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Business Observer Friday, Dec. 7, 2018 9 months ago

Area owners take home top franchise award

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Joe and Sandy Nelson bought the Molly Maid of Sarasota, Manatee & Charlotte Counties franchise in February 2015.

Joe and Sandy Nelson cleaned up at a recent awards ceremony. 

The Nelsons, co-owners of Molly Maid of Sarasota, Manatee & Charlotte counties, took home the Molly Maid 2017 Franchise of the Year award. 

It’s not the first honor the company earned: it also received the Rookie of the Year Award in its first year of business. “We’ve had some really strong years,” Joe Nelson tells Coffee Talk.

The Nelsons bought the Molly Maid franchise in February 2015. At the time, it was underperforming, Joe Nelson says, and on a five-year revenue slide. “We focused on learning the business and looking at all of the people who were involved in the day-to-day operations,” he says. “We put our thumbprint on it.” For one, that included hiring new employees who fit their mold.

Nelson says since they took over, the company’s average annual growth has been close to $300,000 a year. “I think the market is just a phenomenal market with all of the building and growth and people moving to the area,” he says.

Joe Nelson was a Waste Management executive for 26 years prior to Molly Maid. He worked in the company’s organic growth group, bringing companies into the fold and growing them into larger businesses. The work, he says, gave him a good background for what he does today.

One of Joe and Sandy Nelson’s keys to success, they say, is advertising. In the first three months of owning their Molly Maid franchise, they spent a lot of time interviewing potential advertising partners. Last year, the company spent $135,000 in advertising, and this year, Nelson says that number will be closer to $150,000.

“We’ve seen a solid amount of growth every year we’ve been in business, and it’s directly attributed to the advertising campaign,” he says. “If you skimp on advertising, your company never grows.”

The biggest ongoing challenge the business faces, Nelson says, is finding the right employees. “The customer need is always there,” he says. “We could grow as fast as we want to grow. It’s a matter of getting enough people continuously hired.”

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