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How to build an $800K a year maid service in 2 years

The following article is based on a presentation by Stephanie Zabel at the 2021 Maid Summit, hosted and organized by ZenMaid. Stephanie is the owner of maid service Serene Clean.

In 2019, Stephanie Zabel was a 22 year old who launched a maid cleaning service as a side hustle to supplement the income from her full-time job. Just two years later, she’s a thriving business owner with 22 employees and $800,000 a year in revenue. 

Her maid service, Serene Clean, is based in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, population less than 5,000. She recently opened a second location in a neighboring town of 10,000 people. She works 20 to 30 hours a week, depending on the level of staffing, with more flexibility and work-life balance than she’s ever had before. Stephanie is proof that a young age and a relatively small market aren’t obstacles to success. 

Read on to learn how Stephanie grew her business in just a couple of years with no business experience. 

Maid service success: Strategies for growth from day one


When she started her business, Stephanie took a course from Melissa Maker, which helped set the foundation for her business processes. The following are strategies she learned from the course and some she learned as she grew her maid service

Leave behind checklists for your cleaning clients 

Stephanie’s cleaning techs have a checklist of tasks for every job. The checklists, which are completed and left behind at each cleaning location, provide clarity for both her cleaners and her clients. Her techs have a reference for what’s expected of them and clients have the assurance that there’s a process behind each cleaning.

Show up as a professional in every interaction with a client

Even if you’re just getting started, there are a number of ways you can demonstrate professionalism:

  • Respond to client messages in a timely manner.
  • Have a separate business phone line. If you can’t afford one, use a free Google voice phone number.
  • Use a professional business email address like stephanie@serene-clean.com.

Document every essential task and process

Are you the only one who knows how to do certain tasks in your business? If so, begin documenting every step of these processes so you can begin to delegate them. This will allow you to focus on other areas of your business and even take some time off. 

Save this documentation in a folder on Google Drive or print them out and organize them in binders. No matter the method, make it easy for your team to access these files so they can refer to the documentation, instead of you – if they have any questions. 

Create call scripts to help increase conversions

You’re likely receiving the same kinds of calls. Save time by creating call scripts that have answers for common questions, objections, and frequently asked questions from leads and clients. 

Organize these scripts in a binder for everyone on your team who answers the phones. 

You can also install a call recording system, such as Clarity Voice, that can help you monitor call quality so you can identify opportunities for training, gaps in your process, or ways to improve your scripts. Recordings are also handy if there are ever any disputes about details discussed during calls, such as pricing or specific cleaning instructions. 

Pro tip: Offer your staff an incentive for every sale they close over the phone. Stephanie offers her team $20 for each one. 

Track every KPI

To get an accurate view of the health of your business, create a system to track various key performance indicators (KPI) such as jobs booked, revenue, expenses, accounts receivable, ad spend, lead sources, customers’ reviews, and the number of visitors to your website.

These insights will show you what’s working, what’s not, and the areas where you need to focus your time and resources. 

Create a steady flow of job candidates

It can be stressful when cleaners or other employees quit without notice or take unexpected leave. Ease your stress by having job candidates at the ready by implementing a group interview process. 

Group interviews let you assess a large volume of job candidates at once. Even if you can’t hire them all, save the contact information for your best applicants so you can contact them as soon as openings pop up. You’ll fill vacancies quickly and prevent the need to cancel or reschedule cleaning appointments. 

Harness the power of positive user reviews

Set up a reputation marketing program because word of mouth will only get you so far. Reputation marketing is the process of collecting and sharing user reviews to help attract leads. 

How do you get customer reviews? Ask. And ask often. You can make the first request on the cleaning checklist that your techs leave behind or create a separate card with a QR code that takes clients straight to a website where they can post a review. 

If clients don’t leave reviews right away, don’t be discouraged. Often people want to leave reviews but aren’t able to do it when they get a request. Keep sending reminders via email or text message because multiple review requests increases your chances of catching clients at a good time. 

You can also ask happy clients to record a video review that you can post on YouTube or your website. Help your clients by asking questions about why they hired you, what they loved about your service, and why they would recommend your maid service. 

Add keywords and hashtags to your video description to help you show up in front of the right leads in search engine results. 

To build your stock of reviews, set a goal of getting at least one review per week on your Google My Business and Facebook pages and one video review. 

Pro tip: Reviews are another way to incentivize your cleaners. Offer them a reward for every positive review that mentions their name. 

Build a culture that aligns with your values

Model the kind of behavior you want to see from your employees. Creating a positive culture for your business will lead to happy employees and happy clients. 

Also, having clear values and expectations makes it easy for you and your job candidates to gauge whether they will be a good fit for your maid service. 

Market to leads on Facebook

Stephanie’s target market is dual income families. Because that demographic spends a lot of time on Facebook, Stephanie invests in Facebook Ads. Often, those ads include giveaways for free cleanings. To qualify for the giveaway, people need to like and share a post. A single post can get as many 200 shares and those shares often lead to quote requests from her website. 

Pro tip: If you appear in your posts or ads, embody your brand. Display the kind of energy that you want people to associate with your business. 

Have persistence and perseverance

Leads don’t always book a cleaning right away. Sometimes they miss your call. Sometimes they need to think about it. Keep asking because a no isn’t permanent.

Note when you contact leads so you can space out calls appropriately. You don’t want to be spammy or annoying. And don’t forget to have your call script ready.

If ultimately, their answer remains no, move on to the next lead… or you could try donuts. 

To win commercial clients, Stephanie often woos receptionists by dropping off boxes of donuts and a one-sheet flyer about her business. She builds a relationship with them so when there’s a cleaning opportunity, the receptionists often connect Stephanie with a hiring manager. 

Optimize Google My Business images

Upload at least five optimized images a week to your Google My Business Page. Before and after pictures sent to you from your cleaners are ideal. Don’t forget to include your city as a keyword and give each photo a unique file name. 

Pro tip: Lure in the leads with eye-catching photos and include an enticing offer. 

Stephanie’s task checklist

It can be hard to keep track of everything you need to manage in your business. To help keep you organized, here’s a checklist of tasks that Stephanie prioritizes. 

  • Start the day with the most time-sensitive or critical tasks.
  • Email estimates that came in overnight.
  • Call back leads who left voicemail messages.
  • Follow-up with first- or second-time clients from the previous day to ensure they’re satisfied with their cleaning. If they’re not, send a team to fix what they’re unhappy with. 
  • Charge cards from completed cleanings from the previous day. 
  • Schedule quality checks.
  • Do at least 1 hour of cold calling or send out cold emails. (This includes dropping off donuts and one-sheets.) 
  • Text clients with a review request and link to the website where they can post the review.
  • Upload 5 to 10 photos on your Google My Business page.
  • Get one video testimonial and upload it to YouTube. 
  • Update your tracking sheet.
  • Schedule Facebook posts for the week.
  • Write 1 to 5 content articles.
  • Write thank you notes to clients.
  • Send new clients guidelines that include information about your cleaning process, payments, cancellations, quality control, pet policies, and what will happen if your team breaks anything. 

For more tips on how to grow your maid service business, watch Stephanie’s full talk below:

Learn more:

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

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

ZenMaid

About the author: Amar is the founder and CEO of ZenMaid Software, Inc (www.zenmaid.com). He previously 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. His goal with the maid service software at ZenMaid is to help other maid service owners do the same.

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