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[Case Study] How a Bad Haircut changed this Maid Service owner’s life forever

Last Updated on August 11, 2023 by The ZenMaid Team

Find out how one Maid Service owner transformed her business by focusing on automating 7 areas of her cleaning business.

The Beginning – Before maid software

Like many Maid Service owners, Marlene Lybarger of Maid to Shine insisted on doing everything herself as she grew her business. She had no maid software or help other than her cleaners.

She wanted to control the quality of her business as much as possible, and what better way than to do as much as possible herself?

After a few years however, she had reached her breaking point and was completely burned out.

She realized that if she continued on her current path, she’d never survive.

Marlene had fallen out of love with her cleaning business and was struggling to grow and market it.

In her own words, she had “stopped fighting for it” and was an “absentee owner for all the wrong reasons”.

That’s when a bad haircut changed her life.

Thankfully it wasn’t Marlene’s hair that was ruined, but her son’s (who was thankfully too young to remember the traumatic experience!).

See, Marlene decided to cut her son’s hair to save a measly $10. And upon completion, the boy’s grandfather took a quick look at Marlene’s work and said lovingly:

Leave [haircutting] to the professionals, Marlene.

The lesson was immediately clear.

Marlene had been struggling with marketing and growing her cleaning business despite many things running well internally. Her father’s comment triggered an epiphany… she immediately searched for professional marketing help for her maid service (that could do a better job than she could).

An important note: The smartest business owners and CEOs always find the person that can do the task or job better than they can, and let them. The most successful entrepreneurs know that they could never do everything themselves!

She went through a few marketing “agencies” with virtually no results.

That was until she finally met Debbie Sardone of the Maid Coach.

In Marlene’s own words:

I can say with confidence that I finally found the missing elements to run a successful cleaning business through Debbie Sardone’s Cleaning Business Fundamentals. She knows what the missing pieces are because she’s been there, done that, much like your maid software with ZenMaid.

Once Marlene was working with Debbie, she quickly shifted her focus from just marketing to ALL areas of her cleaning business which needed improvement.

She searched for a maid software and quickly came across ZenMaid:

For me it was pretty simple, I wanted online scheduling, so my office assistant and I could work from home when needed or wanted.

In the bad winter weather, I had to brave my way to the office to get to the schedule for postponing clients. I also wanted a schedule where you could see exactly where an opening was, what time the cleaning team would be finished, and be able to view the entire staff on the dashboard.

It was just logical to look for an online scheduling software created for Maid Service owners.

Of course, the free trial showed me just how much more I could get from a software like ZenMaid! Honestly, I didn’t know what I was missing things like text reminders for cleaning clients.

Thanks to maid software, everything got easier

With scheduling suddenly made easy, Marlene had more time to focus on the systems and processes from Debbie Sardone’s Cleaning Business Fundamentals:

1) Hiring
2) Training
3) Marketing
4) Sales
5) Office/Admin tasks – Maid software
6) Quality Control/Assurance
7) Metrics/the NUMBERS

Marlene was pretty excited about what she discovered:

What she now had access to with the ZenMaid Maid Service software:

  • ready to go systems (so that I could shift my focus back to marketing)
  • better cleaning tech training systems (to employ consistency among the teams).
  • growth stagnation help
  • marketing guidance

Nut shell version: I was looking for Systems, Systems, Systems. Debbie is my kind of girl!
Of course with Debbie’s program you get SO MUCH MORE. It appears that with her systems that “no rock is left unturned.

Marlene expanded on how Debbie’s cleaning tech training systems had fixed her Hiring and Training, two of her areas of focus.

The entire hiring and training process has always been my least favorite thing to do. Debbie Sardone’s hiring and training systems really takes the sting out of it . . . and now I have staff lining up to be “that” training manager after just one week!

What a turn around! There’s no more worries about whether something was overlooked because it’s all covered in the videos.

The best part is that we now have consistency among the cleaning techs, which has been sorely missing in my company. They always did a great job. It just wasn’t consistent.

Just last week we rolled out our new training program for our current cleaning techs.The workshop was not only successful, but so much fun!

Rather than getting the expected resistance to change, the new cleaning system was welcomed with open arms. Of course Debbie program addressed that too. My “winging it” days are officially over.

We have a better system to follow now!

Systems, Systems, Systems

At this point you are probably noticing a pattern: SYSTEMS.

So did Marlene:

The answer to all your questions about my success shift could be summed up in one word: Systems!

I had some systems in place . . . just not enough for a “well oiled machine.” I found that well oiled machine with Debbie Sardone’s Cleaning business Fundamentals and your maid software ZenMaid . . the dynamic duo, the hand and glove fit.

Before I used ZenMaid Software, payroll was a pain in butt, but now it’s a breeze.

In short, Marlene was a cleaning business owner that was not happy with her situation even after years of hard work:

Sure, I was that absentee owner, as many aspire to be, however I an absentee owner in the wrong capacity.

I showed up to office faithfully every day. I clocked in, I clocked out. I put out the needed fires. I took care of the status quo. Because administration and organization is my strong point, things ran pretty smooth for the most part.

But a few things were missing, my passion for one . . . so in essence I was absent!

Then there were those nagging thoughts of , “Am I emotionally prepared to pass the torch?” “Is this business turn key ready?” “Do I have the systems in place to be (the right kind of) absentee owner?”

All answers pointed to NO!

But with the help of ZenMaid and Cleaning Business Fundamentals with Debbie Sardone her life has changed forever:

Something more important than numbers happened for our business, something almost magical you could say. My relationship with my business was rekindled!

Like a marriage relationship, I was legally married to it, but I had stopped fighting for it.

I realized that one day the grace period would end and this would one day come to an end, unless I became more intentionally about the plans for it. As the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Imagine owning a maid service that runs without your constant supervision …

A cleaning business that doesn’t fall apart when you decide to take a vacation… or a sick day…

A cleaning business that gives you the freedom to do what you want… whether that means spending more time with loved ones, traveling to exotic places, or getting in the best shape of your life.

Have questions for Marlene, Debbie, or myself? Join the ZenMaid Mastermind! (it’s free)

You and your maid service deserve a little peace and quiet. Sign up for your free trial today at and discover the freedom and clarity that ZenMaid can bring to your Maid Service!


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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