Marlene is very proficient at locating information and within a short period we were communicating with a very successful franchise owner. He shared a huge amount of information including P&L data for 6 years that spanned across the beginning of the recession. Using data he provided, we created a business model and concluded that probability of success was very high.
When we told the franchise broker we were ready to proceed, we learned that all Molly Maids franchises in the state of Texas had been sold. He mentioned The Maids saying that it was comparable which we accepted and that may be fact in some or even most cases. After a little investigation, we decided to pursue buying a The Maids franchise. After going to Discovery Day and becoming very excited about getting started, we told the broker we wanted to buy the Friendswood, Texas business and he "dropped the other shoe". The Friendswood Franchise was sold during the preceding month.
By the time we learned that the Friendswood Franchise wasn't available, we had months of time invested in investigating, studying and analyzing the business venture and were not easily dissuaded. When we learned that the Franchise located in the Fort Bend County area of Houston which is about a 1.5 hour drive from our Friendswood home was available, we began considering taking the only available option. Working long hours then driving 1.5 hours is something that is not very appealing or practical. The only way we could make it work was by effectively moving to the Richmond, Texas area.
We rented an 800 square feet one bedroom apartment in Richmond and furnished it from Wal-Mart. We thought that we would have the business on its feet after between 6 and 9 months and be to the point where we would only need to spend part of each week in the apartment. During the early phases of the startup, we were able to leave the office at a reasonable time but once we developed a schedule working until between 7 and 8 PM was not unusual. Initially we loaded up our two cats after rising at 5 AM Monday mornings and drove to Richmond. Within two months, working very late on Fridays became necessary so two cars were used allowing me to send Marlene home around 4 PM then leave whenever the day ended.
For over 18 months, we lived in a small apartment in Richmond and commuted home on weekends because succeeding in the business was something we couldn't have wanted more. If there is anything we could have provided involving personal effort or dedication, it can't be identified.
Now you have the information so you can decide whether adequate motivation existed.
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