Embarking on Franchising
To grow the business, Clutterbusters embarked on franchising. “We decided in 2005 to explore the possibility,” according to Betsy. “We spoke to a renowned franchise consultant and they told us they thought we would make an ideal franchising candidate. We were looking to expand out and franchising seemed to be the quickest way to achieve that goal.”
Betsy’s husband Rick handles the franchising aspect of the business while Betsy continues to take care of the day-to-day activity of the corporate office. Today, Clutterbusters have 2 successful franchisees with more on the way. Their goal is to have 10 franchises by the end of 2007.
Clutterbusters offer franchisees a part of their professionally developed and proven system, such as:
- Training in their Maryland headquarters location
- An appointment-booking and organizer recruitment website and national toll-free call center
- Custom designed software for scheduling, billing, payroll, and client management
- Franchise program and manuals
- Protected, exclusive territories
- Use of Clutterbusters trademarks, logos, and the name
- Support of an experienced team
Clutterbusters welcome home-based entrepreneurs with the low cost of entry to their franchise. Clutterbusters franchise requires minimal equipment and capital investment to start. Prior experience is not required and the franchisee is not required to perform the organizing themselves (they can hire organizers).
However, franchising is not without challenges. Betsy cited the following as the biggest difficulties they faced as they opened their business to others: “Managing expectations, training, generating business for the new franchisors, learning how to overcome obstacles, the fact that everything is new again—it’s a brand new company.”
The Next Steps for Clutterbusters
Betsy plans to eventually grow the business to about 300+ franchises in the U.S. and then expand internationally. Their strict adherence to high quality service to achieve 100% client satisfaction, marketing technique, their business name, their lighthearted and fun approach to this business, and hiring only top quality organizers are the main factors that propelled Clutterbusters to success.
While Clutterbusters has not yet reached the million-dollar revenue mark, the business has given Betsy innumerable rewards and satisfaction.
She now has more time to spend with her family and see her children grow. As Betsy said, “I have the freedom to go to my children’s’ school events, but I work long hours—sometimes 15 hours a day.” She derives her greatest satisfaction from seeing clients thrilled by their performance and get jobs done.
The most important lesson she learned from creating a very successful business is that “if I can do it, anybody can do it.” In terms of successfully working with your spouse, she advised, “Make sure you have time outside the business to do fun things, and don’t talk about business all the time.”
Her lesson to other startup entrepreneurs? “Entrepreneurship is not for everybody. It is harder work than a 9-5 job, but more rewarding. It can be very frustrating and stressful at times. If you believe in your concept, and you get positive feedback from others, chances are you have something that can be successful. Try to find a partner. You need to give it at least 1 or 2 years before you start making real money. Don’t give up too early—keep plugging away, and put in long, hard hours, and you’ll have a good chance at success.”