Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lourdes Villafuerte moved to Austin, Texas from Tamaulipas, Mexico in 1999. She was only 17 and didn’t speak any English, but just one year later, she had already begun her career in the cleaning business.
Over time, Villafuerte built up a small independent cleaning business. While the business was successful, Villafuerte wanted to bring in more money while still being able to spend time with her two young children. So, she decided become a Maid Right franchise. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at her decision to give franchising a try.
Name: Lourdes Villafuerte
Franchise owned: Maid Right unit operator in Austin, Texas.
How long have you owned a franchise?
I have been a home-based business owner since May 2014.
Becoming a franchise owner with Maid Right was a good way to start my own business. The Maid Right franchise has the knowledge and experience to help me succeed. I wanted to partner with a company who will work with me to provide better service and help me expand in the community.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I was running a small independent commercial cleaning business locally with my husband.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
We were looking for more income but couldn’t grow our business enough to achieve our goal of owning our own home someday. Maid Right really gave us the opportunity to build something special that we could be proud of in the community. I have two small children and wanted to be home in the evenings with them. Maid Right allows us that lifestyle.
We were initially attracted to the low initial investment required and the potential for good income. The support from the local franchise team was also important to us. They gave me a client base to start with and taught me how to run a business. Maid Right gave us a system where we were set up for success. Already in first few months I have grown my business from nothing to nearly $30,000 in customer revenue. At our current pace, we will be earning revenue in excess of $100,000 per year.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
$3,750 was the upfront investment: $1,500 for the franchise fee, $1,500 for starter kit and $750 for LLC creation, state registration and working capital to pay employees. This provided me with all the equipment needed to get started into my business.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
I talked with the people close to me primarily – my husband, friends and family. I also did a lot of my own research and read a number franchise disclosure documents carefully to know what I really wanted in a brand. Reviews were also helpful to nail down my search.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
Finding and retaining good and reliable employees in the cleaning business has been the challenge.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Work very hard, act professionally and have a passion for good results/quality. Be open to good ideas from the franchisor and trust in the system.
What’s next for you and your business?
To continue to give excellent service and deliver the highest quality cleaning to my customers. I want to grow my business even further by training a second team and reach the $100,000 mark. I feel that we can reach these goals with good employees, excellent training and following the Maid Right system.