In a world full of houses that need cleaning, a maid service business is an excellent startup opportunity that doesn’t need a lot of capital to get going. But no matter what type of business you’re starting, you’re going to be faced with a lot of big questions:
- How much does it cost to get started?
- How much should I charge?
- What’s the best way to find and hire maids?
- What are the legal hurdles?
- Do I want contract or employee maids?
- Which supplier should I use?
- Which vacuum cleaner?
Start with Who
Before you disappear down the question rabbit hole, relax a moment. Breathe. Let’s talk about the two most important questions of them all:
- Who will you serve? (hint: the answer isn’t “everyone”)
- And, what will you serve them? (another hint: it’s not “everything”)
These questions will help steer you in the right direction for answering the other questions. But, more importantly, they will help you with the two most important activities of your launch: hiring and sales.
Finding your clients and finding the right people to serve them is at the heart of a successful maid service business. And both parties need to be clear on your brand before they can see themselves benefiting from it.
The people in the business deal are always more important than the business deal itself. So let’s explore your “who.”
Maid Service Business Brand Question #1: Who are you for?
The nature of a maid service business is that it’s governed by geography. If your maid teams are spending all their time driving to far-away neighborhoods, they’re not cleaning as many houses—and you only make money when a house is clean. So get clear on your geographical limits so you can minimize travel time.
The other traits of your dream customer are for you to decide. For example, you may choose to focus on customers within a certain income bracket or homes within a specific price range. In addition, you may offer special hours to accommodate busy families with children or limit your service hours to a particular timeframe.
Put yourself in your dream customer’s shoes. Ask yourself what problems they might be facing, and think empathetically about how you can solve them. There is an art and a science to defining your perfect customer, and it’s okay if you don’t get it right at first.
While it may run counter to your instincts, you should also ask yourself who is not your ideal customer—declaring that your maid services are for anyone and everyone is a mistake. Think carefully about what type of maid work you don’t want to do. Maybe you choose not to work with a particular kind of home or in a specific neighborhood. It’s okay to draw boundaries here; in fact, we encourage it. You cannot be everything to everyone.
The better you know your customer, the more compelling brand you can create
“Brand” is a favorite term among marketers. Your brand is simply the promise you make to your customers and how you communicate it to them. A strong brand will make an impression on the customers you want.
Maid Service Business Brand Question #2: What do you offer?
In simple terms, you’re cleaning houses. But that’s neither compelling nor memorable. So take it one step further: What are my customer’s particular problems that I can solve with my service in a unique way?
For example, say you’ve decided on an upper-middle-class neighborhood. Odds are, it will be a dual-income family with a full schedule of professional and family obligations. So timeliness will be critical.
Begin with the problem, and some empathy, then close with the solution. It may sound like this:
When pulled between dentist appointments, soccer games, and business calls, the last thing you need is to be waiting for a maid to arrive. Our well-trained staff and easy scheduling app make for on-time arrival and quick completion.
In the example above, the answer to “What are you for?” is arriving and finishing on time, directly addressing your customer’s immediate concern. This is the beginning of shaping your maid service business brand. Can you see how it ties your promise to your client’s problem?
This promise will determine who you hire, where you advertise, how you advertise, and how you design your website.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be something you must develop in detail before you make your first sales call. This series is called Launch & Learn for a reason: It’s a process.
As Dave Loria, Owner of Squeaky’s Cleaning, puts it, “Your brand will evolve as you go. Get out there and start selling! Start with a minimum viable product and build your brand around it.”
Start with a basic sense of what you offer and what makes you unique. You’ll get more clarity over time.
One more tip: While you’re thinking about what you do, think about what you don’t do. You can say no to washing dishes or flipping AirBnbs if that’s not where you want to focus your energy. Get clear on your boundaries, and you’ll get clear on your brand.
As you may have noticed, there will be homework each week, but I promise it will help you make more confident decisions so you can grow your cleaning business.
Last week, we talked about the meaning of success. This week, think about your message and your audience. Here’s your assignment:
- Check out three maid service business websites and see if you can quickly tell who they’re for and what they’re for. How could you do it better? What might be the headline for your website? (In case you didn’t guess it, our topic for next week is websites.)
- Talk to a trusted friend over coffee, phone, or email. Explain to them who you’re for and what you’re for with your startup. Do they get it quickly? Is it compelling? Can they think of the kinds of problems your promise addresses?
As you work through this process, don’t forget to give yourself some credit. This stuff isn’t easy! But you know that already: If you were willing to settle for easy, you wouldn’t be here. Every successful entrepreneur has felt the same fears, pressures, and overwhelm of starting a business.
Keep going. Keep learning. You’ve got this!