Aided by technology, many of us get more work done in a day than would have seemed possible only a few short decades ago. But the industries that could most benefit from technology are often the last ones to embrace it.
That is what Chicago entrepreneur Ricky Regalado learned after launching a commercial cleaning business five years ago. As the company grew from two employees to 130, it became harder and harder to train employees and track performance and productivity.
Regalado decided to build a mobile app, RozaRoute, to streamline the process.
“There’s such a lack of data and technology in the cleaning industry,” said Regalado. “There’s nothing available for real-time tracking when cleaners are in the field.”
RozaRoute is designed to be as easy to use as possible. When a member of the cleaning staff checks in at a location using a smartphone or smartwatch, they are presented with the task they need to do first. When a task is completed, the user swipes through it and moves on to the next task on the screen.
Employers and supervisors can use the data generated by their staff to better gauge the expected time required to complete specific tasks for each individual account. That information can be used to tailor contracts to a client’s cleaning needs or to field questions about the work being done.
“The main pain point for us is when clients come to me asking whether the bathrooms got cleaned, or how long the cleaners were at the location for,” said Regolado. “Every client has different expectations, and it’s really hard to respond to that when all you can say is that you’ll check with the team.”
Those analytics also let employers experiment with different workflows to find the most efficient route through an individual facility. But beyond efficiency, Regalado wants his app to help cleaning companies recognize the work their employees are doing.
“Annual turnover in our industry is over 100 percent, but some companies are better at retention because they care about their employees,” he said. “We’re creating a community portal and a profile builder that gives every team member a profile image and a description of their specialty — something that gives them a title and makes the job feel more purposeful.”
Regalado said those features were developed after conducting studies with cleaning industry professionals, many of whom reported a lack of professional identity and frustration with the fact that the people they cleaned for didn’t even know their names.
“At that point I realized that my own employees probably feel that way, too, even if they aren’t telling me,” he said, adding that the app will notify supervisors when an employee is exceeding expectations. “Instead of waiting for a six-month review, we can reward employees right away when they’re doing a great job.”
Under development by a five-person, in-house tech team, three of whom work the application full time, RozaRoute is currently being beta tested by employees at Regalado’s own cleaning company. Regalado said he is in dialogue with around 20 other cleaning companies who have committed to using the app when the kinks have been worked out.
Regalado said he eventually plans to broaden the app’s focus to include other checklist-based fields like security and maintenance. But the first step, he said, will be to get it right for the industry he knows.
Image via RozaRoute.