There’s No Place Like [a Clean] Home


By Nona Phinn

Sandra Watson, owner of Merry Maids of Metro in Nova Scotia, Canada, talks about what makes her business worthy of a BBB International Torch Award for Ethics.

Our homes hold a special place in our hearts. Home is the place where we can be our true selves with no judgment. It’s our sanctuary. When the doors shut behind us, the outside remains outside.

However, there is one company for which doors seem to remain open. For over 35 years, we have welcomed Merry Maids into our homes as it has provided us with cleanliness and the gift of time.

In 2016, Merry Maids of Metro in Nova Scotia, Canada, won a Better Business Bureau (BBB) International Torch Award for Ethics not just for what it does but for how it does it. We chatted with Sandra Watson, owner of the franchise, to learn more about how this company tends to what we hold so dear to our hearts.

We understand every homeowner has a busy life to keep up with. We take pride in giving our customers one less thing to worry about and more time for themselves.”

Phinn: Can you give us a little background on Merry Maids’ history?

Watson: Merry Maids has been around since 1979. It started in Omaha, Nebraska, but our Canadian head office is in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Today, Merry Maids has just over 900 franchises in North America that reach approximately 300,000 homes. Globally, we have thriving locations in Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

Phinn: What do Merry Maids’ customers want most from the company, and how do you meet that need?

Watson: More often than not, customers need a break. Whether that break comes in the form of not wanting to clean up around the house, having a bit more time to get other things done, or just taking a hiatus from cleaning for a while, Merry Maids is here to help. We know our customers have plenty of things in their lives that demand their attention, and we can cross cleaning off their to-do lists.

Phinn: What is Merry Maids’ customer service philosophy?

Watson: Trust is first and foremost. It’s important that our customers feel comfortable with our teams in their homes. There are a few ways we do this.

First, we meet with each customer to assess their home before making our recommendations, ensuring they get the customized, detailed cleaning they need. By offering a fixed rate, we guarantee our prices remain steady from cleaning to cleaning — eliminating the worry of fluctuating prices.

Next, we explain how each maid is carefully screened before being trained, bonded, and insured to protect homes during a cleaning. If an accident occurs, we handle the details so a customer’s home insurance is never needed.

Lastly, we use tools that work to get a home professionally clean. From our microfiber cloths designed to trap more dust and dirt for easy removal to our proprietary cleaning solution which has been made to avoid the use of harsh chemicals, we ensure accountability on our end, every time. We even use color-coded cloths to avoid cross-contamination between rooms — which means we won’t use the same cloth in the bathroom and kitchen. It’s just one more way we maintain our customers’ trust.

Phinn: What are you most proud of when you think of Merry Maids?

Watson: Personally, I find it great that Merry Maids is committed to teamwork. Franchisees can openly communicate with each other to ask for advice or share information — even if they haven’t formally met in person. Being able to uphold this sense of inclusivity is something I’m very proud of, especially since we carry this forward into helping clean the homes of those battling cancer with the Cleaning For A Reason organization. With Merry Maids, we get to be part of a positive community, which spills over into the local communities where franchises are located. I’m proud to be part of a team that focuses on working together to achieve something great.

Phinn: Why do you believe Merry Maids of Metro won a BBB International Torch Award?

Watson: I believe that BBB saw in Merry Maids all the positive attributes we see in ourselves. From providing a quality service to putting our customers first, we love what our business stands for. Additionally, being able to give back through Cleaning For A Reason is something we all take pride in. It’s always nice to hear from customers how we’ve helped make their lives just a little easier, and we always feel lucky to be part of that. We choose a couple local charities each year to support. We love to give back to our community. We wouldn’t conduct our day-to-day business any other way, but it’s especially nice of BBB to recognize our commitment and dedication.

Phinn: When you hear “The Customer Is Always First: Walking a Lifetime in Your  Customers’ Shoes,” what comes to mind?

Watson: It’s a statement that really rings true for us at Merry Maids. We understand every homeowner has a busy life to keep up with. We take pride in giving our customers one less thing to worry about and more time for themselves. That’s why we offer a 100-percent-satisfaction guarantee. If a customer ever feels like we missed something, we want their voices to be heard and to handle it as soon as possible. Communication is important for any relationship to thrive, and we make time to listen to our customers. We know what it’s like to walk in our customers’ shoes, and that’s another reason we help them get off their feet.  

Nona Phinn is a marketing and brand strategist with over 10 years of hands-on experience in all aspects of marketing. Her diverse background provides her the skills necessary to develop and drive integrated marketing programs and strategy.