Cleaning houses may seem like a dirty business. But for Scott and Cyndi Auer of Suwanee, it has become a life mission. The Auers opened a Molly Maid franchise in July 2010 covering Suwanee and surrounding areas. The business is off to a great start as evidenced by their recent recognition at the Molly Maid annual convention. They received the prestigious Rookie All Stars award for outstanding performance in the first year of business operation.
Meeting the Auers is like meeting a bundle of energy and passion wrapped with a pink bow. The color pink is used distinctively in the company branding. You'll find it in the uniforms, on the service vehicles, in the logo, and on the company website. Scott Auer wears his pink shirt with pride and says that his female customers like to see men in pink.
The business is a dream come true for Scott Auer to operate. He says, “We are cleaning people's homes, but we are really helping people with their lifestyle. Our service enables them to spend time elsewhere with their family.”
Scott Auer is quick to tell you that he is not doing the cleaning work, but he has on occasion to meet some logistical needs of the business. “It's hard work” Scott Zuer says. “My employees do it every day and do it really well. They get us where we are. Our customers love them.”
Scott Auer spent 23 years with Eastman Kodak and has a background in electrical engineering. His experience in kiosks and printed pictures from a camera card taught him the basics of running a business, because he was exposed various functions of the operation. Scott Auer left Kodak in 2008.
Rather than go back to corporate America to continue his career, Scott Auer chose to search for something different. He spoke to a franchise consultant to match his personality and interests with a business/franchise. This discovery process showed that he loves to meet people, he enjoys consultative selling, and that he wants to be interacting with customers in the community.
The consultant introduced Scott and Cyndi Auer to several franchise opportunities that matched his profile. After researching each of the options, they chose Molly Maid for two reasons: The company provides a framework and resources for running a cleaning business, and the company had just created a territory in the Suwanee area. Scott and Cyndi Auer already lived in Suwanee so the match was good fit for their lives. The territory goes as far south as Berkeley Lake and north to Buford.
July 19, 2010, was the first day. “In the beginning you don't know what you don't know.” says Scott Auer. “But you quickly learn what all it takes to run a small business” Cyndi Auer says. “We wanted to be able to work together in the community.“
To build his client base, he used some know-how from the packaged goods industry. He put on his pink shirt and went to visit his fellow choir members at Sugarloaf United Methodist Church. He offered them a free cleaning if they would give his service a try. He then made the same offer to the other residents in his neighborhood.
“This is a standard packaged goods practice” he says. “Think free cereal box in the Sunday paper. You have to trust and know that your product is good. You have to believe in your employees.”
His offer worked. It generated his initial client base and started a series of referrals for him. In fact, the system worked so well that it's now replicated by other Molly Maid startups.
If life wasn't busy enough for Scott and Cyndi Auer during the first year of the business, they added more excitement by tying the knot in marriage. She works as an executive assistant, but also helps him with their business. She has helped to mold the culture for the employees.
“I wanted to create an inviting environment where the employees feel appreciated.” she says. “You establish relationships with them and they become like family.”
Right now the Auers employ 12 service professionals and an office manager. Scott Auer does in-house estimates to deliver a clear statement of work. He gives a written estimate with a custom description of the work to be performed. The service teams will receive this customer profile information when they they get their daily jobs. They don't sell a standard product, it's a custom agreement to match the need of the customer. “We don't require contracts. We want our customers to want us back because they are happy with the jobs” he says.
Suwanee residents will also find Scott Auer engaged with the community in volunteer service. Scott is a member of the Suwanee 20/20 steering committee. The 20/20 group is composed of Suwanee residents who are participating in small-group roundtable discussions to help Suwanee officials with the strategic planning process for the City.
For more information on the Auers and Molly Maid, visit them on the Internet.