This article was updated March 2022.
Do you ever dream of running your business fully remote from a beach somewhere in Thailand? Or, do you want to spend more time with your family and less time on your hour-long commute?
Whatever your reason is, you can work remotely AND run a successful cleaning business. With advances in globalization and technology, it is absolutely possible! It all comes down to having the right systems in place. Businesses like ZenMaid give you the tools to run your marketing, sales, hiring, training, and scheduling remotely.
ZenMaid CEO Amar Ghose sat down with Chris Schwab to talk about how to create a maid service business that can effectively manage itself. This article is based on their talk!
Can’t get enough information about this topic? We have a ton of great resources about running a remote cleaning business. Save this article to read next!
Start small — think BIG
Chris Schwab’s journey into his cleaning business isn’t your typical story. He knew that he wanted to run his own business that would allow him to be free. Chris knew he wasn’t interested in making a billion-dollar software start-up company, but he didn’t know exactly what industry he wanted to work in.
Even though he’s extremely successful today, it’s important to remember that Chris started small. He was still studying at a university when he started his cleaning business. With limited free time, he treated his cleaning company as a side project at first — just a few hours a day here and there.
His initial goal was to build a small profit and gain some regular customers. Chris wanted to see if a cleaning business could manage itself and allow him to have a more free lifestyle.
Challenges didn’t scare Chris; they forced him to create innovative solutions to make his goals a reality. He wants other maid service business owners to overcome their own challenges too.
How to transition your traditional cleaning business into a remote business
Realize that you’re already spending your time inefficiently. That sounds a little bit harsh, but each and every one of us can improve our efficiency with the right direction and tools.
In a cleaning company, there are a lot of time-sensitive tasks like follow-up, phone calls, incoming emails, and scheduling. When these tasks consistently interrupt your day, you lose efficiency — fast. These are the tasks that you really need to get under control first.
You should be able to walk away from your business without it burning down. The secret to this is automation and delegation.
First, learn to make your business work efficiently without human interaction. Second, if human interaction is necessary (like answering a phone call), delegate and train your employees to handle it for you.
If you live in Japan and your company is based in D.C., for example, don’t fool yourself into thinking that only you can do time-sensitive tasks. You have to delegate those. Instead, what you can do on the other side of the globe is: marketing, sales, retention strategies, and automation.
A great business always comes down to its systems and processes. If one person leaves your company while you’re working remotely, would you have to drop everything and come back in-person to keep your company running? If the answer is yes, then you have a little bit of work to do!
Even if you don’t want to run things remotely, you still need to analyze and improve your systems and processes to scale your business. Essentially, running your business remotely, scaling your business, and even selling your business are all two (or three) sides of the same coin.
Curious to see how that’s possible? Learn how to save 30+ hours a week with ZenMaid automation right here.
Take an automation and delegation inventory of your business
Think about the things that you can automate. Next, open up a word document and record everything you do for your business for one week.
Once the week has ended, review your document. Split everything into two categories: things you can automate and things you can hand off to someone else.
This will give you a starting point to restructure your work responsibilities.
Here’s Chris giving you some quick win automations to implement this week.
Contribute to your company’s growth wherever you are
Remember: you can always automate or delegate any task.
That being said, don’t disassociate yourself from your business when you start working remotely. With remote work, it’s easy to not feel the urgency and importance of everyday business activities. You used to pay close attention to details when you worked at your business’s physical location; keep that same tenacity wherever you are!
Even if you’ve delegated most parts of your business, show your employees you’re dedicated to the business by focusing closely on marketing, sales, and customer service. Focus on these things even more than you used to.
Remote work doesn’t mean that you’re always on vacation. It’s not an opportunity to forget your business.
Set your expectations based on your business model
Do you have employees or independent contractors? If you use contractors, do they have employees? Think about these questions when designing and restructuring your business. Your company culture is guaranteed to look different depending on your model.
If you use independent contractors, then you won’t have a centralized company culture because your cleaning teams never interact with each other.
If you have employees and you transitioned to a remote model, think about what you need to do to keep morale high.
Let’s say that you’ve run a cleaning company for ten years and have a strong relationship with your employees. Suddenly, you move to another country and interact with your employees remotely instead of face to face. As you can expect, this can be really demoralizing because they feel like you are forgetting them and don’t care as much as before. This will have a negative impact on your company culture unless you:
- Set expectations of how your restructured company is going work
- Regularly check in with your employees
- Delegate an office worker to take over some of your previous roles.
If your employees previously picked up supplies from your home or office, give them the ability to use amazon prime whenever they’re running low on resources. This frees you up on one task and gives your employees more independence.
The more you empower your employees, the easier it gets to run it remotely, scale your business, and eventually sell it.
Set aside time for a weekly check-in with your manager
Your weekly check-in time should either be the beginning of the week or the end of it. It doesn’t need to take a long time — it can be as quick as five minutes. Go over these key performance indicators (KPI’s):
- Did you upsell on all of the cleanings?
- Did you follow up with everyone who is a first-time customer?
- What was our churn rate this week?
- Were there any complaints?
- How are the cleaners doing?
If you have a Zenmaid account, you can review your KPI information on your dashboard. See your number of cleanings and complaints all in one place.
Here’s Chris talking through how he runs weekly check-in calls.
How do you hire teams remotely?
The first step to hiring remote teams is to set up an automation tool where the first half of your recruitment process is completely automated.
Start with a job post on care.com or craigslist.com. Then, the applicant enters your “hiring funnel” and goes through a whole process: a questionnaire, an automatic review process, paperwork, signing documents, and even an expectations video.
This hiring funnel puts an applicant through to the final stage of hiring without your involvement at all — a huge time saver!
Once you’re in the trial process with a trainee, use the resources you already have. Ask a client who loves your company if they can observe a new employee at their house in exchange for a free deep clean. Your customer can then evaluate if the cleaner did a good job, if they were polite, if they arrived on time, if they brought the correct supplies etc. Your customer gets a free cleaning appointment, and you get to evaluate a trainee — it’s a win-win.
Yet again, here’s a process with less involvement from you. All you need are the correct systems and a few people you trust.
When you think creatively, you can make your systems work for your business structure.
Paying for your freedom
One important thing to note: your profit margins may go down or stay stagnant when you initially go remote. Are you willing to make some sacrifices to work from your island in Thailand?
Think about the Amazon prime example. It’s probably more expensive to buy supplies from Amazon Prime than to buy in bulk. But in this scenario, you chose freedom over small profits.
Ask yourself: is it worth it? Zenmaid CEO Amar Ghose and Christ Schwab think so! As trends toward remote work increase, it appears that people are willing to make some financial sacrifices to see a greater return on the other side.
Systems and processes are key to any successful business, and maid services are no exception. You may not know this, but the entire ZenMaid team works remotely — and so can you!
If you want to grow your business and not work yourself into the ground, systems and automation are your new best friends. To get started, use ZenMaid as an all-in-one automation tool. The best part? You can try it for free today!
Tune into the video below to learn more about how Chris Schwab does it. For more great resources on systems and processes, you can check out our dedicated section of this site and our playlist on YouTube.
This interview was recorded live in London in December 2018. We hope you enjoy this chat as much as we did!
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- Tips for finding the brand voice that’s right for your maid service
- The top ten reasons why employees might leave your maid service
- Watch your maid service profits balloon with an online presence