Merry Maids: The Home Cleaning Service To Be Careful Around | Homeer

Merry Maids: The Home Cleaning Service To Be Careful Around


Competitor Insight

Header image of Merry Maids: The Home Cleaning Service To Be Careful Around

My name is Chance Herriage and as the founder of Homeer, I spend a lot of time keeping track of our competitors. For the most part I have watched as the cleaning industry evolved. But in the last years, there's been one competitor strayed away from their initial mission.

This blog post is part of a series called 'Competitor Insights'. This series dives into every close competitor of ours. Then goes into the details of what sets them apart from the way we do things at Homeer.

Many are successful businesses that claim a large part of the home cleaning industry. But to have winners, you also have to have losers. Right now in December of 2020, there are a few companies that we can watch fade into the books of history.

Today, we are looking at Merry Maids. For that we are diving into the transition from superiority to mediocrity.

Note from Chance: It is important to note that at the time of writing this post the cleaning services operated by ServiceMaster split into: ServiceMaster Clean, ServiceMaster Restore, and Merry Maids which are all now managed by Roark Capital Management. Each company a unique speciality they offer, but the focus of this post is Merry Maids.

Now, before getting into this post I must mention one thing. Homeer is not and has not been perfect at any time and that's not what I expect. The expectation for a cleaning service is that they are there for their clients. Not for the potential monetary gain following the interaction.

The massive slide of Merry Maids is not an assumption.

Previous employee of theirs aren't the only source of these reports. The tone used in the content intended for their clients isn't the only way. Even the long list of reviews echoing the same issues are not the end. The issues that Merry Maids has created for themselves are not only obvious, but public.

Today I am going to dive into every aspect of why Merry Maids is no longer the best cleaning service in the area.

That can seem like a bold claim to bust out of the gate with so we aren't going to stall and delay. Let's get into the meat of the topic: What happened to Merry Maids?

To understand the change we need to understand where they once stood.

When I started Homeer, Merry Maids was the #1 competitor in my mind. It wasn't until I dug deeper into who they are and what they stand for that my perception evolved. So today while I may present my opinions I would love to hear if you have contrasting opinions. Contrary to Merry Maids, we love to see conversation created around our blog posts. So if you leave a comment you can be sure that we will respond.

We are now ready to uncover the details of the struggle-filled years Merry Maids clients have endured..

Table of Contents

    Inconsistent standards and results received when scheduling a cleaning service with Merry Maids

    Working with a franchised cleaning company offers many benefits to the owner of that franchise. But the owner-benefits are where the benefits end. In many scenarios, clients will receive more consistent cleaning when chosen someone local.

    Let me explain.

    While two franchised locations may look similar, we cannot assume that the quality will be the same. The quality of a cleaning will always come down to the people that are delivering that cleaning. At Homeer we understand that. That is why we follow the same thorough training process with every team member.

    By doing this we know that although our locations are 118 miles apart, the cleaning delivered is the same. That becomes clear when reading reviews of both locations.

    With our most recent review at our Midland, Texas branch saying:

    "We have a 6 bedroom house with 6 very different children in each. Our cleaner has taken the time to get to know each person and what each of us like in our own space. She always goes above and beyond."

    and then this review from a cleaning service delivered in Lubbock, Texas:

    "They did an amazing job. I would recommend them 1000%. We’ve got 7 kids and they put in the elbow grease to make the house shine like new. I would rebook them in a heartbeat!!"

    Very similar reviews, right? That's because at Homeer we have a solid quality assurance procedure. With this we make sure that our quality never decreases and if it does, we are the first to know.

    But when we look at Merry Maids we see a situation that I would consider a stark comparison. For example, in a recent review you left for Merry Maids you read:

    "Absolutely the worst! We had them come out twice to get a “professional clean” and still had dirt on the floors. Well, I guess they at least wiped the food off the counter that they missed the first time. These people are awful!! Don’t waste your money. I wouldn’t be surprised if all of the good reviews left here were from the employees."

    One review does not determine the status or quality of a business. To start we can look at the raw results of a few locations near our locations. Let's start by looking at the Merry Maids location in Lubbock, Texas.

    The reviews of the Lubbock Merry Maids branch leave a lot to desired.

    If we are being honest, 3.4 is not a horrible rating, but let's do a little math. If they have 3.4 out of 5 stars that means they have a 6.8 out of 10. If we increase that to a scale of 100, would you accept anything that has a success rate lower than 70%? Very few would. Our goal with a maid service should never be to find someone that is "good enough".

    But, not all Merry Maids have such a poor rating. If Merry Maids was truly as bad as their ratings then they would not be national. They wouldn't maintain such a controlling part of the industry.

    When we look at Merry Maids of Midland & Odessa, we can see that they deliver a higher level of quality. You don't have to do much looking to see the results are very inconsistent.

    The aggregated reviews of Merry Maids Midland & Odessa show that this location is capable of delivering stunning quality.

    If we go to the website of a company that compiles all reviews we get a far more clear image of where Merry Maids stands with their clients:

    The reviews for Merry Maids on SiteJabber could not be much worse.

    When looking at a website like SiteJabber we can see that Merry Maids definitely doesn't want their clients reading or leaving reviews. 1.14 stars is a horrible rating and not one that you should give a chance and test the waters of.

    It's clear Merry Maids is not concerned with convincing their clients that they can trust them. You can see this without any possibility of misinterpretation by the reviews that they've included on their website.

    Look at the review they show when you are most interested. If a national chain with thousands of reviews can't show me any better than that, is there better?

    Overall the clients of Merry Maids don't seem to be too happy...

    It would be a mistake to hope that your experience could be miles better than those that left a one-star review. Merry Maids being private about the improvements implemented makes it very difficult to determine anything gets fixed. As far as we know, the issues could be fading into the abyss when given enough time. Instead of crafting a solution, it appears many Merry Maids franchisees choose to dodge the conflict. That is not okay to me and definitely not to any Merry Maids client has had an issue before.

    It's a perplexing situation the see. Especially when we factor in the situation of Merry Maids being included in a business acquisition for $1.553 billion...

    Roark Capital Management acquired Merry Maids in October of 2020

    On October 1st of 2020, Roark Capital Management purchased Merry Maids as part of an acquisition for over one and a half-billion dollars. That is a ton of money, but that's not what's important about this acquisition. The important part is the track record of the companies purchased by Roark.

    Before diving in it's important we know who Roark Capital Management is. On their Wikipedia page we see:

    "Roark Capital Group is an American private equity firm with over $19.0 billion in assets under management. The firm is focused on leveraged buyout investments in middle-market companies, primarily in the franchise/multi-location, restaurant and food, health and wellness, and business services sectors."

    To me, this is my least favorite type of business in the world. Based on every public statement available, the mission and image of Roark is easy to understand. They are a group that use money to dominate the market instead of offering the best service. When you look at the long list of companies they own, that becomes undeniable...

    Almost every business in this picture has seen a drastic decrease in quality...

    Arby's: Everyone knows that unless you're in the "mood" for Arby's, it's the last place you're going to eat. With poor service and low-quality food, Arby's is nothing to crave.

    Take 5: For years Bolton Oil was the controlling company of oil changes in Lubbock, Texas. Then, Roark made the acquisition and Take 5 raised their prices and lowered the quality.

    Look at this email Take 5 recently sent addressing the mistakes that they are making...

    I of course responded to this email, but also of course, never received any kind of response. If this isn't a sign that Roark managed companies are lagging behind, I'm not sure what is.

    To be transparent with you, I could not think the practices of Roark are any more of a joke. The prices rose by over forty-percent while expecting every client to stay silent. This here is the perfect example of what is soon to come to Merry Maids and all their clients.

    Jamba Juice: With Roark Capital Management in charge many of the most popular drinks and extra-options vanished. In the name of minimizing the catalog needed, Roark sliced their menu without decreasing the prices or service... In fact, the prices rose to an even higher level. All in the name to make more money...

    It's unfortunate considering Roark Capital Management as a real competitor. Though it's not all doom and gloom. That's because they bought Merry Maids to solve their problem of money, not to solve the problems experienced by Merry Maids clients.

    If you can't see what they stand for let me see if this quote highlights it a little better:

    "The New Jersey State Investment Council, which manages investments in seven public pension funds, committed up to $100 million to the private equity firm’s latest fund in 2012 after the agency’s staff cited Roark’s “impressive track record” and strong returns."

    The key thing to take away from that being "impressive track record and strong returns." You can see that there is no mention of "an increase in quality which brought more growth." The goal will never be to improve the service delivered. The goal will always be to improve the amount of profit made per booking.

    Roark knows how to raise profit and that's great for them, but for clients this is a worst-case scenario. Not because it's impossible to learn the cleaning industry. Because it's impossible to deliver the level of quality deserved when entering the industry for the wrong reasons.

    When reading a profile written on Neal Aronson, the founder of Roark I was greeted by:

    "They found a company in turmoil."

    "'The franchisees hated the company,' says Romaniello, now a Roark managing partner. Most of Carvel’s resources had been diverted to its supermarket business, which angered franchisees. There hadn’t been a new flavor in five years or a new product in eight. “I called Neal and said, ‘What have you gotten me into?’” Romaniello says."

    And this is the reason Roark has acquired Merry Maids. Because they see a business that is not only hated by their franchisees, but also by their clients. Plus, the world is going through the largest modern-day pandemic in history. So of course the opportunistic business owners will rise from their tunnels as Roark has. It was inevitable that a very large company enter the cleaning industry. But it is not so likely that Merry Maids be the company to bring changes needed in the home cleaning industry.

    Now, some may argue that this thinking is me being naive and hopeful. Hopeful that a massive competitor with large sums of money wouldn't appear. It's vital to note that I am not concerned with the market share that Merry Maids holds. I am confident they will lose a major part of their control in the coming years by refusing to modernize. My concern being, soon clients will pay more for less to a company that only cares about the profit margin.

    Again, this is not an assumption. When any business goes through a change like this, things in management are sure to change. When acquiring any business the first thing on the list is to increase profits. All acquisitions must include this step to cover the cost of the investment made.

    In the cleaning industry, there are very few ways to increase your profit margins. And once you remove all the horrible options you're left with a shortlist of still-bad options.

    1. Adjust the pay of the employees of this cleaning service

    2. Adjust the time that employees have to complete the cleaning

    3. Adjust supplies and tools used for the cleaning

    While there are still several other small things to save money. There is not much beyond those three. At least not much that will have enough of an impact to make a dent in the margins of a company worth tens-of-millions.

    So, likely you will see all three of these options implemented, and from what we can see, it's already begun.

    Already when we look at the cleaning job openings they have posted the pay is far below what we would expect to see. For example, if we take a look at the pay for a cleaner that is working during the night you see:

    $9.50 to $10.00 per hour for a cleaner that works during the night. That's awful. At Homeer the starting pay for a night employee is $15.00 and that is one of the many reasons that we know you will receive a higher quality cleaning service with Homeer.

    The pay wage of up to $10 per hour is horrible and incredible at the same time. How Merry Maids even find employees they trust and that are happy at that wage is beyond surprising.

    We know Roark coming in and taking control of Merry Maids isn't going to be a massive revolution. It will be a series of inspiration-empty penny-pinching activities to drive down costs. Now Homeer, a company not even worth a million dollars, can surpass the quality of a company valued at one billion dollars.

    If we expected the same level of difference in the quality of cleaning that we see in the value of the companies, Roark would be ushering in a new way of cleaning and a new definition of "clean" along with it. But, I won't see that and neither will any client of Merry Maids.

    This laughable aspect of Merry Maids is not dependent on the clients, the employees, or the franchisees though. This part of the "Merry Maids Issue" came from the highest-level management. So this is not an issue that can be outrun by using a different Merry Maids franchise. This is a corporate issue that stems through every Merry Maids franchise operating. Not even the franchisees can escape it and they are the ones in charge!

    ServiceMaster released the transition to Terminix to investors on October 1st, 2020. But, we aren't worried about their investor experience. I worry about the experience of one that has scheduled a cleaning service with Merry Maids. Going to Merry Maids independent website we see nothing mentioning the acquisition.

    When we check their blog: nothing.

    When we check their social media: nothing.

    When we check their email list: nothing.

    The radio silence exemplifies the aspects of Merry Maids that I have been covering in this blog post. Merry Maids exists to make money, not to give their clients the best cleaning service. At this point that is beyond clear. Now, there may be some franchises that are wonderful, but today we are talking about Merry Maids as a whole.

    So, what does that mean for Merry Maids clients? Well, it's pretty straight forward. The situation for Merry Maids clients will remain the same.

    Again, Roark purchasing Merry Maids is only good for Roark. No one else benefits from this acquisition. In the end, the employees of Roark aren't the ones with their feet on the ground. It's the Merry Maids employees so let's not dwell and continue to the next topic.

    No enforced company-wide procedures

    A massive downside with using a franchised service is that you never know if every location is the same. For certain types of businesses the small differences don't have determining impacts. Yet, in the cleaning industry a small difference can result in a result that is incomparable.

    Planning to schedule with a franchise to get the same level of service everywhere, is a plan with holes. With as few words as possible: We cannot have faith in the consistency.

    It's quite a unique situation to be in. There are few industries where company-wide procedures have such a large impact on the service.

    For example, we all have a favorite franchise restaurant. But the thing about those is that you can go to another and get identical service with identical dishes. That's because the routine is repeatable and does not demand that employee have a lot of experience. Most procedures don't even need the ability to a unique experience to every client.

    This is not the case in the cleaning industry. Training at a cleaning service everything is detail-oriented and reliant on the team members. The management of a cleaning service can be wonderful, but without the proper training and team members it won't matter.

    At a restaurant, the waitress can be horrible, but if the chef is great you will still have a wonderful dish. Unfortunately, that does not carry into the cleaning industry. This is not a situation where a cleaning service can have cleaners that do not deliver the expected service while still delivering a "great" experience. That is not possible under any circumstances. The quality of the clean is the same as the food on your plate at a restaurant. Those and those are the key determining factors of these situations, aren't they? Knowing this, we know that Merry Maids clients will now have to jump through even more hoops..

    You can see this is the situation by reading a few of the reviews that have left recently on the pages of Merry Maids.

    In this review you can see that something broke and this client struggled to get it replaced or even get a hold of someone in charge. Is that representative of a company-wide procedure?

    Without enforced company-wide procedures any service can find themselves in situations like this.

    In this review you can see that the cleaning team rarely got the areas that the client had mentioned. As the owner of a cleaning company I understand that things do happen to slip through the cracks now and then, but not when pointed out by the client. You have to do better than that as a cleaning service serving your local community. Is this review representative of a company-wide procedure?

    Even with special attention and communication having been put towards fixing the issues this Merry Maids client still never received the cleaning they wanted...

    In this review you can see the downside of Merry Maids paying their employees such a low hourly wage. But that's not all. In this review, you can also see that there is no form of consistency or shared finishing expectations. Is this representative of a cleaning service that has a company-wide procedure?

    Every company has bad days and that can result in bad reviews. But, a company having a bad year or years is not excusable. It appears the situation has become much worse in the last years.

    It is common practice to have your franchise "audited" by corporate. This is the process to ensure that all the routine items are being done to the expected quality. But for some reason, this seems to be where Merry Maids begins to break down.

    Corporate-level management of a franchised restaurant devote a lot of time to QA. With monthly or weekly check-ins, quality stays high while checking that no issues arise. It's a standard management procedure for any business with more than one location.

    With a little research you can see that Merry Maids operates without any kind of enforced quality assurance procedure. If one does happen to exist, the enforcing is not consistent. But, we likely won't ever have this answer as this is a topic guarded within the walls of Merry Maids.

    Based on the reviews of Merry Maids, it is difficult to believe they have an enforced QA policy, but what do you think? Do they have the quality assurance policy they need?

    Ridiculous cleaning service contracts and hidden fees

    While researching this section I got quite frustrated with Merry Maids. You will understand why when we look at what I found.

    Look at the experience this client had after signing a contract with Merry Maids. Contracts suck because the great service could be wonderful. That's stopped by the lack of assurance about the following cleanings. Even if you do get an assurance, you can't rest assured knowing they have a history of dodging client calls. This is what happens when a business forgets the value of trust and makes little effort to correct the issues.

    There is no reason for any cleaning service to sign a contract with a home cleaning client. The only situation where it makes sense to have a cleaning service contract is for a business. By having residential cleaning contracts, Merry Maids is locking you into a set schedule and rate. This is not to the benefit of you as there are still many other local cleaning companies that are cheaper and better available. Once again, this is only to the benefit of Merry Maids.

    What if Merry Maids runs a holiday promotion and you are already locked into a contract? Well, guess you can't use it? Or does it say in the contract? Or is it in the terms of service for this promotion? There is no reason to jump this many hurdles for a home cleaning service. A home cleaning service should save you time and the headache. Why can't Merry Maids offer that?

    By forcing you into a contract Merry Maids gains the ability to have a more consistent schedule. Maybe even convincing you to consider this a benefit. But you shouldn't. You should not be considering the schedule of your cleaner. No matter how amazing of a company they are, they are there to help you. It is not the other way around.

    The best cleaning service will focus on you and the cleaning service delivered not the paperwork. It is absurd and upsetting to hear how many of my Lubbock, Texas, and Midland, Texas community members were dragged into a contract with Merry Maids.

    I wish there was more to say on this aspect. But there isn't. It doesn't take many words to explain why having to sign a contract for a cleaning service is stupid and risky.

    So, if you get a quote from Merry Maids and they try and force you into a contract, tell them no. You may end up looking for your preferred cleaning service a little longer, but I promise you will thank me in the long run. It does not matter how many pages Merry Maids has on their website or how high they show in the results. For as long as Merry Maids continues to push contracts, we will all know they care about you and your cleaning less than the money you pay.

    If you're in this situation now you can find a lot of information about our recommended way of finding the absolute best cleaning service for you in our blog post: How To Find The Best Move-In Cleaning Service. That blog post does not tell you how to schedule with Homeer. Like I said, we are here to offer you real value so in that you can find a guide to find the best cleaning service for you.

    While pushing contracts was the nail in the coffin for me, it may not be you. So, we should keep moving to the next downside of scheduling a home cleaning with Merry Maids.

    Merry Maids cleaning services are astronomically priced

    When looking at many of the public reviews of Merry Maids you always come back to one thing: The high costs associated with a Merry Maids home cleaning.

    Note from Chance: I have never scheduled a cleaning service so all information he`re is public information found when researching Merry Maids and this type of information.

    Plus, we can't forget that is Roark's number one move to raise the prices for all new and existing clients.

    From this review left on Merry Maids you can see that a cleaning cost $350 for basic dusting and it still was not done to the expectations set by the team and client.

    Though, that could have just been a "bad day". That experience couldn't be consistent throughout all Merry Maids, right?. Well sadly for many Merry Maids clients, it is...

    This Merry Maids client scheduled a rent move-out cleaning to get everything sparkling. Instead, he received a half-done cleaning with the inability to ever have the cleaning completed to his satisfaction. That sucks...

    Renting move-in and move-out cleanings are a specialty of Homeer. Especially at our Lubbock, Texas branch where we have the constant moving in and moving out of college students at Texas Tech to clean up after. Instead of sticking busy students with the task of cleaning up their home, we have a consistent record of returning their home to perfection and sealing the assurance that they will get back their deposit.

    Do you think this Merry Maids client was happy when the home still wasn't ready to have a new tenant move in?

    This Merry Maids client scheduled a cleaning service for her mother. Instead of getting a wonderful service she was charged an unfair price (I doubt that was included on the quote) and received such a low-quality cleaning it would have been easier for her to clean herself. That's how you know a Merry Maids cleaning is expensive and of poor quality.

    This one broke my heart to see. Having started Homeer with the mission to help our community members I was sad to see I was too late. Instead of receiving a wonderful home cleaning for her mother, Merry Maids showed up, charged a price that was not fair, and then left the cleaning in a state that should not be considered clean.

    Situations like this should never be possible. With the right management, this never would have happened. But hey, that's another downside of using a franchised cleaning service. You have no idea who the franchise owner is and in most cases, they prefer it that way. The farther detached they are from the people and the closer they are the getting your money, the better. Or at least that's how the actions reflect upon the Merry Maids locations near us.

    This Merry Maids client had scheduled a cleaning but was met with floors that were anything but clean. So, with the expected contact to the owner, the issues were expected to be resolved, but instead the owner of their local Merry Maids chose to say they did not have the appropriate time.

    This here is another downside of booking your Lubbock, Texas home cleaning with Merry Maids. Because through all my research there have been many times that I've seen "no time limit" as well as "not enough time". It does not make sense for any company to say they "do not have time limits or budgets" while saying that they "did not have time".

    Of all issues happening, cleanings needing more than attention is one I understand. Because things on the schedule happen now and then which will result in bookings running longer than expected. Making the entire schedule need attention immediately. But, at Homeer we don't pass that issue off onto you or any of our clients due to a mistake/issue on our end.

    While Merry Maids will shorten the length of your cleaning service, Homeer will make sure that you don't even have to worry about issues like this. Homeer has the ability by making the necessary changes without having to change an aspect of your cleaning. It's a simple solution and one that you would expect to see from Merry Maids. Throughout this post, we've seen how easy it is to feel let down by Merry Maids. So, I am not quite sure why I expected to feel anything besides disappointment?

    This Merry Maids client had a small home with two team members cleaning and it still wasn't completed to her satisfaction. To me, this means one thing. The team members at Merry Maids Lubbock have not been trained on the best and fastest cleaning routines that result in the highest quality.

    Moving out cleanings are a beast of their own and they need true expertise. But, it's obvious their team members have not yet acquired that professionalism. A move-out cleaning should clean top-to-bottom with the goal to remove any sign of someone having lived in this home.

    • It should be so clean that you can eat off the floor.

    • It should be so clean that there is nothing left in the oven.

    • It should be so clean that there isn't even a smell when you open the refrigerator.

    • It should be so clean that you can open the tracks of your windows and not see a single speck of dirt.

    The expectations for a moving out clean are high. The odds of getting a Merry Maids team that can deliver to those expectations aren't so high. So, when requesting a quote from Merry Maids you are not only making the sacrifice to accept lower quality. You are making the sacrifice to pay more for subpar quality.

    Having professionals take care of your home cleaning is supposed to be there to help you and save you time. Do any of these reviews back-up the idea that a home cleaning with Merry Maids is affordable or of high quality?

    No online booking form so it's a pain to schedule your cleaning

    This blog post is written in 2020 and with that, we have had technology at our fingertips for over a decade. You would expect the biggest companies in the world to have modernized and made it easier for you to receive a better level of service, right? Well, not when you are a client of Merry Maids.

    Instead of modernizing with the rest of the world, Merry Maids has chosen to stay out-of-date. The most painful aspect of this being the enforcement of having to request a quote.

    I don't mean the act of getting a quote. I mean request a quote...

    Unfortunately, when you are a client of Merry Maids you cannot head to their website and schedule your clean with an upfront total. Instead, Merry Maids is going to hold the "potential total" hostage unless you're willing to have a Merry Maids employee look at your home.

    So, with the hostile pushing of their contracts, Merry Maids cannot offer an online booking form without a massive restructuring of how they operate.

    This means they would also have to go through all clients that are currently on contracts and either update or nullify them. Why you may think? Well, let's imagine the issues that are created when someone is on a contract when they go to schedule a booking without their contracted rate.

    Well, how would they even get their contracted rate?

    Would they enter some unique access code that they have to keep track of?

    Would you have the ability to update your cleaning request and "break" your contract?

    The list of questions that surround Merry Maids entering the 21st century is long. The ideal situation would be to create accounts for everyone, but again Merry Maids runs into an issue. Because for their lifetime, Merry Maids operated without accounts and all their clients have grown used to that. Having 100% of their clients move online will be an impossible feat. Instead, Merry Maids is left behind with the other cleaning services that refuse to update while the smaller cleaning services continue to grow.

    I am thankful for that.

    Even with Roark boasting a $19 billion valuation, I couldn't be less concerned about the position of Homeer and our ability to deliver a far better experience. Merry Maids has an enormous list of things they have to do before I will ever consider them a primary competitor again. It is only a matter of time until we outgrow their imagination and at the age of 23, I have more than enough to wait and watch the show play out.

    This is not a situation where they will accept 20% of their clients online and the other 80% still on the old ways. Merry Maids does not have the capability. At that point, it might as well be two separate businesses...

    Let me give you a metaphor...

    Choosing Merry Maids for your home cleaning is the same as choosing a 1927 Ford T-Model when racing against a 2020 Ford GT. It wouldn't even be a race. After the first lap of the race the Ford GT will be so far ahead the T-Model will feel alone. That, is not only my prediction, but my expectation for Merry Maids in the coming years.

    In summary, Merry Maids is a beautiful disaster. Sometimes, it is nice to throw on some high-beat piano music and look into the details of what these companies stand for.

    For example, at Homeer we value one thing over everything else always: honesty. Without complete transparency and honesty, it is hard for a local business to expand in the age of corporate-driven marketing. By being honest about our capabilities, mistakes, and lessons we have been able to extend more benefits to our clients. Being the owner of a business that has a solid mission is one thing. Being the owner of a business that actually delivers on that mission is indescribable. Do you think the investors of Merry Maids can say the same?

    Sure Merry Maids is more than 100 times the size of Homeer, but that's the beauty, isn't it? By using a local cleaning service you can forget about all these "cleaning industry" issues. They are not issues that are consistent throughout the cleaning industry. More often than not, the problems are actually "franchise cleaning company" issues.

    No online booking system so that you can log in and update your cleaning service

    Don't you love it when you have something planned and another thing comes up last minute and ruins your schedule? Of course, you don't, but your day doesn't have to be ruined when things like this happen.

    At Homeer you can log into your account and reschedule your cleaning service for the day and time that works best. You don't have to call and confirm the availability. You don't have to wonder if you will be charged fees. You don't have to wait for a team member to return a phone call.

    At Merry Maids though, the situation is quite different.

    When you are a client of Merry Maids you don't get the ability to log into your account and manage your booking. You can't log in and update the number of bedrooms you want to be cleaned from three to two. You can't log in and update the time you want from 9 am to 1 pm. You can't do any of that.

    You have to give them a call and hope that they answer. Then, if they don't you are given 30 seconds to give all the details in a quick voicemail. All this does is create miscommunication. So, Merry Maids will give you a call back hoping to get more information. Then, with that information and you still on the phone wasting more time they will check if they can work around your schedule.

    That's not how things should work at all and Merry Maids is a large part of the reason so many perceive the cleaning industry as "difficult to navigate". I understand the statement too. When you have such a large company that has such outdated practices it can be hard to see the smaller companies that are doing things differently for a different purpose.

    I mean, how many other companies or industries in your life do you have to deal with such backward thinking?

    • You can order dinner for six online in under 1 minute. Plus, you can log in and update your order before the food even shows up.

    • You can request a ride from a person you've never met and be in their car in less than 30 seconds. That is crazy and we are living in the future!

    • You can even go to the doctor and never even see them in person...

    • You can get an entire closet customized to your style without having to see anyone in person.

    • You can even request a U-Haul, pick it up, and drop it off all online.

    The world has evolved to use technology is assistive ways that make our lives easier, but Merry Maids refuses to update. Instead, they are okay with passing the struggle onto their clients without any plans to change that anytime soon. Don't believe me? Let's look at what CEO, Brett Ponton, said following the acquisition of Merry Maids: :

    “Terminix is moving ahead with a laser focus on being the preferred pest control company in the industry. We look forward to continuing to build on the progress underway to further enhance the customer experience that will drive consistent, profitable growth. We see tremendous potential to further capitalize on the powerful Terminix brand name, strong service culture, and significant scale to deliver greater value for all our stakeholders. Our talented team is energized and looks forward to forging even stronger connections with our customers and local communities.”

    Anywhere in that do you see any mention of the time spent defining and building Merry Maids? Nope. And that's pretty much what I expected to see. Knowing everything we do, we can see one big image of high-level Merry Maids employees being painfully aware of the issues while continuing to swindle clients contracts at insane prices.

    So should we plan on seeing an online booking form from Merry Maids anytime soon? Most definitely not.

    Then if we are never going to get an online scheduling form what do we have to live with?

    Well, right away you get to give Merry Maids your address since their prices are consistent across locations.

    I guess nothing matters as long as Merry Maids gets the address to your home, right? Wrong! If I was a potential client of Merry Maids this is all I would have had to seen to look elsewhere for my professional cleaning needs.

    This means that they need to know your address before they even ask your name. Do you get the feeling they care about you and your cleaning needs? I don't get that feeling, but I continued forward just to learn more about the experience a Merry Maids client goes through before even getting a quote or any real information...

    When share your address you are then taken to another very basic form:

    From this form we can tell that Merry Maids will not do any consideration of how they can help you before the quote.

    At Homeer, the second we pick up the phone we start thinking of ways that we can customize your cleaning to best fit you and the way you live. At Merry Maids, they don't care. They just want your contact info as fast as possible with as little friction as possible.

    I wish I was joking. But they've given us no way to give them the benefit-of-the-doubt. We've seen how lazy the standard procedures are and this quote request form is a perfect summary of Merry Maids as a whole: The bare minimum.

    Ignoring the hilarious lack-of-effort I continued and entered my personal information. After all, I'm here going through the research so that you don't have to.

    And then when you complete the request for a quote you are met by absolutely nothing.

    At this point, I couldn't believe it. I have never visited a website of such a large company that contains so little information. Not only was I not able to even guess what the total of my cleaning will be. I also have no idea when they will be reaching out or how they will be reaching out. Then, the next day comes and they call me as I get in the groove for work... Overall, I couldn't be more dissatisfied with myself for having considered Merry Maids a competitor for so long. They aren't a competitor to Homeer. They are just another company in the same industry.

    All in all, this is quite a bad setup to offer to any cleaning service client. If I was in the shoes of a standard client right now, you can bet your britches that I would never even consider working with Merry Maids again.

    Requires that you get a quote to be given just to receive a cleaning service

    The fact that Merry Maids forces you to request a quote is one thing. But receiving the quote is an entirely different subject. That's because the purpose of quotes is anything, but straightforward. At Homeer we don't offer quotes and instead, roll with flat-rate pricing based on your home. We don't need to come and confirm that we are capable of cleaning your home to perfection because we know we can. We don't need to come and check the status of your home and optimize profits because our primary focus is not the monetary return, but the quality of the cleaning you receive. At Homeer, we are firm believers that with the highest quality work possible, all money things will work themselves out. And to this point, that's shown to be incredibly true.

    But at Merry Maids, you don't get that confidence. Instead, you are asked to be given a quote by their team and allow for a team member to take a look around and determine everything that is needing to be cleaned. And this here is another aspect that Homeer largely deviates from the model Merry Maids has established. Instead of building a list of things to clean, we build a list of things that you do not want to be cleaned.

    Never, in all years of my experience have I had someone say:

    "Oh, I just want these left counters done you can leave the counters in my bathroom dirty."

    And that's because a clean home means it's clean from top-to-bottom in all areas. The areas and expectations haven't been cherry-picked to make the cleaning as easy as possible on the cleaner. The areas and expectations have been established to make sure that every single client receives the best possible cleaning with the lowest possible chance of something having been missed.

    You can see Merry Maids operates with the idea of building lists of things to clean by dissecting a review we looked at earlier. In that review we find the snippet:

    "Nothing was move[d] before dusting, they went around things and poorly at that, and the cost of a whopping $350."

    Had the team of Merry Maids gone into this home cleaning with the expectations to get every single item sparkling clean this never would have been possible. Simply put, having to wait for a quote just so they can see what they will be cleaning is hilarious. Do you think it illustrates much confidence when "professionals" have to see the condition before believing in their abilities?

    Still, let's pretend you chose to go forward with getting a quote. Now you will have to not only wait for the team member to come out, but also to come and get a walkthrough of your home, and then finally getting your quote. Plus, since not all Merry Maids operate the same depending on the location you've called you may or may not get your quote at the time of the meeting, the same day, or even the next day.

    Then, with a quote, what do we know?

    • Do we know that price is set in stone?

    • Do we know if there are any hidden fees or fines?

    • Do we know if and how we can reschedule our booking?

    • Do we know if we will be getting the same team members every time?

    • Do we know if there is an easy way to report a quality issue?

    • Do we know if there is an easy way to know when the next cleaning service is coming up?

    • Do we know if they send updates as the cleaning progresses?

    • Do we know if there is anything we need to do to be better prepared for the cleaning?

    We don't know anything and Merry Maids is doing nothing to make it easier to find those answers. It's an unacceptable situation, especially from a company worth so much. Although you may be able to find a few of your answers with an extensive research period there is no reason that should be necessary.

    From my experience, there is only one reason a company chooses to implement difficult scenarios for their clients to navigate while being secretive about the way they operate... It appears having the goal to give their clients a better service was ruled out if the implementation process took any effort. It all comes down to maximizing their profit margin and we've already confirmed that was the goal all along for Merry Maids.

    So, we can't be surprised by Merry Maids following this practice, can we? They were one of the pivotal companies in establishing very low expectations across the cleaning industry. The condition of the cleaning industry makes far more sense now that I understand the damage Merry Maids has been doing since 1979.

    Things that have to happen for me to consider Merry Maids a good cleaning service again

    Merry Maids was once a great company and we know that by the fact that they are one of the largest cleaning companies in America. That doesn't happen by accident. They've just gotten way off the path they started on.

    If I was a Merry Maids clients I would expect:

    • Remove the requirement of contracts to secure a rate.

    • The ability to schedule my cleaning service online.

    • An easy way to get to know that team member that will be in my home.

    • The ability to reschedule or cancel without the concern of losing my spot or paying fees.

    • Offer additional and tangible value beyond decreasing the amount of time cleaning takes.

    • Leadership that cares about the representation of their team.

    This list is not exhaustive and it cannot be. There are far too many things that need to be addressed to bring Merry Maids into the modern-day.

    We can't wait for Merry Maids to fix their issues and that is why I started Homeer: to give our local community members a cleaning service of such high quality they cannot imagine it any other way moving forward.

    Founded with these issues in mind I am determined to change that. That's why Homeer will:

    • Always keep you up to date on when a cleaning is coming soon.

    • Always operate with flat-rate prices so that no one has to worry about sudden price changes or fees.

    • Always keep our schedule flexible so that all community members can be taken care of on the best schedule for them.

    • Always offer a satisfaction guarantee as we are there to make the cleaning perfect.

    • Always have our website available so that any new or existing client can visit and schedule or update the home cleaning they need scheduled.

    The list of differences between Homeer and Merry Maids goes on endlessly. But, if you'd like to learn more about the driving factors of Homeer you can in our blog post at Personal Branding Is Like A Cheat Code For Your Small Local Service Businesses.

    You can schedule your Lubbock, Texas home cleaning or Midland, Texas home cleaning online in under 60 seconds with our booking form. But, at Homeer we understand that it can be difficult to find all your answers on a website. Especially if you have other things to be doing. So, you can reach us anytime at our headquarters phone number of +1 (432) 355-3171.

    In the end, the moral of the story is to save yourself all the time and frustration of schedule a cleaning with Merry Maids and find another cleaning company you can trust. You will experience nothing but disappointment.

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      Updated: 10/25/2021

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