Housekeeping Productivity

Cleaning services charge $120 to clean my 1300 sq.ft. apartment in 3 hours. However, they strike me as unproductive because they don’t provide their employees with the right equipment. There are many tasks which can’t be optimized, e.g. clearing clutter, making beds, folding and putting away clothes. But there are some tasks which can be sped up if they invest in the right equipment. For example, something like the Shark steamers could be used to quickly clean floors, bathtubs, counters, windows and other flat surfaces. For dusting there are attachments available that can make quick work of most surfaces. All the cleaners I’ve hired so far have done these manually. They take 3+ hrs to clean my place, which is messy but not too terrible.

I think there’s an opportunity for a new cleaning service to do very well here. They should try to schedule cleanings for several apartments in the same building to minimize wasted travel time. This can be done by making deals with apartment buildings or giving customers a discount for leads. Next, they should have 2-cleaner teams with the right equipment tear through apartments efficiently. If they charge a flat fee for cleaning, they make more money by getting done quickly. Finally, they should offer a discount for regular cleanings. It’s unlikely that an apartment will be a disaster after 1 or 2 weeks.

If they charged $80 for a weekly cleaning they’d corner the market in my neighborhood. If they pay $10/hr/cleaner, then 2 cleaners for 6 hrs is $120. If they can do 3 apartments, that’s $240 revenue or $120 profit/day/team. For 5 days that’s a profit of $600/week/team. So if they hire 5 teams to clean 75 apartments per week, they could earn $3000/week in operating profit, or ~$150K per year. Even after business expenses, that’s pretty good for a small cleaning company.

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