How to build a successful online house cleaning business
Why the cleaning sector?
It is also fast-growing. Since the recession of 2010, turnover from the sector has increased by 21%, whereas turnover for the whole economy increased by 17%.
Why domestic cleaning?
The demand for house cleaning is growing fastest of all. Hiring home help is much more socially acceptable than it used to be. The gig economy has normalised the hiring of domestic services. People now expect to be able to book home cleaning easily online.
There is a big trend towards prioritising leisure time and health. People are more inclined to view hiring a cleaner as a necessity rather than a luxury. After a working week of long hours, people want to relax at the weekend spending time with family and friends in a nice, clean home. Doing household chores is no longer on the weekend agenda as it can be easily outsourced.
Hiring cleaners has also become more affordable. Disposable incomes are slowly rising and unemployment rates are at their lowest for decades.
On the supply side, workers are looking for flexibility. The ability to pick and choose hours of work have brought a lot more cleaning professionals into the market.
A competitive sector
Barriers to entry are relatively low. The traditional domestic cleaning sector is not capital intensive and require low levels of know-how and technology. For this reason, there are literally thousands of cleaning companies across London.
However, most of these cleaning businesses are tiny and unscalable. They have weak brands. This provides an opportunity to build a strong, profitable business by grabbing market share and tapping into industry growth. To build a better business than incumbents you need to understand your customers and cleaners.
Understand your customers and cleaners
You need to have a proposition that is better for both customers and professionals.
Customers want trusted professionals and a reliable service. They also want to be able to book and pay easily online and have the same professional each time.
Cleaners want to be able to choose their own area and hours to minimize travel costs. They want to get paid a good hourly rate and have low costs for joining and using a cleaning platform. They would also like an app to help them organise their work.
The key to offering a high quality, reliable service is having a robust vetting process. The process should filter out applicants that do not have adequate experience. Background checks should be carried out as well as face-to-face interviews to make sure that only reliable and professional cleaners are let loose on customers.
Obtaining continuous customer feedback helps maintain standards. Cleaners that do not meet expectations should be deactivated from the platform as quickly as possible.
Marketing and growth
Having a great proposition for both customers and professionals should make growing the business easier. However, you still need to get the message out there and make it easy for users to find you.
There are two broad marketing channels for customers: Digital and In Real Life (“IRL”). Digital marketing consists mainly of Pay Per Click (“PPC”), Search Engine Optimisation (“SEO”) and social media. You need to do all three.
IRL marketing includes leaflets and street marketing. Some street advertising such as on buses and tube stations are extremely expensive so you need to be creative when it comes to street marketing to get the most for your money.
Word of mouth and referrals should become an important source of new customers as you get bigger.
You need to have the right tools to help you provide the best proposition to customers and cleaners. The first thing that is needed is a booking platform where people can go online and make bookings.
The technology needed for real-time booking is similar to that used by airlines for booking flights. This requires a search algorithm, matching and online payments amongst other things.
The platform needs to deal with a high volume of transactions. It also needs to have flexible scheduling capabilities so that amendments to bookings and sessions can be made.
Clearly, building a technology platform is no small undertaking. It requires lots of technical expertise in software engineering, development and coding. A thorough understanding of operational processes is also needed.
This is usually beyond most people’s capabilities. Rather than build your own platform you can license software to get the necessary capabilities.