business, double checking the schedule for her 22 employees at The Maids, a Liberty Township business that cleans houses for about 250 customers in Butler and Warren Counties. She and her husband, Jeff, decided to leave their corporate jobs to run their own business and bought the franchise from its previous owners in 2007. “We were looking for something we could handle and grow,” says Pam Markland, sitting in the bright-yellow office just south of Lakota East High School on Cincinnati-Dayton Road. “My advice to anyone thinking of doing something like this is to expect to work all the time,” she says with a laugh. “I do miss my freedom.” The Marklands have been able to double their business since taking it over three years ago, tying much of their success to their focus on customer retention and satisfaction. “If you think you won’t have anyone to answer to when you own your own business, you’re wrong,” Pam says. “You’re always answering to your customers and your employees.” Her husband handles the books, managing the business side of things. He’s happy not to be on a plane or checking into a hotel room in a foreign country. As the former vice president of manufacturing for Worthington Industries, he was on business trips much of his tenure in the corporate world. Before settling on The Maids, the Marklands considered a landscaping business or becoming boat dealers, among others. Jeff says the great thing about a franchise is that you’re working with a working
model. In his case, he doesn’t have to worry about the Web site or find a working business model. The company buys supplies in bulk, saving costs and pays for some national advertising for its franchises. Training materials were provided, as well as logos and other marketing material.
sticking with it West Chester resident Eric Riddick used Fran Net to identify where his skills might best fit in owning his own business after he left his job as a chemical engineer for Procter & Gamble. Eric recently opened Pride Staff, also in Liberty Township, a staffing company that helps match employers and employees. Eric’s business opened just as the economy was tanking. “Obviously, it’s a lot of work,” Eric says. “Franchising to me is a smarter way of taking that leap, because you have the opportunity of having support systems and a proven product. There’s never really a right time to do it, so if you think it’s your passion and you can do it financially; if you have that spirit inside of you, it’s one of those things you’ve just got to go and do it.” First, he suggests you start with a deadline. Don’t search for the right franchise forever. “You’ve got to take some risks and ultimately that’s what being entrepreneurial is about,” he says. “Even if you’re thinking conservatively, things won’t likely move as fast as you anticipated … but that shouldn’t deter you.”
>> must haves if you want to run a franchise 1. Desire to own your own business—seems simple, but is the most important part. 2. a successful business system is more important than having a great product. make sure you’re considering location, marketing products, sales process, management and training. 3. it must be a business that builds on your strengths and talents. 4. make sure you have enough money to start up the business including living expenses. typically, you will need 30-50 percent of the total investment in cash.