3 steps to a 3 hour work month in your cleaning business

Last Updated on August 21, 2023 by The ZenMaid Team

The following article is based on a talk given by Ryan Vo at the 2021 Maid Summit, hosted and organized by ZenMaid.

About the presenter

Ryan is a serial entrepreneur and ferocious business coach who created a highly successful business model. As the owner of LVL UP, Ryan said, “My goal is to help people grow fast, drop the mop, and reduce the amount of time and money wasted with trying to figure things out on their own.”

In this article

Wouldn’t it be amazing if your cleaning business — essentially — ran itself? Imagine only needing to check-in for about an hour a week and trusting your staff to handle everything. While this may seem like a far-off dream, it’s totally possible for you when you focus on the right steps. 

In Ryan Vo’s presentation, he shares the three steps to create a three-hour work month in your cleaning business.

  1. Build a foundation with systems, automation, and procedures
  2. Have a strong process for hiring and HR
  3. Invest in the right marketing and sales

Get ready to take some notes, and we’ll dive right in!

Build a foundation with systems, automation, and procedures

Laying a good foundation is the key to your overall success. As you grow your business, you’ll find that each new level comes with a new set of challenges. You need to be prepared for each one, and the way to do it is through strong systems, automation, and procedures. 

First, we’ll talk about tracking your numbers, automating your pricing process, building an amazing work culture, and having a leader’s mindset.

Building a strong foundation takes time, which is why so many business owners fail to do it right. If you can commit to taking at least thirty minutes a day to work on your systems, you’ll work your way to running your business hands-off in only three hours a month! 

Track your numbers 

Plan a system to track your numbers. Included in your plan, track how many square feet each cleaning specialist is cleaning, what your customer acquisition costs are, how much you’re spending every week, and how much revenue you’re bringing in every week. 

If you find any red flags, take the time to investigate them and fix the problem. You can save thousands of dollars and hours spent by being proactive about your money rather than reactive after problems get out of control. 

Automate your pricing process

To automate your pricing process, you need to nail down a pricing tool. Some cleaning businesses want to do a site visit every time they’re quoting a new client. We’ll be the first to tell you – you’re wasting your time. Ryan Vo calls this “voodoo pricing.” 

Instead, use a script and decide on predetermined price ranges to quote their estimates. Even if you have time to do site visits right now for new estimates, you’ll start running yourself ragged as your business grows. To avoid this, start using an automated pricing tool today. 

Need more help with your pricing? Read this article to learn more about pricing your cleaning business. 

Build an amazing work culture

Building an amazing culture in your cleaning business will take your employees from simply showing up to get a check to being part of a family they want to be around. When you work hard to build a great company culture, you’ll reduce the revolving door of losing employees and reduce your client attrition rate. Additionally, you increase your employees’ happiness, which is always worth working towards. 

Amazing company culture starts with the hiring process and continues, well, forever. You don’t want to use shiny objects to hire new employees, only to disappoint them with a company that wasn’t what they thought it would be. Be consistent with your company culture in the emails you send, every phone call you make, and every interaction you and your employees have with your clients. 

Check out this article to learn about creating an awesome company culture in your maid service. 

Have a leader’s mindset

As the leader of your company, your mindset trickles down to every area of your business. So it’s important to have the right mindset. Strive to be a good leader in this way by saturating yourself with leadership resources. Listen to podcasts, read books, and talk to mentors about how they run their companies. After all, successful companies start with great bosses. 

Looking for suggestions? Peak into Debbie Sardone’s library right here. 

Have a strong process for hiring and HR

The second stop on your journey to a three-hour work month is creating a strong process for hiring and HR. 


Let’s start with pay. Some companies pay hourly, others pay a percentage, and some hire independent contractors. Ryan Vo’s advice is to skip the independent contractors;  it can be too risky, and your clients won’t receive a consistent service. That’s no good.

Compensating with an hourly rate is an okay option because it helps you predict your payroll expenses fairly easily. However, the main downfall is that it can lead to employees working slower with no penalty. (If they work slower, they’ll make more money, right?) Of course, your rockstar employees won’t see it this way, but some will. 

A great way to put some fire under their feet and ensure great work is to pay by percentage. How do you do this? For starters, it starts with having a baseline pricing model in place, as we talked about earlier. So, for instance, if you charge $100 per 1,000 square feet of cleaning, you could pay your cleaner 25% of that, meaning they’d get paid $25 for that job no matter how long it took to complete. 

Now, that’s just an example! You’ll need to come up with numbers that make sense in your local market. The great thing about paying a percentage is that it’ll motivate your workers to clean as quickly as possible.

Attract the right employees with a great ad

Finding great employees starts with attracting great people with your advertising. So, don’t just stick with generic messaging like, “Help wanted” or “Housecleaner needed.” Instead, spruce up your messaging with on-brand headlines to grab their attention. Messaging that seems a little “out there” will grab the attention of someone who will fit well into your company culture. 

Grab our free hiring ad template to write the perfect maid service ad to help you get started.

Use a good onboarding and training process

The quality of your services starts with onboarding and training. This part of your business is not something to be thrown together. We won’t go into too much detail about this today, but check out these great resources from ZenMaid to start building your amazing team:

4 training strategies that turn inexperienced cleaners into A-players

How to train your new cleaners for success from day one

How to onboard cleaning employees

How to train new cleaners under pressure

Invest in the right marketing and sales

The third stop on the roadmap to your three-hour work month is to invest in the right marketing, which is a common challenge for new cleaning businesses. Why? Because marketing well is an investment of time and money. 

It can feel counterintuitive to spend time trying to attract more clients when your employees can barely keep up with the current load. But this is why you need to work on building your systems and hiring process first. Once your business is in a great position to expand, you’re ready to invest in the right marketing. 

A great approach is what Ryan Vo calls blanket marketing; meaning, a diverse marketing plan that stretches across all platforms. Here are some examples of blanket marketing that he uses in his cleaning business:

  1. Paid marketing with targeted ads on Google and social media
  2. Guerilla marketing: yard signs, handing out flyers, employee sales incentives
  3. Email marketing
  4. Organic search marketing with SEO

Hiring marketing help

When your business is ready for it, hire a marketing professional. Be sure you hire someone (or an entire team) who can be held accountable. In other words, your hired marketing professionals should be able to produce results-based outcomes to prove that their efforts are working. Avoid marketing consultants who can’t provide this for you. 


It’s time to ditch throwing caution to the wind – you need a sales system for your cleaning business. You can start your sales system by implementing a sales script for every inquiry phone call. 

Your phone call script should answer these questions for a potential customer:

  • Why you’re a great company
  • How you’re a great company
  • What makes you different
  • Why to choose you
  • What your process looks like
  • What services you offer
  • Why they can feel confident with you
  • How much your services cost

Having these answers prepared on a sales call will make you stand out from the competition every single time. If you find a repeated question from clients that’s not included on that list, add it in! Your script needs to be customized to fit the needs of your customers that will put your business in the best light. 

Your next steps

We’ve covered a lot of big topics in today’s article! As with any new information, it can feel overwhelming at first. The key is to take one step at a time. Take one concept from this article and work to implement it. Then, move on to the next step. Step by step, you’ll start to see your business grow and succeed. You’ve got this!

For more resources on how to grow and perfect your cleaning business, check out the replays from the 2021 Maid Summit, hosted by ZenMaid. The summit featured more than 60 presentations from other maid service owners who shared tools and strategies to help you achieve the highest levels of success in your business. 

If you found this article helpful for your maid service, you may also like:

Try ZenMaid for free!


Amar is the founder and CEO of ZenMaid Software, Inc. He started and ran Fast Friendly Spotless, a maid service in Orange County, CA. With the help of customized software to automate work he successfully operated the service in under 30 minutes per day. He created ZenMaid scheduling software to help other maid service owners do the same.

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