Greater Tulsa Reporter
FAMILY BUSINESS: Amy Bates, Merry Maids franchise owner, stands near the cleaning company’s offices at 5656 S. Mingo Rd. Bates’ parents purchased a Merry Maids franchise when Bates was young. Bates began taking over the family business 12 years ago.
GTR Newspapers photo
Gathered up by her parents in 1983 and moved to Tulsa from a small town in Minnesota, Redwood Falls to be exact, little did Amy know that her life would take an unpredictable turn. Her father, a dentist, and her mother, an art teacher, bought a Merry Maids franchise upon arriving in Tulsa.
The talk around the dinner table each evening concerning cleaning, clients, and business piqued Amy’s interest and before long, she was hooked.
Before joining her family’s company, Amy worked as a nanny outside of New York City. “That was a wonderful and interesting experience,” she says.
Another job which shaped her life was at St. Michael’s Alley. “I was a hostess when I was 15. I loved it and have great memories of that time. I think I drank so much coffee with a couple of girlfriends that they figured hiring me would get their money right back,” she remembers fondly.
Her career in eldercare with Service Master furthered her desire to continue in the field of caring for others.
These jobs were integral to Amy’s work ethic, compassion, and why she stands strong with her Merry Maids business.
Greater Tulsa Reporter: How did your Merry Maids business grow?
Amy Bates: I originally developed the quality control role. We were one of the first offices to create that position. I then moved into sales and marketing. I worked at home handling that while my boys were very young and then took over managing more of the business. Twelve years ago, I began buying the business and taking over administration duties. Those experiences taught me every aspect of the business. From there we began focusing on keeping up with our clients’ changing needs. Our continuous training program has kept our customers loyal and their referrals constant.
We consistently are at the top of the “Best of the Best” and “A-List” as well as “Tulsa Kids Family Favorite” year after year. The Tulsa Regional Chamber named us “Family Owned Business of the Year.”
We take great joy in giving back and have donated tens of thousands of dollars worth of cleaning to Alzheimer’s patients in honor of my father and to Breast Cancer Assistance Program. I also serve on the Board of the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless and serve on the Board of Advisors for the Tulsa Regional Chamber’s Small Business Connection.
We consistently seek out the best products and equipment to deliver the best results. I travel to the International Home and Housewares Show, seeking out new tools. We are always improving and learning to deliver the best service possible. I love what I do, and I think it shows in our service.
GTR: Why do people come to you?
AB: Our team members are cleaning professionals that receive continued training. We have full-time quality control and are small enough to know our clients personally. We guarantee our service, never have a contract, and use the best products available: the “Better Life” line.
All team members are employees, which means we carry proof of coverage that does not stop at “liability.” We have care, custody and control policies, so you can trust your keys.
We constantly educate our staff, taking great pride in offering housekeeping services. We change and wash linens, straighten, and assist in picking up children’s toys. We are consistent and strive to always send the same team.
GTR: What fuels your career?
AB: I love what I do. It is awesome to make the lives of others better. Improving, giving back to the community, developing our teams, it’s great. I am surrounded by wonderful people each day, and each day is different. My management team affords me the ability to give back my time to our community.
GTR: What fuels you in general?
AB: Giving, gardening, outdoor activities. I love finding ways to make life easier. I suppose it was due in part to what I see as work and balance. I think there is so much pressure to keep things looking perfect. I started my blog “Don’t Look Under the Rug” and have appeared in Good Housekeeping magazine as a contributor as well as on the Today Show. I love to travel and enjoy taking my boys on a road trip each year.
GTR: What’s your purpose in life?
AB: I firmly believe it is my responsibility to leave everything better than I found it. Whether it be the lives of my staff, my clients’ homes, or a committee I serve on. Even down to choosing happiness. I love watching our sons grow and develop, hoping they will grow up to do great things in the world. I am so proud of them, they give me purpose on a tough day.