This post is based on a presentation by Neel Parekh from the 2020 Maid Summit. Neel is the Founder and CEO of MaidThis® Franchise, the first-ever US-based cleaning franchise specializing in short-term rental cleanings. Neel has generated almost $10M in revenue over the past five years while running the franchise while travelling the world. Now, he’s on a mission to help other maid service owners achieve the same freedom by sharing his top tips for running a fully remote cleaning business.
Remote work is steadily making its way into every industry, even cleaning. If this past year taught us anything, it’s that the ability to work remotely has been available to businesses all along.
Well before the year 2020 turned the state of work on its head, Neel Parekh was well on his way to growing a multi-million dollar cleaning company and managing a remote team, all while traveling the world full time.
You don’t need to be a large, global business to get there. In fact, right now is the best time to disrupt local business models.
You just need the right tools, the right team, and a commitment to building a solid company culture which is rooted in systems, processes, and communication. With all that in place, any business – even a local maid service – can thrive in a fully-remote environment.
Let’s dive into some of the ways that local cleaning companies can have a massive advantage at a local level by implementing location-independent strategies.
Bring global marketing tactics to a local level
When it comes to digital marketing, the cleaning industry as a whole tends to be a few years behind. Many maid services still rely on traditional marketing strategies like mailers and print advertising to grow their customer base.
Did you know that around 50% of small businesses don’t even have a website?!
Local maid services can take advantage of this lag in the market by implementing digital marketing strategies that their competitors aren’t doing. This can give you a huge competitive advantage in your local market.
A few places to start when implementing new digital marketing strategies:
- Setting up a GoogleMyBusiness listing and make sure it’s optimized
- Utilizing social media to attract customers to those platforms
- Investing in local SEO to help you appear in Google searches
- Running Facebook Ads to attract new leads
- Listing your maid service in business directories in your area
For even more marketing tips, check our top 21 ways to market your cleaning business.
Other businesses doing digital marketing are competing against the world and global competitors. Your maid service is only competing against local companies in your area. There is significantly less competition which means there are many opportunities for you to outshine your competitors.
Build a global team
When you’re running a cleaning business, you need cleaners on the ground in your area to physically show up at customers’ homes. So you might ask if it’s even possible to build a distributed team as a local cleaning business.
The answer is yes.
Hiring remotely comes with its own set of competitive advantages.
While you will need to have a team of local cleaners, you can begin to outsource other roles within your business to remote workers.
Hiring remotely substantially opens up your hiring pool and gives you more opportunities to find people who are the best fit for your team.
For example, MaidThis® has an operations team based out of Latin American. Even though the cleaners operate all over the United States, the team still works exceptionally well together despite their geographic differences.
Being in Latin America, the operations team still works within similar time zones as the cleaners. They can also communicate with their Spanish-speaking cleaners and are a great cultural fit with their cleaners on the ground in the States.
Additionally, because of the presence of call centers and various phone operator jobs in those areas, there is an existing talent pool of people who have experience working remote jobs.
Just keep in mind that a remote team doesn’t mean you won’t interact with your team as much. In fact, you should be aiming to have more meetings and calls, at least in the beginning, to make sure everyone is on the same page and understands their goals. You should also make yourself available to answer questions and help the team get set up.
Another thing to keep in mind when you hire in other countries is that you may encounter obstacles you weren’t prepared for.
Some areas might not have as strong of an internet connection as you’re used to. You may have to deal with accommodating different countries’ holidays, weather, or infrastructure issues.
When you have a distributed team, try and ensure that key management and operations can be done virtually. However, you should still hire one local manager who can help you manage the team in your area.
This manager can help you with tasks like hiring and interviewing local cleaners and handling some of the other issues that may come up with your local clients, like quality management or overseeing training processes.
When you’re managing a maid service remotely, the tools you use will be an integral part of how you run your business. The right tools can help you streamline your systems and processes and ensure that the business is running smoothly even when you can’t be directly involved in every conversation.
Here are some tools we recommend using when managing a remote team.
Slack: Slack will act as your communication hub. It will let you chat with the team as a whole and start conversations with individual team members. You can even create specific channels for topic-specific discussions to organize your conversations more efficiently.
Zapier: With Zapier, you can link all of your tools together. For example, you can link ZenMaid to your company Slack using Zapier. This way, you or your team can get Slack notifications whenever someone makes a new appointment or a new contact enters your CRM.
ActiveCampaign: If you’re doing any email marketing (which we highly recommend you do), ActiveCampaign is an excellent tool to send those emails and manage your contacts, and their customer journey, all in one place.
G-Suite: With a remote team, it sometimes helps to streamline communication by giving each team member their own company email address. This helps when scheduling company calls and sending out general company emails.
With G-Suite, you can set up email accounts for your team members, host voice and video calls using Google Meet, and share important documents with your team members using Google Drive.
Don’t be a commodity
You’ve probably heard this a million times, but it pays to pick a niche. You need something that differentiates your business from the other cleaning business in your area.
Saying that you do every type of cleaning doesn’t do your business any favors because it doesn’t showcase a specialty or specific expertise. It also doesn’t give your maid service a unique selling point.
Choose a specific niche and reflect that niche in all of your branding and marketing. There are so many categories of cleaning businesses that you can choose from when picking your niche.
You can go after a specific audience, such as pet owners or people with allergies. You can specialize in one particular type of space, such as cleaning office buildings, beach homes, or rental properties. You can also adjust your branding to appeal to specific demographics such as luxury clients.
Picking a niche doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to reject all other business that doesn’t fall within your niche. It just means that when you’re marketing your business, you’re targeting a specific subset of users looking for a particular service.
You’ll likely still get other inquiries about the other services you offer. But when you go hard in a particular niche, it helps the right people find your business.
As you’re going through the process of becoming more remote-friendly, beware of analysis paralysis. It’s easy to consume so much advice that you can’t effectively execute it.
If you’re already operating a physical maid service, start small by incorporating a few strategies at a time. It’s okay if your execution isn’t perfect.
Take imperfect action, and then fix it as you go. The key is to gain enough momentum by taking quick action and course-correct along the way.
Learn more about how MaidThis® grew its franchise and fully remote team by watching Neel’s full presentation from the 2020 Maid Summit.
The Maid Summit, hosted by ZenMaid, was created to support maid service owners by highlighting some of the top tips for growing and improving your cleaning business.
Learn from some of the leading industry professionals such as marketing experts and fellow maid service owners, and get full access to over 40 presentations, here.
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