From the October 1997 issue of Startups

If you really want to have it maid, consider purchasing a franchise that's squeaky clean. With 263 franchises in the United States and 559 worldwide, Molly Maid Inc., one of the nation's fastest growing residential cleaning services, can provide you with a full-time, family-friendly business that you can start operating from the comfort of your own home.

With a total franchise fee ranging from $16,900 to $26,900, depending on the number of qualified homes in your exclusive protected territory, the total investment for a Molly Maid franchise can range from $35,000 to $50,000.

An additional $3,000 package fee will also provide you with Molly Maid's customer-care business-management software, cleaning supplies, home-estimate forms and other start-up materials. Royalty fees, which are based on weekly sales, range from three percent to six percent. And Molly Maid Inc.'s Right Start Program will even provide you with the training necessary to get started.

From Molly Maid Inc., Ann Arbor, MI. For more information, call (800) 665-5942.

The Perfect Mousetrap

By Laura Tiffany

Feeling like a cat chasing your mouse around your desktop? Try using the Memorex Trackball, a stationary mouse that takes up only a fraction of the space required by your regular mouse.

The Memorex Trackball remains in one position while the user simply rotates the ball to control the cursor. This frees up much-needed desktop space and eliminates the hassle of tangled mouse cords. The three-button configuration of the Trackball allows easy use in DOS-based applications, Windows 3.x, Windows 95, Windows NT--even CAD. It comes with a DB9/25-pin serial adaptor for easy hookup, as well as a user guide and installation software on both 3.5-inch and 5.25-inch disks. The Memorex Trackball also includes a lifetime, limited warranty and technical support. Suggested retail price: $29.99.

From Memorex, Santa Fe Springs, CA. To order, call (800) 636-8368.

Popular products to sell at your retail location

Thinking Rich

Indulge your customers' wildest dreams with a fantasy game that pays to play. "You Just Became a Millionaire," a game that transforms players into instant millionaires, combines the sweet taste of wealth with a healthy dose of self-reflection. With a cool $20 million to start, this fun and imaginative game by Games Partnership Ltd. Inc. puts each player's knowledge about his family, friends and himself to the test, as they wager on each other's answers.

Players can place bets on each millionaire's answer to various questions, such as, "Now that I'm a millionaire, is it likely that I won't be satisfied until I become a billionaire?" The more insight a player has about his well-to-do rivals, the more money he can accumulate. Designed for three to six adult players, "You Just Became a Millionaire" offers players the rich opportunity to ponder and explore how they would live the life of the rich and famous.

Wholesale price: $10 each. Suggested retail price: $20 each. Minimum order: 6 units (plus $5.56 S&H).

From Games Partnership Ltd. Inc., San Francisco, CA. To order, call (800) 776-7662.

A Cool Splash

Help your customers warm up to you by providing a cool solution for keeping their bottled water chilled. Runnin' Cool's popular sports water-bottle carrier is a jacket specially designed to hold and keep one-liter water bottles chilled for four to six hours.

Great for the gym, jogging, cycling, hiking, skiing and golfing, Runnin' Cool's convenient water-bottle carrier also includes a removable shoulder strap that can be transformed into a belt and worn as a fanny pack. Runnin' Cool's easy-to-wash jacket also features a small pocket for storage of small items and is available in five sporty colors: red, hunter green, blue, purple and black.

Wholesale price: $13.85 each. Suggested retail price: $24.95 each. Minimum order: 24 units (plus S&H).

From Runnin' Cool, Greenwich, CT. To order, call (800) 58-COOL-1.