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Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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Featured Biz Question

I'm interested in buying a maid service franchise, but I have some ?'s. I live in a small county where the population is only 15,000. Is this enough for my business to work out? How would I go about finding out if this kind of service is needed? I also would like some advice on how to charge for this service, by the hour or by the job? What is the average rate for this service? Is it better to buy a franchise by zip code or by county? ( I have either option) I have the $$$ to do this but I'm kind of scared to get in over my head! Can anyone give me some advice on how to get more information on this subject? Thanks! Any help is greatly appreciated.
Val

Answer from our Guest Expert Cheryl Demas , Founder and Editor of WAHM.com

Maid Service Business

Dear Val,

Maid or house-cleaning businesses are certainly growing and are a good biz idea to pursue. The recent census results tell us that what we used to think of as the "typical" family -- Dad goes to work and Mom stays home and takes care of the house and 2.5 kids -- is no longer the norm. Both parents are typically out bringing home the bacon, and home-based businesses are on the rise. People (and businesses) need cleaning help, and maid services are meeting this new need.

Franchise Fringe Benefits

In a franchise relationship, you can enjoy less risk, more management support, more profits, additional financing, and advertising benefits. One of the best things about buying a franchise (for maid services or any other biz type), however, is the franchise company usually serves up the answers for most of your questions in their prospective franchisee materials, a.k.a. "uniform franchise offering circular." This info often gives you a market study of your Territory, and also assists you with marketing, advertising and pricing topics. So be sure to request these materials from the particular franchisor(s) you're interested in.

Of course, you can do a lot of your own research too. One way to find out some of the info you crave is to study your competition. Is there another cleaning company in your area? If so, hire them to clean your house (or a friend's or family member's). What do they charge? How do they calculate their fees? Did they do a good job? What kind of equipment and supplies did they have? What services were included for the price they charged? Could you do better? (continued)

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About the Expert

Cheryl Demas
Founder and Editor of WAHM.com
Cheryl's career included 11 years working at Honeywell and CableData and a degree in mathematics and computer science. From her home in Folsom, CA, Cheryl has built a web site that draws more than 2 million hits per month and, with advertiser support, makes money. In 2000, her book, The Work-at-Home Mom's Guide to Home Business, was published. more