We often don’t need a full time cleaner on staff to clean, whether it is our apartment or our office. However, it would be helpful to be able to book an apartment or office cleaning every few weeks to make sure things are tidy. Booking a one time cleaning is never convenient, simple, or necessarily trustworthy. Thankfully MyClean has arrived on the scene to solve this very problem. MyClean, the on-demand professional maid service cleans your residential or commercial space professionally and efficiently. The company is easy to use, trusted by many, and has already expanded to two cities.
AlleyWatch chatted with CEO Michael Scharf about the startup and why he transitioned from Finance to launch MyClean.
Tell us about the product or service.
MyClean is the premier cleaning company that provides an online platform to conveniently book professional maid cleaning services for residential and commercial spaces under 60 seconds. Servicing Chicago and New York City, the company’s user-friendly website provides an instant price quote, availability calendar, eco-friendly products, and instantly accepts online payments to confirm bookings. MyClean cleaning professionals are employed (not temps or 1099 contractors), insured and bonded, and trained to deliver on MyClean’s 50 Point Checklist. In addition, the company’s Great Clean Guarantee ensures client satisfaction.
How is it different?
MyClean is the first to market with a proprietary technology that encompasses a dynamic pricing engine that aims to incentivize customers with discounts for booking cleaning services during off-peak hours. This engine offers value for customers to save more when they’re flexible with their schedules while simultaneously allowing us to provide a consistent schedule for our cleaners. Unlike other cleaning services in the marketplace, there is no commitment and there are no subscription cancellation fees with MyClean’s consistent, high-quality services.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
The US home and office cleaning market, which is estimated to be a $53B per year business.
What is the business model?
Focus on customer AND cleaner needs.
Pre-screen, hire, train, manage and develop career-oriented cleaners and provide them sustainable careers. Create an easy to use technology for clients to book cleans, coordinate logistics, pay for cleans, etc. all through technology.
What inspired the business?
This inspiration came along naturally. Prior to MyClean, I worked in financial sector for six years. I’m inherently a tidy person, but while working in I-banking, I found it difficult to clean the apartment consistently because of my schedule. Finding a cleaner and paying the cleaner (forgot to put cash on the table, which meant I had to go back home) was also very inconvenient.
That’s when I saw an opportunity and decided to become an entrepreneur in 2009— big, fragmented market just waiting for technology improvements! So we started as the first company to provide a scheduling engine and secure online payments for cleaning services. The fact that the endeavor required minimal capital to get started allowed us to go lean, start with a minimally viable product, and grow organically.
How have you managed to scale the business without taking on significant outside funding?
I think we were able to scale successfully, because we came in with the mindset that cleaning is an immensely human and personal experience; e.g. our new clients have to welcome our cleaners (strangers) into their homes.
Instead of trying to commoditize the service, we focused on emphasizing the human element (such as employing all cleaners to effectively manage training and cleaning quality, having a dedicated customer service team, focusing on reputation and trust, etc.) and eliminating anything that would hinder the humanness of the cleaning experience (such as replacing cash transactions with online credit payments, replacing the arduous task of syncing yours and your cleaner’s schedule with an online availability calendar, etc.).
Focusing on the un-scalable (human interaction) invariably allowed us to scale. It happened that many of the things we chose to focus on did not rely on outside funding; it relied on time (reputation, trust). Outside funding may have even hindered our initial efforts (e.g. aggressive growth goals).
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
10% revenue growth in NYC, 50% revenue growth in Chicago and 20% user growth across the board.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Don’t focus solely on top line but also focus on bottom-line too. Unit economics matter and cash is the gasoline for your businesses engine.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Daymond John. He is a bootstrapper like us (he bootstrapped FuBu) and he seems like a great mentor for small business owners.
Why did you launch in New York?
We live in here and understand the underlying market’s needs. Additionally, many of the national brands (Merry Maids) focus on suburban areas, which allowed an opportunity for entry into urban cities such as NYC.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?
I’m more likely to be found taking a yoga class at Laughing Lotus, an exercise class at ToneHouse, or playing in my weekly pick-up basketball game.