5 steps to run your maid service from anywhere in the world

October 29, 2022 in Systems & Automation

Last Updated on August 21, 2023 by The ZenMaid Team

The traditional side hustle path

Have you wanted to start a remote side hustle but don’t know where to begin? 

Influencers on the topic bombard you with to-do lists. They post content daily to convince you to start a side hustle their way. They often suggest that before you start a side hustle, you need to read dozens of blogs or buy an ebook. The problem is, influencers want your money even if their side hustle isn’t the best path for you. You don’t have to follow the current trends if they’re not right for you. We’re here to tell you that you can run a profitable local business remotely. 

In this article, we’re sharing Neel Parekh’s five-step roadmap to running your maid service from anywhere in the world. Before we dive into the five steps, let’s make sure you’re starting with the right business model.

Starting with the right remote business model

It’s a myth that local businesses can’t be run remotely. (Many business owners at ZenMaid are proof of that!) If you pick the right business model, you CAN be remote with a local business.

Let’s break down the spectrum of remote businesses. On one side of the spectrum, you must be present at the job site, for instance, with physical storefronts, like running a gym, grocery store, or video rental shop. On the other side of the spectrum, you have investor-level involvement, like the investors who operate at the top of Mcdonald’s. 

The “sweet spot” on the spectrum is where you can operate somewhere in the middle remotely.  A “sweet spot” remote business can have employees working “on the ground,” but it can’t be too capital intensive. For example, MaidThis is a global cleaning company that Neel Parekh runs remotely, with employees dispatched to each job site. Ideally, your maid service will operate in the “sweet spot” of the remote spectrum needing your oversight, but not needing you physically present.

Step one: Keys to making a local biz location-less

Ensure limited overhead. The beauty of the cleaning industry, in general, is that the workers typically get dispatched from their homes. Do you really need an office? Can the manager also work from home? You may require storage, vehicles, and employees, but you don’t necessarily need a physical office space. 

In this day and age, most people call companies or book an appointment online. Fewer people walk through the doors of a cleaning service company to initiate business. Ensure key management pieces are done virtually. Take the necessary steps to create an environment that works efficiently online. 

Virtual management has increased significantly in the past decade. COVID emboldened more business owners to pursue online platforms for almost everything.

Select a business that is NOT capital intensive (i.e. no retail) to take away the need for additional in-person storage spaces.

Have one local manager for as-needed tasks (hiring, interviewing, meeting with customers, etc.) In a post-COVID world, this will be easier. When you move most tasks to the virtual sphere, only a few key aspects of the business need to be conducted in-person.

Step two: Find your remote team

When you have a self-sufficient remote team, you can hop on a plane for Colombia in the middle of the day and not worry about your business.

So how do you find a great team? Use a platform like Upwork or We Work Remotely. There are tons of websites like these out there that help with online hiring.

Fun pro tip: Post a secret word in a job ad. To sift through the applications to find a serious candidate, write a small sentence at the bottom of your ad, such as “please include ‘pineapples on pizza is weird’” in your cover letter. Then, only review candidates who include that phrase or word in their application. This will help you find outstanding applicants who have thoroughly read your job ad!

Use a three-month trial period for new employees. Tell your new employees that you will monitor them each month for three months. Provide one month of hardcore training and then two months of on-the-job training. Give them proper training and set clear expectations. When you devote a lot of training time upfront, you don’t need to do it later. Don’t just send your new employees into the fire — give them the tools that they need to thrive!

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS do video interviews in multiple stages! Start with a Whatsapp video call for ten minutes. This is the video introduction stage. Next, have a different employee schedule a longer interview with the applicant to discuss pay, how things work, etc. Finally, schedule a final interview to offer a job if the applicant seems like a good fit. The multiple stages help you understand the character of the person, their reliability, and their professionalism.

Geography-specific advantages of remote hiring

Identify the advantages of the individual you can hire. If you’re in the hiring process, look at this example as a guide:

If you hire someone from Honduras, these are some pros:

  • They are often bilingual, which is helpful for any job.
  • Honduras has an existing call and support center infrastructure. Your potential new employee may already have years of experience in a similar field.
  • The weak currency guarantees a cost-efficient labor force.
  • Latin American time zones are the same as the US.

If you hire someone from South Africa, these are some pros:

  • They are native English speakers with an accent that Americans love.
  • South African currency is falling; workers like the stability that the US dollar provides.
  • South Africa has a relatively untapped talent pool compared to the popular outsourcing in Southeast Asia.

This guide is subject to change but can give you a few ideas if you want to hire workers outside the US.

Step three: Build your culture

This sounds like a no-brainer, right?

When you have a remote team, you want it to hold itself together without your constant and immediate presence. 

A great culture and a great foundation for a remote team “glues” everything together. 

Use a platform like Slack as your central communication hub. Include a channel called “random” to post funny photos or stories to lighten the mood. Anything funny happen at work? Post it! Lighthearted banter is healthy in a remote work environment. 

Buy a Spotify subscription for everyone and listen to the same music playlist together. It’s kind of like a DJ session!

See your team face-to-face through Google Meet’s video-communication service. A message sent through Slack may be helpful, but sometimes the most efficient mode of communication (if you’re not in-person) is a video call. Save time and call your employee when you have a complicated question.

Want to learn more about building a great company culture? Check out this article: Build a Cleaning Company People Actually Want to Work For and Grow Your Maid Service With the Right Team!

Step four: Stay connected while traveling

How do you successfully run a business while traveling from country to country or city to city?

First and foremost: STAY CONNECTED — at least at the beginning. Make sure that your remote team members have the support they need. Keep an eye on your business first and then travel. 

Travel hack: Pick a city where there’s a hotspot for “nomads.” These hotspots where digital nomads gravitate already have good Wifi and a low cost of living. Pick a place that interests you and can keep you connected.

Look for a co-working space. If you’re more productive in a co-working space as opposed to your home, then take a few minutes to research a co-working space. These places help you get into a routine right away. A co-working space allows you to compartmentalize your time.

A similar option is a co-living space. Here, people live AND work together. Talk about quality time with some strangers, huh? This is a great way to meet people and have a routine. Just remember to research the wifi in the co-living space before you go.

Include the timezone in your travel choice. It is easier to work remotely if you live within three to five hours of your regular time zone. If you’re a night owl, you could possibly work in a city 12 hours ahead. Do what works the best for you and your body. 

Set your schedule. Know how long it will take you to get in a rhythm and plan accordingly.

Step five: Own it!

Be proud of your remote workforce and own it! Many people think that their customers will be turned off by a remote workforce. This is largely false! Customers will gravitate toward you and your story. When you tell customers that you have a team in South Africa and a team in Honduras, they might even be more interested in your company.

Don’t worry about the occasional customer that dislikes your business model. There are customers to be had anywhere. 

Customers who appreciate your business model have similar workforce values to you. These customers are easier to deal with in the long run when you are culturally alike.

If you have a remote team, be proud of it and flaunt it!

Bonus Step: Finding success in your local market with global marketing tactics

A remote-operated cleaning business can crush it in the local market. You see, there’s a natural geographic moat in local businesses. What we mean by this is if you start a local business, you’re really only competing against the people in that specific market. Instead of competing with the world, there’s a natural geographic moat around you.

Additionally, local businesses often struggle with marketing. (Almost 45% of small businesses still don’t even have a website!) The cleaning industry is a few years behind in digital marketing. This is good news for you because it means your business can stand out in the local crowd. Take advantage of this lag in the market by implementing digital marketing strategies that local competitors aren’t doing.

Lean into online marketing with automation to uplevel your digital marketing. For instance, traditional cleaning companies spend a lot of their marketing budget on postcards, Valpacks, magazine and newspaper ads, etc. While these strategies have value in the right circumstances, most modern customers are looking for a fast and convenient booking experience. Setting up a mobile-friendly website with an automated booking form will land more customers than relying on calling a number during business hours. 

Here are five ways your online marketing can help you stand out in the local crowd (click the highlighted links to read more about each one):

  1. Setting up an optimized GoogleMyBusiness listing 
  2. Use social media to attract new customers
  3. Invest in local SEO to help you appear in Google searches
  4. Run Facebook Ads

List your maid service in business directories in your local area

Next steps

And there you have it; Neel Parekh’s five-step roadmap to creating a fully remote maid service AND how to market your services globally.

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

 

About the presenter

Neel Parekh is the Founder and CEO of MaidThis® & MaidThis® Franchise, which helps homeowners and short-term rental hosts (Airbnb, VRBO, etc.) with their cleaning needs. His business has generated millions in revenue while having a fully remote team. Now, Neel is on a mission to help others achieve the same!

To hear Neel Parekh’s full talk from the Maid Summit, click here

This talk first aired at the 2021 Maid Service Success Summit.

The Maid Summit is an annual online event that brings together the most successful leaders in the cleaning industry, like Debbie Sardone, Angela Brown, Courtney Wisely, Amy Caris, Chris Schwab and more. Get free access to masterclasses and workshops that will help you to grow, scale and automate your cleaning business so you can get more leads and create more profit. Make sure you’re on our email list to find out how to get free tickets to the next event.

Discover how much time you could be saving in your maid service. Get started with ZenMaid for free today.

ZenMaid

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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