Searching for his next great business opportunity, Dustin Guessfeld found what he had been looking for in an unlikely way. “Why don’t you just DO something? Get off the couch and clean or something!” Guessfeld recalls his wife asking one evening. The next morning he was up early and on the Internet researching cleaning franchises. That is where he found MaidPro.
When Guessfeld was growing up in Slidell Louisiana, his entrepreneurial mother started her own salon. Over time, with great attention to operations and customer service, she turned her business into a 5,000 square foot salon and day spa. “My mother inspired me,” Guessfeld says.
That inspiration made Guessfeld an entrepreneur in his own right at a very young age. Saving $500 in birthday money, he financed the construction of a skateboard ramp in his backyard and began charging neighborhood kids to use it. “I have always enjoyed looking out and trying to find the next thing, trying to find a certain opportunity. This has always been with me,” he says.
At 18 years of age, Guessfeld moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana with the intention of attending school and obtaining a college degree. He enrolled in the entrepreneur program at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. While studying there, Guessfeld started no fewer than three different business ventures. The first was an online eBay store selling clothing and accessories. As that venture grew to a point where it might compromise his goal of earning a college degree, Guessfeld sold. But, not long after, he was back in business selling orthopedic fitness shoes. Once again, as the shoe business grew large enough to threaten his studies, Guessfeld sold, only to soon find himself entering the vending-machine business, targeting buildings with 100+ employees for snack and drink machines. After selling his vending business in 2009, Guessfeld took a job with shopperschoice.com to learn more about Internet marketing.
Before very long, however, Guessfeld found himself itching to find his next big opportunity. After looking into about 30 different business ventures, one small remark from his wife sparked an interest in the cleaning industry. “It was that easy,” Guessfeld says. “My wife came home one day and said something that led me straight to MaidPro.”
After thoroughly researching the home cleaning company, Guessfeld filled out MaidPro’s online franchising application. MaidPro called him immediately and together they reviewed his list of questions. Pleased with the information provided and feeling the franchise was a good fit for his next venture, Guessfeld and his wife flew to MaidPro’s corporate offices in Boston where they met the staff, toured MaidPro’s facilities and were shown firsthand how the company operates.
After a full day of visiting with people at MaidPro, Guessfeld and his wife returned to Baton Rouge where they were informed of their acceptance into the MaidPro family of businesses. Before long, with paperwork completed, the couple flew back to Boston for a full week of training. “We went through five days of training, which covered just about everything,” says Guessfeld, admitting there was a great deal to absorb and remember.
It was on these visits to Boston that Guessfeld found the most compelling reason to join the MaidPro community ― the sincerity of its people. “The people there are just awesome. You can tell they work as a team. Nobody tried to sell me anything and we had a blast with everyone. I never thought I would end up buying into a franchise, but the people were just so nice and helpful and they were just being themselves.” After finding an approved site for his office in Baton Rouge, Guessfeld began preparing for his anticipated launch date (June 1, 2012) less than three months after buying into MaidPro.
Quick to point out the various benefits he has found in working with MaidPro, Guessfeld’s key recognition is the personalized support. “It’s unbelievable support. Everyone there is always willing to help you ― from the consultants all the way to the founders of the company. They offer an amazing amount of help and feel like a second family to me and my wife.”
Speaking to other benefits he has encountered as a MaidPro franchise owner, Guessfeld is not short for words. “I have fallen in love with MaidPro and its people. Not just the people at the home office but other franchise owners too. Many of us stay in touch with each other.” Participating in daily workshops held via conference calls on various topics has given Guessfeld an opportunity to speak with other franchise owners that share his experiences and deal with similar issues. The workshops have been extremely helpful to his learning process, Guessfeld says. “I could have never done this by myself. I would have gone through so much money, trying this, trying that and not knowing. MaidPro’s people and other owners have already done what I am doing. They have proven systems for doing things and are great people.”
Guessfeld says his work-life balance as a MaidPro franchise owner is also great. His workday usually begins at 7 a.m. and ends around 2-3 p.m. Although his office closes at 5 p.m., MaidPro’s call center stays open until 7 p.m., ensuring Guessfeld does not miss calls from new customers wanting to sign up. “I love that I don’t have to work nights or weekends,” he says.
Changing his life in only positive ways, Guessfeld feels the career switch to being a MaidPro owner has heightened his freedom and improved his personal relationships. “I don’t feel alone. I have my employees and I have my MaidPro family with who I am always in touch. I love that about franchising,” he says.
While the pieces have fallen into place relatively easily for Guessfeld, he admits his biggest challenge so far has been staffing. “Trying to find good people is challenging, but as long as you follow the MaidPro plan for hiring employees, it’s pretty simple. I had a few hiccups when I first started, but have now gotten the hang of it.”
With his experiences in a wide variety of business types and positive venture into franchising with MaidPro, Guessfeld often shares advice with people looking to become involved with franchising. “Having experienced and knowledgeable people to whom you can reach out is extremely important. It’s also important to get to know the area in which you will be franchising and that requires a lot of research.”
Receiving calls from potential MaidPro franchise owners, Guessfeld says he always emphasizes the importance of keeping an open mind, being coachable, willing to learn and willing to take direction. “If you have these qualities, then MaidPro is the franchise for you.”
When asked about future plans for expansion, Guessfeld admits he is “not a long-term goal type of guy, but more of a short-term and being realistic type.” However, he says the market area for his business in Baton Rouge is growing very quickly. “While I would like to expand in the future, right now I am staying focused on this one area.” Today, Guessfeld has 16 employees who currently serve 140 recurring customers on either weekly, bi-weekly or monthly bases. One-time cleaning services account for about 15percent of his gross sales.
Business aside, Guessfeld and his wife have recently entered the world of recreational fishing and have been looking to purchase a boat for their newfound hobby. “This is something we would not have been able to do without MaidPro,” Guessfeld says. The avid football fan is also in high spirits anticipating the coming season, stating proudly his devotion to the New Orleans Saints and LSU Tigers. “It’s my favorite time of year! I am really excited,” he says.
Above all, Guessfeld finds fulfillment helping people in two ways. First, he is happy to be making peoples’ lives easier. “Our customers love to come home to clean houses. They can sit back, relax, play with their kids, watch TV and not worry about anything else. We get so many stories about how grateful people are to have us,” he says. Second, Guessfeld is pleased to be providing jobs for people in his community. “These are very rewarding things, having good employees that are happy, and having happy customers.”
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