Canadian Couple Puts Down Roots with Business Venture

Maid Brigade of Sarasota-Manatee

Maid Brigade of Sarasota-ManateeAfter living in Lakewood Ranch for the past three years, Emily and Ron Sarid decided it was time for them to put down roots and make an investment in the United States. The couple, originally from Canada, wanted, “to be a great community partner,” Ron said.

The best way to put down roots in a community is to start a business. So, the couple started researching opportunities for starting or buying a business in the area, and finally settled on a franchise investment. “After looking at a variety of different businesses, we thought it would be best to go with a franchise,” Ron added. Owning a franchise gives its owners the opportunity to connect to a network of established resources and experienced owners. The couple now owns Maid Brigade of Sarasota-Manatee.

While Ron has experience in pharmaceutical sales and Emily a degree in early childhood education, neither have owned a business before. In doing research regarding the best type of business to invest in, they also found resources at the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida, and with business consultant Pablo Arroyo.

“We found it had a wealth of different types of resources at our fingertips,” Ron said of the organization. “You’re able to either consult with a consultant, go on the website and view particular webinars, and even attend some classes.”

Emily and Ron took advantage of the center’s Business Startup Series prior to the COVID-19 statewide shutdown. “That was a fantastic series that focused on a few different elements of owning a business, whether it was accounting or marketing or general business startup info, we found it very helpful,” Ron said.

One of the challenges of owning a business for the couple was the ability to secure an E-2 Visa. An E-2 Visa allows an individual to work in the United States based on a substantial investment they are controlling. Securing this type of visa often requires the assistance of an attorney and requires a face-to-face interview at their respective consulate, with sufficient evidence of the investment. A business plan often represents a large piece of that evidence.

Upon completing the Business Startup Series in 2019, the Sarid’s began to work with Arroyo on building out and finalizing their business plan. “So when we started with Pablo we were pre-E-2 Visa [and] we didn’t have our business plan entirely complete,” Ron said. “Pablo took the time to actually walk through different components of the business plan and finalize that so it was ready for completion.”

As a result, Emily was awarded her E-2 Visa in February, based on the financial projections and the type of impact the business can have on the American economy. While Emily says the launch date for the business has been pushed back to October due to COVID-19, she is excited to get started. She will travel to Jacksonville to see another franchise first-hand and learn the ins and outs of the business.

“The one-year goal for our franchise is to have two teams of two to three maids who are working together, who are motivated, who are excited, and are just really eager to work for us,” Emily said. Ron added that they have a first-year goal of breaking even while continuing to add to their team, and are aiming for the $500,000 revenue mark within the first five years of business.

Moving forward, the duo will continue to work with Arroyo on marketing aspects of their business, including target market segmentation. “I’d say any small business owner should definitely reach out to SBDC at USF,” Ron said. “There’s a huge amount of resources available at anybody’s fingertips and I strongly advise anyone to take advantage of those opportunities.”