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Domestic cleaner website Idea - What problems do you see?

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Fab89

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I have an idea of making a website people use to find domestic cleaners in their local area.

The cleaners will be self employed and register on the website as a cleaner dictating what they want to charge and any other aspect of their job.

I don't like how agencies take most of the money from cleaners so it would be good to only take a small cut each time they are paid.

What problems do you think I should be looking into to start with? Issues I can think of so far is getting people to trust unknown cleaners without a reference. I'm not sure what will happen if the cleaner commits a crime in a person house too.
 

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powderhound100

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Research Homejoy, I believe it was one of the fastest growing YC companies, but then it shut down (not sure why, I haven't researched it myself.)

If you are looking into getting into that space, checkout the resources from localcasestudy if you haven't seen it already:

From an idea to replacing my full-time salary in 4 months. How I did it, and what's next! • r/Entrepreneur

4 years ago I wrote a case study on reddit on my $4k per month local business. I've since built that company into a multi-million dollar company and the redditors that followed are now doing a combined $50 million dollars per year! Updated case study and AMA. • r/Entrepreneur

Best of luck.
 

Fab89

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Thanks for the info. I think Homejoy had problems with their company being a gig economy.

I didn't even know what a gig economy was. After looking it up it seems like there are a lot of problems with it in the UK (where I live) and starting to happen more in the USA.

I wan't to just make a website and an app people can use and I have no interest in hiring people from around the country and world to clean for me. I could possibly target domestic cleaning companies.

Also just found that Google has hired loads of people from Homejoy to start a home cleaning service. Amazon have started home services too.

Maybe this idea isn't that good after all.
 

Azure

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Not a terrible idea. Residential cleaning services are stuck in the stone age - no brands stand out, they rely on outdated ad methods(think car wraps and flyers in laundromats), and they are decentralized.

The industry has loads of areas to improve upon.
 

Fab89

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Not a terrible idea. Residential cleaning services are stuck in the stone age - no brands stand out, they rely on outdated ad methods(think car wraps and flyers in laundromats), and they are decentralized.

The industry has loads of areas to improve upon.
Originally the plan was to target individual cleaners but it might be better to focus on established companies.
 

powderhound100

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Companies I believe have a similar business model are thumbtack, task rabbit etc. Take a look at those.
 

MJ DeMarco

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You have to decide what you want to be first, an aggregator of independent gigers (think TaskRabbit) or an actual cleaning company that hires cleaners, does background checks, etc.

The big challenge in the space is operational, effectiveness and consistency of the product (1 cleaner may suck, another may kick a$$) and crime, specifically background checks.

It is a space I have an interest in as I actually own the domain "dirtclean.com" -- IMO, with all the logistical challenges needing to be solved, it is an industry ripe to be disrupted with the newest billion dollar company doing the disrupting.
 

minivanman

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This is my area where I made my money for almost 20 years. Tons of money to be made in this business..... but none of you have a clue about the cleaning world. Throw out everything you've learned about business unless all you want to do is make money from suckers that don't know any better. What you need to understand are the cleaners that will be doing the work. That is why most everyone I know that was in the cleaning business got out (including myself) or they joined organizations where they teach new owners how to blah blah blah..... it's really all hogwash but they make a killing from it so that's their thing and more power to them. I was a part of the 1st major cleaning association on the internet back in the day (1998). I helped people start cleaning businesses from just Jennie cleaning houses alone to a lady in Canada who was very, very successful. There were a few successful ones throughout the US and Canada. And to this day I still collect $280 a month from my old cleaning business.

Homejoy failed because they tried to charge something like $49 for house cleaning. Real house cleaning companies charge $49 for 1 hour, not the entire cleaning. Here is who you get to clean for $49 for the whole house.... Crackhead Betty. She will steal everything in site. To the cleaning world, Homejoy was a joke from the start and we all wondered how long it would take for them to be out of business because there was no way they could stay in business. There is another company out there right now kind of like Homejoy but their rates must not be as stupid as Homejoy's was because so far, they are still in business. I don't really keep up with that stuff now that I'm out of that business.

"Not a terrible idea. Residential cleaning services are stuck in the stone age - no brands stand out, they rely on outdated ad methods(think car wraps and flyers in laundromats), and they are decentralized.

The industry has loads of areas to improve upon."

I'll try to put this as nice as possible but, this person has no idea what they are talking about ^. First of all, only 1 in a million ever put a flyer in a laundromat. Wraps still work for a lot of business.... especially lawn care and used washer and dryers so while this might seem out dated, wraps still bring in brand awareness for cleaning companies. And I get a few calls a week from mine for my washer & dryer business :) No brand stands out? How about Merry Maids? No matter who you are or where you are in the house cleaning business, Merry Maids is your competition. If you think cleaning businesses are stuck in the Stone Age I bet you won't call up Ron or Dave at Two Maids And A Mop and flat out tell them they are the Stone Age. If you do, please stay on the phone while Dave is laughing for 5 minutes. By the way, they are one of the first to be on The Job Interview. As for flyers (on doors of houses, not a laundromat).... I was the KING of flyers, really, I was. I preached and preached flyers. We put out more flyers in my 3 cities that I had businesses in than all other companies combined probably. I had girls (or myself, I loved riding my bike and doing flyers) putting flyers on doors 5 days a week as long as it wasn't raining. Speaking of weather, as long as they wanted to pass them out, cold was never a problem. Usually 20F was about as cold as they would want to be outside passing out flyers. Wow were flyers great for me..... but I'm with you, flyers have almost bit the dust. Although, there is a guy named George in Florida that has great luck with flyers for his lawn care business. By decentralized if you mean no one cleaning company is basically everywhere..... you are stone ages behind. Merry Maids in in ever state of the US I think and The Maids are in almost every state.

Taskrabbit is not really any competition for house cleaning, they are all but a joke. They do not take away any real paying customers. They strain out a very few of the lowballers that real cleaning businesses didn't want to begin with.

Thumbtack.... it's a good idea. I don't know if it works or not because I was basically out of the business by the time I heard about them. They are nation wide and have a boat load of services they cater to. What you have to understand about Thumbtack is this.... almost all residential cleaning business owners do not want to pay for calls that are not 'for sure' jobs. They think it is a rip off. Personally, I'm ok with it, it's how you get customers but residential cleaning business owners most of the time are just ladies that started cleaning houses and then grew from there with no real business sense. They don't realize that if they would stop thinking and let their calculator do the talking they would see if it actually works or not. I know hundreds of female cleaning business owners so I speak from experience although NOT ALL fall in this category. If you notice, most of the more successful residential cleaning businesses are owned by males that started the business to make money, not clean houses. Nowadays some of those businesses have been sold to females but they were started by males (me being one).

Like MJ said, you must decide which you want to target... companies, singles, a little larger than singles or the gig type of people. If you want some of the big companies to use your service you better come out loaded!! They are not just a back office bunch of groupies. The singles, the businesses that are a little larger than singles and the gig people might be 'had' by something shiny and new. The thing about what you are trying to do.... the companies that start such a business have a ton of funding behind them and when that funding runs out, so will they. If you are looking to get in and make money from something like this..... I doubt it. Most of the people that would use a service like this don't have the $3 to spend to try and get a customer.... sad but true.
 

Azure

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@minivanman

I suppose I should state that my comments stem from observations in my local market only. I have no idea how things are done elsewhere, but my comments do hold true for my local area of Toronto.
 

minivanman

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I always hate when I have to pull out the proof :)

Look how many are in Toronto let alone the rest of Canada. How much more do you want from a house cleaning company? The Maids also has Canada locations.

Store Locator | Merry Maids
 

minivanman

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And you also must remember that all the Service Master locations both the US & Canada are owned by Merry Maids.
 

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Azure

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I always hate when I have to pull out the proof :)

Look how many are in Toronto let alone the rest of Canada. How much more do you want from a house cleaning company? The Maids also has Canada locations.

Store Locator | Merry Maids

Proof of what? While Merry Maids may be a successful franchise - 7 locations in Toronto and 10+ in the GTA is quite good - they are not indicative of the rest of the market, which is comprised mostly of small independent companies that do things like put up flyers in laundromats and have poorly designed websites made on weebly.

All I am saying is that this is one industry that has yet to embrace a good amount of technological advancement. I have a local client who has a clean, sharp, responsive website with an online booking system tied to a well optimised AdWords campaign that is doing incredibly well, but she is far from the norm. Not to say that they aren't making money.
 

minivanman

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You said..... Not a terrible idea. Residential cleaning services are stuck in the stone age - no brands stand out, they rely on outdated ad methods(think car wraps and flyers in laundromats), and they are decentralized.

You are not even close to having a clue if you think they need more locations. It's not a pissing match, I'm just saying what is true. I made millions in the space so I think I know a thing or two about it. How much did you make in the cleaning business?

You are correct, most are independents and have no clue what they are doing.... and just for your information, they also do not know how to clean either AND they do not even have $3 to spend on getting a customer which is the purpose of this conversation. Most are broke.... trying to figure out some way to make a dollar... they have no gas, no food, nothing. Some will borrow $20 to try a site like Thumbtack and since $20 usually isn't enough to make it work, they think it sucks and they got ripped off. <<<< This is reality, I used to see it and hear about it every day.
 

Azure

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I don't think you realize it, but we are aren't exactly taking different sides of the coin here...

The companies that do utilize proper processes, branding and advertisement methods will absolutely stand out and make money. However the low barrier to entry here allows for a huge number of "anyone with a mop and bucket" to call themselves a cleaner.
 

Azure

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Its also worth noting that the big player Merry Maids also has a shit user interface on their website, lack of online scheduling, etc. Definitely could be improved upon even with such a successful franchise.

Again...stuck in the stone age
 

biophase

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I still don’t understand what exactly you want to do. Is it a craigslist for cleaners?

I use Amazon and Nextdoor to find my cleaners.
 

minivanman

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Correct but it is that way in lots of businesses. Those are who Thumbtack cater to and they have several pages of those types of businesses they cater to. I did try Thumbtack a few times because I wanted to see what it was about. I think I put $120 in my Thumbtack account. I got instant messages from a few that were actually serious but most were not people who wanted to pay for a real cleaner. Most wanted to pay Taskrabbit price. No matter if you are a company or a single cleaner, you can't make money paying $7 for each phone call with most of them being crap. Now if Thumbtack put the potential customer through a process to make sure they were serious then they would be on to something. But as we both know, they want as many callers as possible while signing up as many subs to pay for those callers and they don't care if the callers actually want a service or not, all they had to do was to get the sub's phone to ring because that was the service they promised to provide for the sub.

So, if the OP would make a site that actually caters to the worker and not the person wanting the work done, the OP would be on to something as far as pleasing the worker..... but I don't think it would work because the person wanting work done thinks they are superior over the worker most of the time. It's that catch 22.... :)
 

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I have an idea of making a website people use to find domestic cleaners in their local area.

The cleaners will be self employed and register on the website as a cleaner dictating what they want to charge and any other aspect of their job.

I don't like how agencies take most of the money from cleaners so it would be good to only take a small cut each time they are paid.

What problems do you think I should be looking into to start with? Issues I can think of so far is getting people to trust unknown cleaners without a reference. I'm not sure what will happen if the cleaner commits a crime in a person house too.
I know a guy who makes millions doing this (about $2.5M rev/yr, I believe, 35% profit)

How I built my first million dollar company and a 27 day guide on how to launch your own! — Rohan Gilkes

He has a FB group where he and his partners teach people their process. They are serial entrepreneurs who have done over 10 mil.

I have no stake in it, other than being an admirer, but because there is a "fee" attached, I will only post if with @MJ DeMarco approves

Though at $16/mo I feel it is kind of a steal
 

Azure

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I know a guy who makes millions doing this (about $2.5M rev/yr, I believe, 35% profit)

How I built my first million dollar company and a 27 day guide on how to launch your own! — Rohan Gilkes

He has a FB group where he and his partners teach people their process. They are serial entrepreneurs who have done over 10 mil.

I have no stake in it, other than being an admirer, but because there is a "fee" attached, I will only post if with @MJ DeMarco approves

Though at $16/mo I feel it is kind of a steal

You know Rohan personally, or know of him?

His Reddit thread is one of the most comprehensive, value rich posts I have ever seen on there.
 

BrooklynHustle

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You know Rohan personally, or know of him?

Never met him in person yet. I only communicate with him on Facebook.

His Reddit thread is one of the most comprehensive, value rich posts I have ever seen on there.

The guy makes amazing content. You can also learn a lot from watching how he does what he does.
 

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minivanman

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I don't have time right now to read it but is this what the OP was talking about? I don't think so but it could be. I think the OP was wanting to be the middle man between the customer and 'company'..... no? Only taking house cleaners in to account... if this guy teaches how to get customers, the majority of house cleaners do not have the money for it. Most don't have $16 a year let alone a month. I'm sure he does teach people how to do their own thing but house cleaners are a different breed.... and 99.999% are broke. And the ones that aren't broke always say things like.... I don't want employees, I don't want that headache. I just want enough customer for myself and maybe my friend Erma.
 

BrooklynHustle

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I don't have time right now to read it but is this what the OP was talking about? I don't think so but it could be. I think the OP was wanting to be the middle man between the customer and 'company'..... no? Only taking house cleaners in to account... if this guy teaches how to get customers, the majority of house cleaners do not have the money for it. Most don't have $16 a year let alone a month. I'm sure he does teach people how to do their own thing but house cleaners are a different breed.... and 99.999% are broke. And the ones that aren't broke always say things like.... I don't want employees, I don't want that headache. I just want enough customer for myself and maybe my friend Erma.
He teaches business owners, not house cleaners.

Even if this was not the OP's direct question, if he wants to make money in the cleaning industry, a millionaire who has made millions in the cleaning industry without ever picking up a mop might be a good person to listen to.
 

BrooklynHustle

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I just joined his FB group today
Nice... I've been in there from when they announced it (maybe about a month)

Lots of great info despite being in a completely different industry.
 

Azure

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Nice... I've been in there from when they announced it (maybe about a month)

Lots of great info despite being in a completely different industry.

I think that we may be talking about a different group? The abbreviation for the one I'm talking about it G L(not sure if I can mention the full name here).
 

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I think that we may be talking about a different group? The abbreviation for the one I'm talking about it G L(not sure if I can mention the full name here).
Ah yes, I am in GL too, but I am actively paying attention to the new one, OTA
 

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minivanman

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He teaches business owners, not house cleaners.

Even if this was not the OP's direct question, if he wants to make money in the cleaning industry, a millionaire who has made millions in the cleaning industry without ever picking up a mop might be a good person to listen to.

The 1st time I ever picked up a mop was when we moved in to this new (old) house. I owned a cleaning business for 19 years and never touched a mop. I'll be honest, I went to Walmart and it took me 10 minutes to figure out which of those mops to buy... I had no idea.
 

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