I have always wanted to own my own business but have struggled with what exactly to start. I owned a subscription box for a while and have tried a variety of other online businesses. Although these were great products to sell, the subscription box required educating the market on what it was, but it had a recurring revenue model. The online businesses sold items that were nice to have but that no one really needed. Through this trial and error, I knew that I needed a business where a need already existed and provided recurring revenue.
I first heard about starting a maid service through a podcast. After hearing that, I started doing more research and thought that it was something that I could start in my local market. I have moved around a lot and have found that it was difficult to find a reliable maid service with easy online booking. Many of the companies require that they come to your home for an estimate or don’t have transparent pricing. I knew that there was a need in the market for the maid service that I wanted to build. That is when Valet Maids was born.
My first 3 clients came from marketing to my neighbors. I live in a high rise apartment building and was able to email everyone in the building about my service. By doing this, I quickly had a few neighbors sign up. These early sign ups validated my idea and I knew that this was a business that could and would succeed.
I didn’t have any experience in the home services space prior to starting Valet Maids. A lot of what I have learned has been through trial and error and through networking with other cleaning company owners. The community of local service company owners has been extremely helpful throughout the journey of starting and running my company.
I did not raise any outside money to start my company and funded everything myself. I participated in one pitch competition but realized that I did not want to give up any equity in my company. Additionally, as a business owner, my time is better spent trying to sell my service to customers and not trying to pitch my business to possible investors. Companies should grow organically through sales and not soley thorugh outside funding.
The target demographic for Valet Maids is busy professionals with limited free time. My typcal customer lives near the city center in a luxury apartment, condo, or townhome. They enjoy being able to see the pricing online without having to speak to someone, but like having someone to speak with if any issues were to arise.
How do you attract clients?
I have tried various ways to attract clients. I have tried Yelp, Homeadvisor, and Thumbtack when I was first starting out. These can be helpful, but ultimately to a good long term strategy. I have now focued more on SEO and social media to attract clients.
Google Ads shows you the search terms that people use to find your business. One person was searching for a “sexy maid service” and another for a “naked maid service.” I’m not sure why my company showed up in the search but I think they were disappointed that all of our maids are fully clothed so they did not end up booking with us.
How did you fund the business initially?
I self funded by business through personal savings. I had known that I wanted to start a business for a long time and felt that this was a great way to use my savings. I did not have a cofounder or founding team. That’s not to say that I have done everything on my own. I have a friend from college who has a similar company in a different city who helped be significantly along the way with tips, advice, and encouragement.
Early employees are critical to the success of any business. It is important to have a robust interview, testing, and background checking process to make sure that every cleaner will represent your company well.
The most common service that we offer is bi-weekly cleaning. We usually do a deep cleaning for our first visit to a client’s home and then we come back every other week. Clients really enjoy this service since they don’t have to worry about keeping their home clean. As soon as it starts to get dirty, we are back to clean again. We also offer move in and move out cleanings for clients moving in or out of a home.
Did you run any companies prior?
Valet Maids has not been my first company but it has been my first local service company. I was motivated to start the company because I have always wanted to have my own business and I wanted to have one that would provide a helpful product or service.
My family and friends were supportive of me starting my business. However, I have found most of my support from other business owners. People who don’t own companies simply don’t understand what goes into running a business. Most people are only exposed to Shark Tank, which is a very inaccurate depiction of running a company.
If a customer is not happy with their service, I take it personally and do whatever we can to make it right. I stay motivated because I want my company to continue to grow and hopefully expand to other cities.
For someone just starting out, I would recommend to do your research and have a plan. I don’t think a full business plan is necessary, but some planning is important. I would recommend reaching out to other business owners to get an in depth perspective on what owning a business is really like.
How are you marketing the business?
My strongest marketing channel has been SEO and Google Ads for clients to find my business. SEO is a long term strategy and take a significant time commitment but is worth it in the long run. Google Ads provide a faster return to get attention to my company.
What apps could your business not run without?
My business runs on Launch27, a booking software on my website. This allows customers to book online and for me to manage bookings and cleaners. Another app that I use is Grasshopper. This allows my business phone number to be ported to any phone as well as to be abel to text customers. Finally, Stripe is critical for my business. Stripe is how we are able to accept credit cards and process payments.
What are your goals for the future?
I would like to maintain my current services and expand them to other services. Valet Maids is currently in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and I would like to expand to Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. Once we have expanded to each of those cities, I would like to consider adding additional services.
|Company Name:||Valet Maids|