When I first moved to Las Vegas five years ago, I needed some help in cleaning a recently renovated apartment. I opened Google and Yelp and went to town -- there were hundreds of cleaning companies, of all shapes and sizes. “This is going to be easy!” - I thought. Welp, I was wrong. Most of the companies I contacted either didn’t answer the phone, had no website, had terrible reviews, or had customer care level of the DMV. (Now that I own one, I would perhaps be kinder and less judgmental, of course!) After a few frustrating conversations, I managed to hire a small solo cleaner, in hopes that there will be more attention to detail and better result. Wrong again.
Had my experience been different and had I not found myself standing on a kitchen table with a soapy sponge in hand and cursing like a sailor, I would have never dared to start my own cleaning company. As it was, when my best childhood friend Nargi immigrated to US and needed a job, we decided to create Superb Maids, armed only with a now infamous Reddit post by Rohan Gilkes (aka localcasestudy, who launched thousands of would-be entrepreneurs). Fast-forward 4 years and we were able to dominate the Vegas market, generating millions in revenue, buying our own office building and winning every local and national award.
Since my friend and I had zero industry experience, we’ve approached this business as consumers. And we’ve built our company with these ingredients:
The right mindset.
Investment in relationships.
The right tools and systems.
Mindset. From the outset, we’ve decided to do things right. One of my favorite sayings comes from a small aircraft maker who said: “If it ain’t right, it ain’t right.” We’ve identified our values and our top value was honesty. Since in our business, trust is an absolute must, we’ve felt that we must genuinely earn our clients’ trust. We were able to do it by:
being properly licensed, bonded, and insured (despite the high costs)
standing by our 100% satisfaction guarantee
repairing any property damage accidentally caused by our staff
being open and honest about any mistakes or issues that came up.
In the short term, this kind of commitment to one’s principles is costly. But, in the long run, it allowed us to earn a solid reputation as a trustworthy and reliable provider. In business, especially our business, reputation is everything.
Relationships. What frequently happens when you first hire an employee? Typically, a person who has been unemployed for a bit, is struggling financially. She maybe a recent immigrant. Suffering from abuse. Or experiencing other challenges. From the beginning, Superb Maids chose to invest in long-term relationships with our employees. We lend them a hand. We help them over the hump in any way we can - until they’re back on their feet and thriving: buying new cars, having plenty of food, creating families, buying their first homes (we even have a home-buying assistance program!). Needless to say, that employee will be 200% more committed and diligent after experiencing our commitment.
Similarly, we invest in our relationships with other vendors, our competitors, our allies, and community as a whole. We support local charities. We actually care. Some people think that contributing to non-profits is not good for business. But those people are wrong. It’s excellent for business, since people like doing business with companies they like.
Systems. Once we found ourselves being in high demand and experiencing neck-breaking growth pace, we had two choices: 1) have a nervous breakdown, or 2) come up with systems and tools to handle that growth. While we were really tempted to choose the first option, we ultimately went for the second one. Today nearly every aspect of our business has a system that improves consistency of operations. Our customers get automated reminders of appointments by email and text. Employees watch training videos for every aspect of their job. For every hiccup that comes up, we let ourselves feel bad for 5 minutes, followed by creating a system that would prevent this hiccup in the future.
* * *
All in all, building a great cleaning company is no rocket science. Yet, majority seems to struggle. Of those companies who succeeded, all three of the elements above are present. All of us - without fail - have the right mindset, relationships, and systems.