MaidPro consistently ranks higher than any other brand in its industry for franchisee satisfaction.
The secret sauce, according to MaidPro cofounder Mark Kushinsky, is a relentless focus on delivering great service to MaidPro’s end customers and strong, individualized support to its franchise owners and their employees.
MaidPro’s back story is actually rooted in an extremely poor customer-service experience. “I had always wanted to start a business,” recalls Kushinsky, “but, was continuously searching for the next big idea. I was in my twenties and had just hired a cleaning company for my apartment. I had a cat at the time (Foof) and came home one day to find him locked in my bathroom without food or water for what must have been hours. The cleaning company handled my complaint badly and was not particularly good at cleaning either. It got me thinking: ‘Wow, I could do this better.’”
While house cleaning did not necessarily feel to Kushinsky like ‘the next big idea’, he was attracted to the industry’s combination of low startup costs, flexible scheduling and recurring revenue. “I knew we could jump into this market and start winning share with great customer service,” he says. Kushinsky joined forces with his friend Richard Sparacio and the two young entrepreneurs launched MaidPro in Boston’s historic Beacon Hill neighborhood in 1991.
Fast forward to 2013
Kushinsky and Sparacio have turned MaidPro into a 160+ unit franchise business, stretching across 33 states and Canada. Following a standard 49-Point Checklist system, MaidPro’s trained professionals work with top-of-the-line cleaning products and stand by a 24-hour satisfaction guarantee or MaidPro recleans at no additional charge. ”MaidPro takes pride in being the most personal brand,” says Sparacio. “While our service is highly standardized for consistency and quality, we also honor peoples’ personal preferences for how they want their homes cleaned.”
The company’s quirky, attentiongrabbing marketing and crisp white and blue branding targets a wide variety of customer profiles. MaidPro’s strongest feature, Sparacio maintains, is “consistently delivering high-quality, affordable and personalized service that increases franchise revenues and recurring clientele through word-of-mouth references.”
Support, support, support
Offering strong, individualized support to franchise owners and their employees is the other secret behind MaidPro’s consistently strong growth and high franchise satisfaction ratings. “Starting a MaidPro is a low-risk, high-reward business opportunity,” says Chuck Lynch, Vice President of Planning and Development. “Both training and support are extensive and we differentiate from other franchisors by offering a personalized – versus one-size-fits-all – support structure.” That support starts in the very early stages of the franchise contracting process. “We look to be a good fit for potential franchise partners,” says Lynch, ”but we also look for people who are a best fit for the MaidPro model. We don’t want to just sell a franchise; we want to help people succeed and that is a two-way street.”
The ideal MaidPro franchise partner is a “bright, fun, coachable individual,” says Kushinsky. “They need to understand what franchising is all about and the importance of being part of a team. It’s not ‘my way or the highway’ for us, or for them.” All potential franchise partners get an opportunity to:
- Speak at length with key MaidPro leaders,
- Tour MaidPro facilities individually (rather than in group tours),
- Preview its advanced, proprietary operating software, and
- Check out marketing materials and other resources that would be made available to them.
Initial meetings and individual tours allow both MaidPro and potential franchise partners to decide mutually if the fit is just right. “We do individual rather than group tours,” Lynch says, “because we want to get to know our potential partners really well and vice versa.”
If a match is made, franchise partners sign their agreements, choose their territories and begin a multiweek training program consisting of both hands-on classroom training at MaidPro’s Boston headquarters and at-home training delivered by MaidPro support personnel. MaidPro provides each franchise with a dedicated, long-term support person and makes available a set of specialists who answer questions as they arise and provide one-to-one coaching as needed. MaidPro franchises gain access to both on- and offline marketing support and can choose to use MaidPro’s national call center for selling services. MaidPro conducts semiannual in-person conferences with its franchise owners and both parties get highly involved in helping each other. “We put the building blocks together for success,” says Jen Doyle, MaidPro’s Director of Franchise Marketing. “Our award-winning communication and support is truly unmatched.”
Flexibility is another way MaidPro stands apart from its competitors. For example, the company does not force franchises to spend specific amounts on marketing or cleaning supplies. And, where other cleaning franchisors collect royalties weekly or dictate how many cleaning professionals must be assigned to each home, MaidPro opts for monthly payments and leaves staff count per home up to franchise owners. Franchise owners also determine the amount of correspondence they have with MaidPro’s home office, although MaidPro does continuously analyze franchise data, metrics and practices and shares helpful information with all through its intranet.
MaidPro also delivers support via advanced, proprietary technology. In fact, specialized software developed inhouse to run MaidPro was so successful that Kushinsky and Sparacio spun out a leading field-service management software company. They then proceeded to develop an even more advanced cloud system designed uniquely for the needs of MaidPro’s franchise owners. The advanced new system is simple to use and can be accessed any time from any type of computing device. “The model MaidPro provides creates a fantastic foundation and infrastructure from which to grow a business,” says Eric Ribeiro, owner of MaidPro Baltimore, MD.
MaidPro’s owner community is not the only one to recognize its industry-leading franchise support. The company, which participates in both the International Franchise Association and New England Franchise Association, has received numerous awards and accolades, including:
- The only maid service franchise to be named in Franchise Business Review’s 2013 Top Overall 50 Report for franchisee satisfaction and in was included its Top Low Cost Franchises for 2013 Report.
- One of seven fastest growing franchises named by MSN Money.
- One of the Top 50 Franchises for Minorities according to USA Today’s Franchising Today.
- A top place to work by Boston Business Journal.
- A four-star rating every year for the past seven years by Franchise Business Review.
- And ranked in Entrepreneur’s 2013 top 500 Franchises, Top Home-Based Franchises and 2012 Top Low Cost Franchises
MaidPro added 25 new franchises last year and plans the same level of expansion for 2013. “We could add more but are not trying to grow at any cost,” explains Kushinsky. “We enjoy what we are doing and will bring aboard only the people we think will do well in our system.”
The minimum capital required to invest in a MaidPro franchise is $30,000. Of that, $7,900 is the franchise fee: a competitively lower cost than other maid service franchise. There are two business models available to franchise partners: the select model, which starts with 10,000 qualified households and requires the minimum $30,000 investment or the enterprise model, starting with 27,500 qualified households and requiring a minimum investment of $75,000.
For people who already own cleaning businesses but could use help growing, MaidPro offers a competitive package to conversion buyers. Current cleaningservice business owners who join MaidPro are never charged royalties on their existing customers and pay only a 6.5% royalty fees on new customers gained through MaidPro. “Many existing cleaning companies will turn to franchisors because they have trouble growing their businesses,” Doyle says. “We are experts at generating growth and franchising a great way to get new business.”
“When I was in my own cleaning business, I never had anyone to whom I could turn and made a lot of mistakes,” says Michelle Spitzer, owner of MaidPro Naples, FL. “With MaidPro, you are never alone. Having experts just a phone call away is huge and really helps you to make sound business decisions.”
MaidPro also offers discounts to veterans interested in franchising. Valued at $15,000, MaidPro’s special veterans’ franchising package includes $3,000 off the initial franchise fee plus a $100 credit on royalties each month for the life of a ten-year contract.
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