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Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press Tammy Wilson works Thursday in Ashley Doherty's home. Doherty is the president of the local Molly Maid franchise.

Each year cleaning services count on the hectic holiday season to boost business.

Starting in November they work double duty to relieve some of the stress from their clients' busy holiday schedules.

"It definitely makes a huge bottom-line impact," said Ashley Doherty, president of the local Molly Maid franchise, adding that her business increases by about 10 to 15 percent during the holidays.

Doherty said she starts to prepare for the surge in September and October, stocking up on cleaning supplies and making sure her staff is trained and ready for the extra work headed their way.

Bill Bowers, owner of the local Merry Maids franchise, said it makes sense why he consistently receives up to 30 percent more business during the holiday season.

"Relatives are coming in, and it kind of creates a sense of urgency to get things spotless," he said. "The mother-in-law is coming in with her white gloves to make sure everything is spotless, and it needs to be."

Local cleaning services said they promote the time-saving aspect of their service, especially during the holidays. Instead of worrying about getting the house tidy, clients can focus on other tasks such as shopping for presents, wrapping them, cooking and spending time with their loved ones, they said.

Glenda Miller, who started using Molly Maid in October, said that as she approaches the holidays she has one less thing to worry about.

"It takes the pressure off," she said. "It's like I have to pinch myself, because I'm thinking, 'OK I've got to plan for all this cleaning time,' but I don't have to do that anymore where I take a day or two to go through my house, because they come in and in a couple of hours they do everything I do."

The upswing in business can extend past Christmas, once relatives who might have stayed for a couple weeks have left and it's time to restore the house to its normal state, local services said.

Cleaning up from the holiday itself is also necessary, Bowers said.

"After the holidays people are taking down their trees and there is usually a mess, things on the floor," he said. "It definitely is part of the Christmas season, the cleanup afterward."

Despite feeling the economic pinch for the last several years, business around the holidays has been consistent for many of the local cleaning services. During other times of the year, though, they've had to become a little more creative when it comes to finding the right market for their services, they said.

"We didn't grow as quickly as we thought we would," said Doherty, who started her franchise here in July 2007 just before the economy tanked. "We had to find a different niche and had to target people who needed us. We just had to find different targets of people to rely on during the slow time."

Contact staff writer Brittany Cofer at or 423-757-6476. Follow her on Twitter at

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