Merry Maids® Mother-Daughter Leadership Duo
Recently, Merry Maids® had the privilege of sitting down with mother-daughter multi-generation owners, Alex Ahaev (mother) and Michelle Gulati (daughter) from Stockton, California. The power-duo works together every day and their combined skills have helped their business flourish to new heights each year. Currently, they have three fully owned California franchises (San Leandro, Pleasanton, and Stockton) as well as one co-owned California franchise (Monterey).
A Family Business from The Beginning
It all started in 1996 when Alex Ahaev and her husband decided to build their own Merry Maids business. When Alex and her husband started the business, Michelle has fond memories of hanging out at the office in the summertime and having towel-folding competitions with her sisters to see who could fold them the fastest. Fast forward to 2018, when Michelle became a manager of the business. Although at first Michelle was debating whether to get her masters in communications or be involved in the family business, she quickly realized that Merry Maids was the perfect fit for her. Today, the family continues to grow as Michelle is currently expecting a child – while continuing to run all three busy locations!
When Michelle transitioned to manager of the company, the family decided to shift all of their focus on the Stockton location. The family has since split their focus on all three locations, staying, for months at time near the one that needs the most attention at the time. Michelle is excited to build the same memories with her child that she has of her parents, while growing up in the Merry Maids business.
Throughout the years, the family has learned many valuable lessons about themselves, each other, and what it takes to run their business. When they began working together, Alex and Michelle didn’t always see eye to eye on every matter, but they made it a priority to push each other to new levels so that they could be the best leaders possible. They have found that splitting their individual roles, listening to one another’s ideas, and practicing patience has contributed to their success and productivity. Michelle works alongside her mother, Alex, every day, while her dad stays involved by visiting each office from time to time.
The Merry Maids Way
Michelle has learned the business from the bottom up throughout her years working at various levels within Merry Maids, and while many aspects of the business have evolved, one thing has remained true throughout her career—always prioritize the customer. When necessary, she will put on a Merry Maids uniform and join the other team members on a cleaning. But it is not just Michelle; the entire family is incredibly dedicated to their clients. They have spent holidays with both their employees and customers, serviced those in need during the peak of COVID-19 by providing free cleanings, and have donated over $20K to customers in need.
From cleaning church bathrooms for free to servicing elderly members’ homes, they continue to ensure their customers know they are always their number one priority. The same goes for their staff. Over 75% of their staff employed during COVID-19 are still with them. They believe that cultivating a healthy, caring culture leads to happy employees and better retention. From celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, annual holidays and more, their team is one strong unit. Kudos to this strong mother-daughter team, and we are looking forward to seeing their continued growth and success!