Is your maid service recession-proof? Here’s how to make sure.

September 21, 2022 in Business, Systems & Automation

Last Updated on August 21, 2023 by The ZenMaid Team

The following article is based on a talk given by Chris Schwab at the 2022 Maid Summit, hosted and organized by ZenMaid.

About the presenter

Featured by TIME Magazine, Side Hustle School, Side Hustle Nation, and The Penny Hoarder, Chris is the Founder and CEO of InoVA Local — one of the industry’s hottest virtual assistant agencies for maid service owners. By providing systems for automation and delegation, he has helped hundreds of business owners go from spending 50+ hours a week operating their business, to working as little as 10 minutes per day as an absentee owner of their business.

Is a recession coming?

There’s a lot of talk of a global recession coming in 2023. As small business owners, many of us have never been through a recession before, so we don’t really know how to deal with this type of downturn. You might be left wondering…  How will it affect my teams? How might it affect our customer base? And how will it affect future opportunities for growth? 

Chris Schwab spent the last several months building a framework to prepare for this in his own cleaning business. In this article, we’ll summarize his crash course for recession-proofing your cleaning business. You’ll learn how the home services industry has dealt with previous recessions, and practical steps for ensuring your company is able to withstand the next expected downturn.

What you can expect based on past recessions

Recession or not, cleaning businesses are trending upwards in the long term. They’re one of the largest growing sectors, according to both HomeAdvisor and the Department of Labor. So rest assured knowing that many clients are not going to stop wanting cleanings suddenly. That said, here are a few of the repercussions we expect to see. 

Dip in residential and vacation home sales

Residential sales and vacation home cleanings may see a dip with a trend for people selling their larger homes to downsize. While this may be both good and bad, if we can tailor our services more towards moving services and move-out cleans, we can actually recapture some of that revenue we may be losing in the residential and vacation sectors. 

Higher churn rate

Expect to see a higher churn rate than normal. This means that you may start losing more of those regular bi-weekly or monthly cleans. Instead, there’s going to be more of a one-time cleans as a larger percentage of your services than before. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is free-trial-banner-1.png

Increased disputes and negative reputation

You can also expect to see an increased number of disputes to your cards, and that’s going to be through payment processors like Stripe or PayPal. Along with this, you may see an increase in negative reputations, so more clients are going to be leaving bad reviews.

Pro Tip: Whenever it’s easier to leave a review, you’re more likely to get good ones. Invest in a great review automation software to increase the number of positive reviews you have to offset the bad ones. Learn more about getting reviews for your maid service in this article. 

Increased damage claims

Finally, you’re going to see an increased amount of damage claims against your cleaning business. For instance, claims that something was broken, stolen, or that something went wrong with the clean. You may even see more insurance claims than you’ve ever had before.

Here’s some positive news

With all of this in mind, we do have a positive development to look forward to! One of the big things Angi’s List pointed out was that our industry as a whole is growing at around 3 to 5% per year. And this growth rate is accelerating! So we’re going to see a huge increase of tens of billions of dollars in the next two to three years entering the home services industry economy. 

Even with a downturn coming, this means the piece of pie on the table will start out bigger than before. The main reason for this is due to a population and generation shift in life stages. Boomers and millennials are currently entering a different stage of life that’s more focused on home buying, restoration, repairs, aging well, and a higher focus on care. With this trajectory of priorities, we can offer services that will help make it happen. This brings us to the three keys to recession-proofing your maid service. 

Three keys to recession-proof your cleaning business

Here are the three practical keys Chris Schwab suggests to help recession-proof your cleaning business.

#1: Focus your efforts in the right direction

First, you need to start by focusing your efforts in the right direction. Consider — what kind of services are currently booming? Home services are! These are the services like roofing, interior updates, electrical, painting, and landscaping. If you can start to establish referral partnerships with industries that are experiencing a boom, and particularly with companies that are starting to be booked out, that is a step in the right direction to set your business up for success.

#2: Consider offering related services

The second key is to start thinking about related services you might be able to offer. For instance, you could start to add related services to your service area, like window or carpet cleaning, and capture the market all over again with a new service. This is a great tactic to use during a recession in order to maximize the value on the back end. 

Offer your new, related services to existing customers to try and increase the average booking price and number of services they need in a year. As you grow and need more from the same customers, offering special services like home organizing, carpet cleaning, and so on are great add-ons for your cleaning business that will bring in higher ticket prices and help sustain you. Start thinking now about related types of services that you might be able to add over the next year to prepare for a recession. 

#3: Tailor your existing services

The last key is to think about tailoring your existing services to industries that do well during a recession. If your primary services are a residential cleaning company, think about offering special COVID-19 cleans to a doctor’s office. Or, consider how you could provide a special type of care home cleaning several times a week, or a special type of daily clean-up service for upscale gyms. 

It’s time to start thinking outside the box. If you’ve only ever offered one type of cleaning service and you’re not sure how to start offering new ones, head over to these articles to read next: Residential and Commercial Cleaning Services: How to do Both and 8 Mistakes To Avoid in Commercial Cleaning.

Chris Schwab’s thoughts on the recession

We need to recognize that the economy is cyclical, which means that none of this lasts forever. Every recession is followed by a growth period. So if we can play the waiting game, we can come out ahead.

The brunt of a recession typically lasts anywhere from 12 to 18 months, with reversal starting around the two-year mark. So a lot of this is a waiting game, ensuring that our processes are tight, ensuring that we’re running efficiently and cost-effectively, and knowing that we can wait it out. 

Cleaning Services have thrived the past couple of years with the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly with COVID-19 specialized cleans. Many of us even have websites showcasing our specific COVID-19 cleans. This type of cleaning has brought in a huge amount of new business to the cleaning industry as a whole. This gives up hope that even though there may be a recession, it doesn’t mean we have to experience a recession in the same way that everyone else is. 

Next steps

Talk of recessions makes us all feel nervous — especially when you’re a cleaning business owner responsible for the livelihood of other employees. While we can anticipate stressful moments, we hope you feel better equipped to take it on. Chris Schwab’s full talk includes even more insight and tips to recession-proof your business. 

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

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

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


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.

All posts

Popular Posts

Subscribe & Follow

What are you looking for?

About Us

About Us


ZenMaid exists to make maid services like yours successful. We started by creating the simplest scheduling software for your maid service. Now we contribute to the industry with events like the Maid Summit, communities of #zenmaiders like the ZenMaid Mastermind on Facebook, and amazing free content like you'll find on this very page. Learn More