Image credit: Gizmodo
During these last two decades, and the last 10 years in particular, we have seen change in every industry imaginable, at accelerating rates. But only in the last 3-4 years have we seen much change in different areas of the service industry. But with the rise of apps like Uber for personal transportation, and AirBNB changing the way we sleep while away from home, startups are starting to really change our lives in the "real" world instead of the internet.
The cleaning industry is currently going through it with raises and exits left and right for companies such as Handybook and Homejoy, and startups across the country slowly pushing out the old-school cleaning service your parents (or maybe you) used to use. And why not? After all, the cleaning industry is already north of 10 billion a year according to the US Bureau of Labor statistics, with 13% projected growth for house cleaning employment looking ahead to 2022.
So what's the difference with these new startups? As is often the case, convenience. "Instantly booking online or by cellphone is what folks are getting used to, and the traditional cleaning companies just do not offer this," says Rohan Gilkes, founder of Maids in Black, a DC-area maid service that, since its launch in late 2011, has processed several million dollars in revenue. "like Uber, we're able to build up market share quickly, and then layer on the convenience of online booking, customer accounts, automatic credit card charging etc. And disruption of this type is just going to continue to spread from industry to industry."
William Janis of Urbahome, a Chicago-based maid service, echoed this sentiment. "I'm a young guy that likes to do everything online. Had no time to wait around for quotes - but when I looked for a maid service, it was ridiculous. So I decided to change that." Urbahome started just earlier this year and is already experiencing double-digit growth month over month.
There has been a cleaning revolution, so to speak, happening in markets across the country. A lot of it, funnily enough, seemed to start from a popular reddit post on the topic by Rohan himself about 2 years ago. He estimates that 250 maid services have been started as a direct result of the information on reddit 'maid company related' threads and counting. Seeing this as an opportunity, he started a booking tool called Launch27, for service-based companies to be able to offer scheduling and payment online. (Full disclosure: We use it and we don't get paid to endorse it.)
So that's the reality of today. With popular resources enabling people to get things done, people young and old are either finding the app/service to do what they want more conveniently, or endeavor to start a company so that they can do it themselves. It's a beautiful type of shift towards a type of self-sustenance that humanity hasn't experienced since before the industrial revolution, when 90% of American families provided their own food and shelter mostly via agricultural means.
Companion Maids is happy to ride that wave into the future, as innovation continues to better our lives in the long run.