Revised and updated October 26, 2019.
The residential cleaning franchise market is expected to bring in $943 million in revenues in 2019, up from the 2017 figure of $864 million. Entrepreneurs who want to “clean up” in this thriving segment have a strong list of opportunities to examine more closely with these 15 best residential cleaning (maid service) franchises of 2020.
What’s driving the growth in this market? The US population continues to grow older, with the median age always on the rise since 1970, and older folks need more help keeping up with household chores like cleaning. Besides seniors, there is also the number of two-income households, which were only 47% of households in 1965 but now make up more than 66% of households, and these busy, exhausted couples want help with housecleaning.
Residential cleaning is not a recession-proof industry, but has recovered nicely from the hit it took during the Great Recession. It is also an industry vulnerable to losing customers because of low-quality work performance. It only takes one poor job to lose a customer forever.
As environmental consciousness continues to become an important concern for a growing number of consumers, many of the companies make a point of offering “green” cleaning options.
Here are the top 15 residential cleaning (maid service) franchises of 2020:
1. Merry Maids
Merry Maids offers a wide range of cleaning services, including house/apartment cleaning, green cleaning, maid service, specialty cleaning, detailed cleaning, housekeeping, move in/out cleaning, holiday cleaning, and organizational services. The company’s satisfaction guarantee is backed up with a free re-cleaning. It also has its own line of maintenance products, Shineffective, that have been approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency to carry the Design for Environment (DfE) label, meaning they meet strict safety standards.
The chain is a subsidiary of The ServiceMaster Company, which includes several different home services brands. Founded by Dallen Peterson in Omaha, Nebraska in 1979 and franchising since 1980, the number of locations has continued to grow during the past decade from 1,459 in 2008 to the current total of 1,708 (down from the previous year’s total of 1,724), of which three are company-owned and 695 are located outside the US.
2. The Maids
The Maids sends 4-person cleaning crews in bright-yellow branded vehicles to serve customers. Services offered include recurring cleaning, occasional cleaning, move in/move out cleaning, seasonal cleaning (spring and fall), same-day cleaning, and special cleaning services. The company is an exclusive partner of Mr. Clean, and makes extensive use of that branded character on its website.
Founded by Daniel J. Bishop in Omaha, Nebraska in 1979 and franchising since 1981, the number of locations currently stands at 1,452 (up from the previous year’s total of 1,387), of which 174 are company-owned and 53 are located outside the US.
3. Molly Maid
Molly Maid prides itself on the fact that of the two million cleans it performs each year, approximately 90% of them are for repeat customers. It offers a standard array of house and apartment cleaning services (regular, occasional, special events, moving), including green cleaning, although it does not adhere to any particular green cleaning standards beyond its own.
Molly Maid is a Neighborly company (formerly Dwyer Group), which is a collection of 16 different brands that provide all kinds of home services. Founded by David McKinnon in Canada (who moved the company to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1984) in 1979 and franchising since then, the number of locations now totals 485 (up from the previous year’s total of 475), none of which are company-owned and all of which are located in the US.
4. Maid Brigade
Maid Brigade offers a full range of home cleaning services to customers, including apartment cleaning and house cleaning that can be one-time or regular according to a customer’s needs. The company has been committed to its Green Clean Certified system since 2007. It includes products and equipment based on standards developed by the independent, non-profit Green Seal organization. The Maid Brigade website explains its green cleaning standards in great detail.
Founded by Bart Puett and Don Hay in Atlanta, Georgia in 1979 and franchising since 1980, the number of locations has declined in recent years from a recent high of 500 in 2011 to the current total of 450 (up from the previous year’s total of 447), only one of which is company-owned and 82 of which are located outside the US.
MaidPro doesn’t have a menu of pre-configured cleaning services. Instead, a representative sits down with customers to build a cleaning plan that is tailored to their needs and budget. Its approach to cleaning is based on a 49-point checklist that can be modified as needed to meet a customer’s needs. Several pages of the company’s website explain how the company is green and the green products it uses.
Founded by Mark Kushinsky and Richard Sparacio in Boston in 1991 and franchising since 1997, the number of locations has risen steadily to the current total of 268 (up from the previous year’s total of 252), only one of which is company-owned and 10 of which are located outside the US.
6. The Cleaning Authority
The Cleaning Authority was purchased by Steve Robinson and Tim Evankovich in 1989 from the original founders. The company’s Detail-Clean Rotation System ensures each of four home zones gets an extra deep cleaning at the right frequency. All the cleaning products used are environmentally responsible and sustainable. The menu of services includes one-time cleanings, move in/out cleanings, apartment cleaning, and house cleaning.
Founded in 1977 and franchising since 1996, the number of locations currently stands at 226 (two less than the previous year’s total), three of which are company-owned and seven of which are located outside the US.
7. You’ve Got Maids
You’ve Got Maids offers customers weekly cleaning, biweekly cleaning, green cleaning, move in/out cleaning, and a 54-point spring cleaning option. It backs up its satisfaction guarantee with an offer to re-clean if the customer requests it within 24 hours. Customers can also download the company’s Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Kitchen to learn how to effectively clean a kitchen using natural products.
Founded by Frank and Cynthia Berger in Orlando, Florida in 2005 and franchising since 2010, the number of locations has expanded rapidly to the current total of 98 (up from the previous year’s total of 87), none of which are company-owned and all of which are located in the US.
8. Two Maids and a Mop
Two Maids and a Mop takes a unique approach to paying its cleaners with a performance-based model where higher customer ratings could reward cleaners with wages better than the industry average. The company founder also created a 100-page room-by-room guide to cleaning a home, thereby ensuring consistency in the quality of cleaning customers receive.
Customers can choose a Design with Time Cleaning Package for limited specific cleaning based on time, a Top to Bottom Deep Cleaning Package to cover the entire home, or an Empty Home Move In/Out Cleaning Package for those who are either vacating or about to move into a house, apartment, or condo.
Founded by Ron Holt in Birmingham, Alabama in 2003 and franchising since 2013, the number of locations has quickly grown to 78 (up from the previous year’s total of 61), only one of which is company-owned and all of which are located in the US.
9. TruBlue Total House Care
TruBlue Total House Care provides a range of services to seniors and busy families from whole house cleaning to handyman services, routine lawn care and property maintenance, seasonal tasks, pressure washing (siding, decks, sidewalks), and safety audits. Services can be purchased “a la carte” or customers can sign up for a flat-rate House Care Plus monthly plan.
Co-founded by Gary Green and other franchise veterans in 2011 and franchising since then, the chain currently has 40 locations (up from the previous year’s total of only 19), none of which are company-owned and one of which is located outside the US.
10. Home Cleaning Centers of America
Home Cleaning Centers of America gives customers a full range of home cleaning services using OSHA-approved cleaning products. Before quoting a price, the company takes the time to visit the home to ensure the quote will be accurate. Franchisees who prove to be successful at their home cleaning service have the option to expand their business to provide additional services such as carpet cleaning, office cleaning, window cleaning, and country club cleaning.
Founded by Mike and Jeanette Calhoon in Kansas City in 1981 and franchising since 1984, the number of locations has declined slightly from 37 in 2008 to the current total of 32 (same as the previous year), none of which are company-owned and all of which are located in the US.
11. Sears Maid Services
Sears Maid Services carries the well-known Sears brand name but is part of a separate company, Sears Home & Business Franchises, that includes four other brands: Sears Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Sears Air Duct Cleaning, Sears Garage Solutions, and Sears Handyman Solutions. The larger retailing company has had its problems with store closings and bankruptcy, but none of that directly impacts these franchised services.
In addition to one-time cleanings, customers can sign up for weekly and monthly cleaning services. Other services include apartment cleaning, move-out/move-in cleaning, and intensive fall/spring deep cleaning services.
Founded in 1992 and franchising since 2014, the company website lists 30 locations.
12. Maid Simple
Maid Simple offers a full range of home cleaning services without contracts, including eco-friendly and pet-friendly options, all of which can be configured to meet each client’s unique needs and schedule. Cashless payments are made online only when the cleaning has been completed.
The company offers franchisees two different models for getting started. The first option is being an owner/operator who performs the cleaning and hires additional workers as the business grows. The second option is a manager model for those who want to hire and manage maids from the start so the franchisee can focus on networking in the community.
Founded in 2012 and franchising since then, the company website lists 23 different cities where its services are available, but it’s not clear how many of those are individually-owned franchises.
13. Maid Right
Maid Right makes a point of sending the same cleaner back to a home so they develop a more detailed knowledge of the customer’s needs and desires. The company’s Signature Clean program provides comprehensive cleanings and medical-strength protection against germs and bacteria with its proprietary EnviroShield system, non-toxic cleaning products, vacuums with HEPA filters, and detailed cleaning checklists used on every job.
The Maid Right franchise model is based on the highly successful JAN-PRO commercial cleaning model. It is an owner-led model where the franchisee is directly involved in providing the cleaning services.
Founded in 2013 and franchising since then, there are currently 22 locations (a decline from its high of 29 in 2016), none of which are company-owned and all of which are located in the US.
eMaids began during a significant building boom that saw the addition of many new high-rise apartment buildings. It offers both house cleaning and office cleaning in and around New York City, with a focus on Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.
Appointments can be booked through the company website along with a 24/7 answering service. It uses non-allergenic cleaning products, but has found it’s the cleaners who value “green” cleaning even more than the clients.
Founded by Miriam Kahn in New York City in 2004 and franchising since 2010, the company website lists a total of 14 locations, three of which are company-owned and all of which are located in the US.
15. Maids by Trade
Maids by Trade offers home cleaning services using its EcoPink System, an approach to eco-friendly cleaning the company developed in collaboration with the non-profit group Green Seal. The EcoPink System focuses on preventing cross-contamination of germs from bathrooms to kitchens and between houses, reduction of water and cleaning product use, using only Green Seal certified products, commercial-grade vacuums with HEPA filters, reuse of washable cleaning rags, following all EPA house-cleaning guidelines, and using only products approved by the EPA.
The company offers three different cleaning plans: Essential, Standard, and Premium.
Founded by Fortino Barajas in Portland, Oregon in 1997 and franchising since 2016, the number of locations now stands at three, one of which is company-owned, and they’re all in the US.
An Important Note About Our Methodology
The franchises on this list were ranked according to the number of units in the franchise system. If you are a prospective franchisee searching for franchise opportunities that meet or exceed certain performance benchmarks for sales, profits, and return on investment, please check out this list of America’s Most Lucrative Franchises.