5 questions with Amy Bates
BY LAURIE WINSLOW World Staff Writer
Friday, June 15, 2012
6/15/12 at 5:17 AM
Amy Bates is the owner and member of the original founding family of Tulsa Metro Merry Maids. She also is a wife and mother of two, as well as an entrepreneur and successful businesswoman. Recently, she received a 2012 Small Business Award in the category of Family-Owned Business from the Tulsa Metro Chamber. Under her ownership, Tulsa Metro Merry Maids was named one of the top five Merry Maids offices in the nation and has two National Team Member award winners working on staff.
1: How and why did you become the owner of Merry Maids in Tulsa?
My parents founded the Tulsa Metro Merry Maids in 1983, and I started working in the business in 1998. I started as a quality control supervisor, then salesperson and then marketing manager. I purchased the business from my father in 2002.
Motivated to give our clients the very best and most personalized service available, I'm often seen handling everything from searching out the best cleaning techniques to walking through a client's home on a quality check. My mom is still minority owner, but I handle the operations and have purchased the majority share.
2: What are the advantages or benefits of being a franchise owner as opposed to independently developing your own business?
I love the support and innovation of a franchise. Because our day-to-day operations are locally controlled, we employ local full-time staff, which consists of some of the most phenomenal women in the Tulsa area. We use cutting-edge products and equipment and having the recognizable brand are all great positives from a franchise for me. I also love the support of fellow owners; they are a great sounding board for new ideas.
3: What are your hopes for the business over the next five years?
Over the next five years, I want to continue to grow and grow profitably. I want to continue to improve our tools and find new ways to deliver the best service. I want to continue our history of employee retention and happiness and maintain our status as the No. 1 housecleaning service.
I also want to find new ways to improve our clients' lives and help them find more family time.
4: How did the professional home-cleaning business fare during the economic downturn? What is business like now?
We saw a bit of dip. While we were still needed as our clients were busier and working longer and harder, they took advantage of our ability to customize cleaning and maybe skipped guest rooms or adjusted their cleaning frequency. Now, they are breathing a little easier and we are seeing strong growth.
This is partially because of our focus to deliver fantastic service and vigilant full-time quality control. We took the economic downturn as an opportunity to refocus our energy on quality, taking our office completely green and eco-friendly and finding new ways to get homes clean. We also found new avenues of revenue to help our clients minimize stress such as washing dishes, running a load of linens and putting toys away.
5: What are some easy, quick cleaning tips that people can use to instantly improve their home's appearance?
Use a laundry basket to go around and pick up the "stuff" lying around this house. With a laundry basket, you can pick everything up at once and then make one trip to each room to put everything up. Start using microfiber cloths to clean. Not only do they grip and land on the dust and dirt, but they also require less product, which will save you money and time.
Beware of clutter busters; a neat home gives a sense of cleanliness. Keep cleaning wipes in bathrooms for a quick wipe down of sinks and counters. To give your home a fresh smell, sprinkle baking soda on your carpet to help absorb odors the night before company arrives. Vacuum in the morning to leave your carpet smelling fresh.
To make your home smell like you have been baking, put a pot of water with sugar and cinnamon on the stove to simmer before your guests arrive.
STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World