Properhands was founded in 2014 and in August, 2015 it raised a S$250,000 a Singaporean startup that specialised in helping companies and homes find cleaning services, had shut its door since July 15th 2017, barely 2 years in operations.
I present to you a full article why HomeJoy based in US failed. I would then highlight some challenges that our local cleaning starts up will also face.
- Crippling cost of customer acquisition, By dangling deep discount for 1st cleaning visit. Cleaning starts up were spending a lot of money to acquire them, but not really retaining them. Moreover, by focusing on growth above all else, other projects to boost retention and reduce costs fell to the wayside. Not only did that kind of discounting make start ups lose significant money, it also brought in the wrong kind of customer. Many never booked again because they weren’t willing to pay the full price. Some cleaning starts up changed its pricing last year to make recurring cleanings cheaper and encourage repeat business. In response, some customers simply booked at the cheaper price and cancelled future appointments.
- Cleaning start up general approach to maintaining quality was to try out cleaners for a period and then boot them off the platform if they didn’t work out. Frequent issues included a lack of reliability, such as last minute cancellations by the part time maid which resulted in no show at customers place, or too little availability of part time cleaners.
- Customers that came directly to the site also left, largely because cleaning quality was hit-or-miss. Cleaning houses is a more subjective and sensitive service than driving someone across town, meaning one bad experience could lose a customer forever.
- Cleaning start up also kept a part of the cleaning fee as commission. The higher the commission, the higher the incentive for cleaners and customers to strike a better deal directly with each other. If you keep a part of commission, you are expected to provide a quality follow through service just as traditional cleaning company will do.
Glory Cleaning is ultimately a business that is built upon trust and consistency, being in the home cleaning industry for 10 years, where we still sent our part time maid / part time cleaner on first visit. We serve customers whom desire reliablity and consistent attendance which is where start up cleaning companies have issues with.
Most importantly, our social objective is to give the part time cleaners a consistent long term part time livelihood where they will return to the same household every week, managing their emotional need where teething issues arises between them and the homeowners they serve, to resolve for them so that they continue working for the same household, ensuring a sustained livelihood for them.
To the Cleaners out there : It is tough work as part time cleaners travelling islandwide not knowing what the customers are like and not knowing whether they will continue with you after your first visit.
and to the Homeowners out there..
A recent interview with a client when she recently hired a last-minute cleaner from them, the cleaning apps sent her a guy with one review. There would be no relationship built there by the nature of their business – a one-and-done operation – but in the cases of cleaning starts up, their focus was on explosive growth versus gestating trust. That’s why the lady cleaner I supply her is a local, know her house, know her dogs and know her needs and work with her consistently. It’s not like driving a car from point A to point B – a house never gets dirty the same way twice. It’s more demanding, which makes the on-demand Uber for cleaning very difficult to apply.
Source : Ellen Huet @ Forbes “This is a problem I anticipate many more service platforms will face in the next 12 to 24 months,” Zietsman said. As Fusion’s Kevin Roose pointed out, many similar contractor-based companies that raised big rounds of capital will soon be coming up to the same point where money is running out and investors start to expect a path to profitability. They’ll either need to figure out a way to ensure quality and repeat customers or risk being squeezed.
Every service industry—cleaning, delivery, grocery shopping, caring for kids—is complicated in its own ways, and often in ways that technology alone cannot improve. The idea that technology could not only fix anything, but the same technology could fix anything, in many cases proved arrogant. In every service, there is always a human touch.
In the regular cleaning service is almost entirely a recurring business model — the economics are all about driving repeat use. That’s so, so important in this category.”and this is the fundamental of glory cleaning part time maid success in Singapore, having retention of few hundreds of customers every month.
At the end of the day, any home service is a person business. We’re dealing with people. And not 1 person is the same. That’s something that a lot of people forget when they’re launching these businesses. They’re like, here’s my tech platform, I’m going to revolutionize this industry.”