Entrepreneurs who want to clean up by buying into one of the best residential cleaning franchises of 2017/2018 don’t have a huge list of opportunities to examine. There are relatively few national-scope house cleaning chains, which is why this list only has 15 franchises.
The residential cleaning industry is not recession-proof and does experience contraction during economic downturns. As an industry, it is also vulnerable to customer loss if the services provided are not high in quality, because it only takes one poor job to lose a customer forever.
But the maid service franchise segment was already worth $2.7 billion back in 2015, a figure that’s on track to keep growing as Baby Boomers continue to age and want more help with repetitive household chores such as cleaning. In addition to older folks, however, the ever-growing number of two-income households means busier people who don’t have time to waste cleaning their homes.
Here are our picks for the top 15 house cleaning (maid service) franchises of 2017/2018:
1. Merry Maids
Merry Maids was founded by Dallen Peterson in Omaha, Nebraska back in 1979. The company offers a full range of house cleaning services, including green cleaning, and a satisfaction guarantee backed up with a free re-cleaning. The company’s line of maintenance products, Shineffective, has been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to carry the Design for the Environment (DfE) label, meaning it meets strict safety standards. The chain is a subsidiary of The ServiceMaster Company, which owns such brands as ServiceMaster Clean, Terminix, TruGreen, Furniture Medic, and AmeriSpec. There are currently 1,670 locations, 3 of which are company-owned and 683 of which are located outside the U.S.
2. The Maids
The Maids was started in 1979 in Omaha, Nebraska by Daniel J. Bishop, who previously had his own janitorial company, and he started franchising right away in 1980. He insisted on 4-person cleaning teams and bright yellow branded vehicles that got his business noticed. Services offered include occasional cleaning, recurring cleaning, seasonal cleaning (spring and fall), move in/move out cleaning, same-day cleaning, and special cleaning services. The company has come up with fun advertising messages that can be seen on its website. There are currently 1,347 locations, 111 of which are company-owned and 51 of which are located outside the U.S.
3. Molly Maid
Molly Maid performed 1.7 million cleans last year, and 90% of those were for repeat customers. David McKinnon founded the company in 1979 in Canada, but moved the whole operation to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1984. It offers the standard array of house cleaning services and options, including green cleaning, though it does not adhere to any particular green cleaning standards beyond its own. Franchisees benefit from its Neighborly program of cross-marketing opportunities through (its parent company) the Dwyer Group’s other brands, including Mr. Rooter, Protect Painters, and Glass Doctor. There are currently 466 franchised locations, all in the U.S.
4. Maid Brigade
Maid Brigade dates back to 1979 and offers a full range of home cleaning services to customers. In 2007, it made a company-wide commitment to its Green Clean Certified system that includes products and equipment based on the standards developed by the independent Green Seal organization. It’s a detailed commitment and Maid Brigade explains its green cleaning standards very transparently on its website, making it one of the most environmentally-friendly options on this list. Franchising began in 1985 and there are currently 455 locations, 82 of which are located outside the U.S.
5. Maid Right
Maid Right developed its Signature Clean program to offer comprehensive cleanings with an array of benefits. Its proprietary EnviroShield system provides medical-strength protection against germs and bacteria, while its HEPA filtration vacuums improve air quality. Consistency is achieved with detailed cleaning checklists used on every job, and all cleaning products are non-toxic and safe for the environment. The Maid Right franchise model is based on the highly successful JAN-PRO commercial cleaning model. This is an owner-led model, which means the owner of the franchise is directly involved in the cleaning services. The chain has grown rapidly since 2013 to 254 locations, 10 of which are company-owned and 8 of which are located outside the U.S.
MaidPro got its start in the historic Beacon Hill area of Boston back in 1991 by founders Mark Kushinsky and Richard Sparacio after Kushinsky had two bad experiences with cleaning companies that charged a lot for disappointingly poor work. MaidPro sits down with customers to build a cleaning plan that is tailored to their needs and budget. The starting point is the company’s 49-point checklist, which can be modified as needed to meet the customer’s needs. Franchising began in 1997 and the chain has expanded steadily during the past 10 years from 90 locations in 2007 to the current total of 243, only 1 one of which is company-owned and 9 of which are located outside the U.S.
7. The Cleaning Authority
The Cleaning Authority was started by its original owners back in 1977 in the Baltimore-Washington metro area, but it was Steve Robinson and Tim Evankovich, who bought the company in 1989, who further developed it and started franchising in 1996. It uses its Detail-Clean Rotation System to make sure each of four home zones gets an extra deep cleaning attention at the right frequency. Its cleaning products are all environmentally-responsible and sustainable. There are currently 215 locations, only one of which is company-owned and 7 of which are located outside the U.S.
8. You’ve Got Maids
You’ve Got Maids was founded by Frank and Cynthia Berger, both of whom had grandparents who came to the U.S. as immigrants and got their start by becoming cleaners. After successful ownership of a Domino’s pizza franchise, they decided to create their own cleaning franchise and opened the first location in Orlando, Florida in 2005 and then started franchising in 2010. The chain backs up its satisfaction guarantee with an offer to re-clean if the customer requests it within 24 hours of a clean. Its most requested service is its unique 52-point spring clean service. The chain has grown slowly but steadily from 2 company-owned locations in 2008 to the current total of 78, all of which are franchised locations in the U.S.
9. Two Maids & A Mop
Two Maids & A Mop was founded by Ron Holt in 2003 when he purchased a cleaning business in Birmingham, Alabama and re-branded it into Two Maids & A Mop. His early innovation was performance-based pay for his cleaners, meaning higher customer ratings could reward cleaners with above-industry wages. He also created a 100-page guide on cleaning a home room-by-room to ensure consistency in the quality of cleaning customers receive. The number of locations has shot up in the last few years from 11 in 2014 to the current 48, only one of which is company-owned. The locations are primarily in the southeastern U.S.
10. Home Cleaning Centers of America
Home Cleaning Centers of America got its start back in 1984 by Mike and Jeanette Calhoon. The company offers a full array of home cleaning services using OSHA-approved cleaning products. Quotes for regular cleaning services require a short home visit. The unique business model here is that franchisees who prove to be successful at their home cleaning service can then expand into a multi-revenue operation that also offers carpet cleaning, office cleaning, window cleaning, and country club cleaning. The company website currently lists 25 locations, which is a decline from 40 locations in 2012.
11. TrueBlue Total House Care
TrueBlue Total House Care offers customers multiple services that include home maintenance, household repairs, maid service, yard work, emergency repairs, seasonal projects, and more, all of
which can be had with a flat monthly fee or paid separately as needed. The services are geared toward two primary markets: seniors who need help and also busy families. Co-founded by Gary Green and other franchise veterans in 2011, the chain has grown to 25 locations during the past six years.
12. Sears Maid Services
Sears Maid Services has the unique advantage of carrying the Sears brand name, well-known and trusted by people for more than 125 years. Their maids are screened and background-checked very thoroughly, and each location is fully licensed, insured, and bonded. Besides one-time cleanings, customers can set up weekly and monthly cleaning services. The company also offers apartment cleaning, move-out/move-in cleaning, and intensive fall/spring deep cleaning services. The company was started in 1992 but didn’t begin franchising until 2014. There are currently about 20 locations.
13. Maid Simple
Maid Simple gives franchisees the option to start out as an owner/operator who does his or her own cleaning at first and then later hires others to grow, or one who hires/manages maids from the start to focus on networking in the community. Each location offers a full range of home cleaning services without contracts, including eco-friendly and pet-friendly options. The cleaning plan can be adapted to meet a client’s needs and schedule. There are currently 17 locations, 2 of which are located outside the U.S.
eMaids got its start in New York City (Brooklyn) back in 2004 when Miriam Kahn noticed there was a serious construction boom taking place, with a lot of new high-rise apartment buildings being built. She wondered who was going to clean all those new apartments and decided to start eMaids. The company uses its website to make booking appointments very easy, and treats clients like family with a 24/7 answering service. It uses non-allergenic cleaning products, but has found it’s the cleaners who value “green” cleaning more than the clients. There are currently 11 locations, 3 of which are company-owned.
Freedommaid takes a unique approach to house cleaning summed up in their motto: We don’t sell cleaning. We sell freedom! The company provides a full array of flexible and highly-personalized cleaning services that give clients freedom from repetitive household chores. It focuses on building long-term relationships and getting existing clients to refer new clients to the company. The company claims its unique business model results in more repeat customers compared to competitors, as it relies on its loyal customers to spread the word to family and friends to generate leads. The company is located in Meridian, Idaho, and services clients in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, and surrounding areas. Founded in 2008, the company recently announced its franchising program.
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.