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This Police Officer Spends His Off-Duty Hours Working as a Cleaning Franchisee

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 [email protected]

When Eric Freeman has time off working as a Dallas police officer, he isn't relaxing. Instead, he takes a hands-on approach to his career as a Maid Right franchisee, heading out to his clients' homes with cleaning supplies. Freeman's go-getter style helped the army veteran build a customer base quickly after opening his franchise earlier this year. Here is what he has learned.

shannon-hunter-eric-freeman

Image credit: Shannon Hunter and Eric Freeman

Name: Eric Freeman 

Franchise: Maid Right, based in the Frisco/Allen/McKinney, Texas area.

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How long have you owned a franchise?
Opened May 2015

Why franchising?
We were attracted to the branding and name recognition that comes with owning a franchise. The advantages provided through franchising allow an owner to immediately hit the ground running and focus on customer attraction, retention and service.

What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
Time management and life balance have proven to be the largest challenges. Prior to franchise ownership, my fiancé Shannon Hunter was a rehab tech at Pate Rehabilitation. I am currently a Dallas police officer and prior to that served in The United States Army. Finding the right balance between growing the new business, succeeding in our other positions and preparing for our upcoming marriage has been the most challenging aspect.

Why did you choose this particular franchise?
We chose Maid Right after researching several different types of franchises. We were searching for something more recession proof and in line with community service. After narrowing the field to residential cleaning, we spoke with several different franchises about ownership opportunities before finding Maid Right. Maid Right’s business model immediately sold us. While Maid Right is only two years old, the commercial side of the company, Jan-Pro, is well established with a long track record of success both for customers and franchisees. 

How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business? 

The initial franchise fee was $43,000, which could've been less but we went in at the higher level available. Maid Right has different levels you can buy in at making it very affordable. We went in at the top and want to grow from there.

We also bought a vehicle for the business and had it wrapped with the company graphics, which was a $12,500 investment. It was not required, but we want to be the largest and best Maid Right franchisee in the system. There was another $1,500 in uniforms, filling fees, tablets etc.

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Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
We did our due diligence both through Internet research, by reading through tips and best practices from Entrepreneur Magazine, and by speaking with existing franchisees. We opted to purchase at a higher franchise fee level because it made sense for us, and we believe the growth potential is huge in our market. But, Maid Right has many different levels to buy in, making it a very affordable option for a wide variety of potential owners. We also bought a vehicle for the business and wrapped with company graphics as part of our plan to be the largest and best Maid Right franchisee in the system. The additional investments required more up front funding, but we believe they’ll pay off for us down the line.

What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Our biggest challenges have been finding enough dedicated and excellent employees to help meet our rapid growth. We went from zero to 50 regular clients in less than six weeks. Our goal was 60 clients in six months. So, we’re attracting interest faster than we’ve been able to hire. But, we’re making fast progress. We’ve revised our goal to top 100 customers in our first six months.

What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Do your research. There is plenty of free, useful information available on the Internet. And, talk to existing franchisees. They were once in your shoes, and have the best knowledge base on what you are and soon will be going through. Most importantly, have enough capital set aside to live on for at least one year as you grow your customer base and ramp up your business.

What’s next for you and your business?
We want to become a household name in Collin County by putting our highest focus on excellent customer service. We plan to leverage that reputation to become the largest franchisee of Maid Right and ultimately become master franchisees in Texas.

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