Jesse Zook purchased a Cold Stone Creamery franchise as a college graduate in 2004, with the hopes of finding an alternative to a corporate career.
But after realizing he wasn’t interested in the food industry, owning storefronts in shopping malls, or staying open late at night, he continued on his search for a business that he’d enjoy running. Two years later, he opened his first MaidPro location, a franchise company that provides home-cleaning services, in Philadelphia.
“Home services are much more of a nine-to-five situation,” he said, adding that home-cleaning businesses also require low capital costs and minimal store build-out.
Since then, Zook and his wife, Madeleine Park, have opened three additional MaidPro locations and expanded into three other franchises. They own two mosquito- and tick-control locations of FlyFoe and one exterior home-cleaning location of Men in Kilts, and they’re in the process of opening two closet design and installation franchises of Clozetivity.
Their Philadelphia-based empire of MaidPro, FlyFoe, and Men in Kilts did more than $2 million in annual sales last year. The pair booked just shy of $250,000 in profits, while the rest went toward business expenses and additional portfolio investments.
Insider spoke with Zook and Park about their monthly business budget, including when to invest in additional business opportunities and how to establish safety funds.
Insider has verified the founders’ sales, revenue, and budget with documentation.
Here’s the budget breakdown
This table reflects Zook and Park’s monthly expenses from October. It shows combined expenses from all three brands and their respective locations.
The cost of goods sold, or COGS, is the primary expense for Zook and Park. The COGS expenses vary slightly for each company, but the largest COGS expense across all franchises is payroll, which includes tax and workers’ compensation, Zook said.
COGS payroll goes toward employees hired for client jobs—like house cleaning and pest control—as opposed to corporate, managerial, or administrative salaries, which are paid for with the non-COGS and professional services budgets.
Aside from payroll, COGS also includes any supplies or equipment used to complete a job, such as cleaning materials and truck fuel.
Zook and Park also pay almost $10,000 monthly in-office expenses, including rent, utilities, and office supplies.
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Invest in additional opportunities to grow your business
Growth was always the goal for Zook and Park. For franchise owners, that can happen in multiple ways, they said. One avenue is through purchasing multiple locations of the same franchise brand. Another is by purchasing different franchise brands. And a third is by expanding franchise territory, or the area of land in which you’re authorized to operate. Zook and Park used all three methods to expand.
“That happens naturally as you conquer your current territory,” said Park, referring to growing through additional territories. “You end up buying more territory and you grow that way.”
The pair also wanted to diversify their portfolio because providing a variety of services would help protect against failure, Park said. In 2018, they opened their first FlyFoe location, and in 2021, their first Men in Kilts.
With a diverse list of offerings and an existing list of MaidPro clients, they were able to create a local empire of home services, Park said. “We already had a huge core database of MaidPro clients that we could market to for other services that they’re going to need,” she added. “That really lowers our cost for finding new clients.”
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Build rainy-day and opportunity funds with additional cash
Zook tries to maintain a rainy-day fund, which covers three months of fixed costs, for moments of need.
Once that buffer is in place, he advises entrepreneurs to look at their stage of business to determine where any miscellaneous money should be spent next, if any at all.
“Early on, you need sales above anything else,” he said. “After that, anything you can do to invest in your people would be the next step.”
But when it’s time to expand your business beyond current offerings, miscellaneous money can also be spent on new equipment, territory expansion, or additional benefits, such as a company car, he said. When owning a franchise, it’s important to invest in all of these aspects because it will increase your exit value, which is oftentimes the goal for franchise owners, he added.
In order to prepare for exit down the road, it’s important to build upon the brand name through meaningful growth and additions, which can increase exit value, he said.
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