As many of you know, I love talking to our customers! I enjoy hearing about your success and growth! Sometimes I read about your success through Facebook groups and other times customers reach out to tell us about their journey. It’s exciting and makes all the work we do at Maidily worth it!
When I learned about Fred’s success with AZ Clean in Canada, I wanted to share it with you!
Check out Fred’s success story below:
“Let me just start by saying one thing – Maidily has opened up so many doors and avenues that I would have never gotten a chance to be a part of – you guys provided me with a turnkey business and I couldn’t be more thankful.”
Mony: Fred! Congrats on the success of AZ Clean in Canada! It’s amazing to see your business take off. I remember when we launched your website and covered a few tips on how to get bookings. Tell us a bit about yourself and what led you here.
Fred: Thanks Mony! I’m excited to be a part of this. Hopefully my story can help someone else out there.
So, I’ll do a brief intro to my past: I went to law school in the Cayman Islands, and I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease while there. I was hospitalized. I became very ill, lost over 100lbs, and had to fly back to Canada for treatment.
I spent the next 1-2 years in and out of operating rooms with lasting complications! I finally started getting back on my feet 1-2 years ago (recovering). I was fortunate enough to have family by my side throughout the whole ordeal. My wife, Tori, was incredibly supportive and not only took care of our 2 kids (at the time) but also me!
Now that I was getting healthier, it was time to focus on my family and our future. I knew I wanted to own my business (I’ve owned previous businesses in other industries), but I didn’t know what. After some researching and a few conversations with family and friends, we decided to start a cleaning business! We noticed that none of our neighbors or friends were happy with any cleaning service they tried previously, and we realized that our area (Toronto) was booming with opportunity! We were familiar enough with the process of cleaning but wanted to learn more, so we spent a few months absorbing content from YouTube, reading, and practicing how to professionally clean.
While we learned how to clean, we focused on creating the brand. So, the logo, the website, the colors, the software, all of it – we researched what other businesses were doing and stumbled on a few that used Maidily. We investigated Maidily, and we were sold!
We signed up with you guys, bought the website, learned from you and Cleaning HQ, applied it, and we’ve been growing nonstop!
That was long winded! But I think it was important for people to know my motivation. I didn’t have a plan B.
Mony: Amazing! Thank you for sharing this with everyone. Such a powerful and inspiring story! I’m so glad you are getting better now. Your drive for success is contagious. As someone without any prior experience launching a business (turnkey), what did you find to be the hardest part of managing a cleaning business?
Fred: I’m excited to see where this takes us! But to answer your question; it’s simple – hiring. We can train new employees on how to clean once we hire them. But hiring, especially right now and during the pandemic, has been very challenging. We’re constantly encountering roadblocks.
Everything from no shows to scheduled phone screenings, to false experience being presented on resumes, and finally just not showing up to day 1 of work – training.
We took the advice we got from reading one of the articles in Cleaning HQ about using Indeed and Facebook jobs to find employees, and we pay for ads on Indeed and Facebook. We are just having to go through many dry spells or many unqualified professionals before we get even 1 potentially good one.
I did not expect hiring to be the problem! Honestly though, that’s a small price to pay for everything else to be straightforward. We are constantly getting bookings, we have a great team currently, small but great, we have great ratings – couldn’t be in a better place!
Mony: I completely agree! I own Maid to Glow, a cleaning business based out of Atlanta, and hiring is the constant issue we face. Ever since the pandemic hit, hiring has become twice as difficult! What would you say is the most important action you have taken that has led to growth in your business, in terms of revenue and organization?
Fred: Let me just start by saying one thing; Maidily is the gateway to many doors and avenues opening that I would have never gotten a chance to go through had I not found you. You guys provided me with a turnkey business, and I couldn’t be more thankful.
Back to your question. At first, we really didn’t know what to expect and how this would turn out. We didn’t have clear goals or direction, but I would say that once we put everything together, including integrating Maidily, it became apparent that without 4 specific things we wouldn’t have grown or even worked out:
- Online booking
- A sharp/clean (pun intended) website
- Online payments
- Systemically sending customer reminders
I can’t say one is more important than the other because our website attracts attention and converts so well. It’s our first website!
We knew right off the bat from talking to other owners that we did not want to take cash, checks or invoice for payment. That sounded like a nightmare, so credit/debit card payments were a MUST for us! That’s crucial to our business.
Once we started getting jobs and our schedule started to fill, we realized the importance of being able to systemically send reminders to customers versus using our phones or manually emailing them. That would have been a massive headache!
So, I wouldn’t say that for us there has been 1 thing. It’s been a few, which we realized stood out once we took a step back and looked at the bigger picture. But if I absolutely had to make a choice, I would say it’s probably the website. Without a website we would not be getting incoming business.
Mony: Customer reminders! Oh man, I remember sending those out manually through email and text and it led to having 2 phones breaking on me(too many text message conversations)! Love your approach in regards to utilizing every tool! How hands on are you right now with AZ Clean? Do you or your wife still clean?
Fred: We’ve automated a lot of aspects – reminders, charging – basically everything up to a job getting closed out! We still look through our upcoming schedule and assign cleaners to jobs but outside of that our focus as owners is to expand. We have 1 office admin that handles customer service and scheduling and anywhere between 8-10 cleaners!
We still have visibility into the schedule and step in for customer service issues that need our attention, but our goal as owners is to expand into different provinces and also to increase our offerings.
This past winter we created a snowplow service that we added as an Extra on our website. It was the most frequently purchased Extra of ALL TIME for us, so we’re very excited about the potential opportunities with that!
I don’t want to automate the entire business but having online bookings be self-sufficient has been really nice. We receive bookings without talking to anyone. Can’t beat it.
We step in to clean, if we can, when our cleaners are not able to make it to a job for whatever reason. So no, not on a regular basis.
Mony: You’re basically hands off! Did you think you could be hands off (to the extent that you are) in a service-based business?
Fred: That was 1 of our goals when we first started! We travel between Canada and the US so for us, it was really important to keep that flexibility alive. We didn’t know how, but we knew it was important.
I knew that starting a business meant being present, especially in the first few years, but that’s especially true when starting a business that requires a physical presence and work. As we were researching and learning, I was immediately able to spot a few areas that we could automate (booking) for us to be that much closer to being hands off.
Our goal is to open up different locations and let our managers manage each location. We don’t want to be completely hands off. We want to oversee operations with the flexibility to travel all while expanding our business!
Mony: Living the dream! You’re not bound by location. How cool is that? You’re just getting started too and yet you 2 have accomplished so much. Let’s talk about management. How or what is your organizational structure look like? You mentioned you had 1 admin. Is that all it takes to run your business and scale it?
Fred: Exactly! AZ Clean plans to expand into the US as well! We kept it simple with our structure. Initially, we did the cleaning ourselves and we quickly hired someone to take over. My wife cleaned while I focused on operations.
Once we had 1 cleaner take over the small amount of jobs we had won, we buckled down on getting more jobs and filling up that cleaners schedule. We didn’t need help managing our business at that point because it was small.
Rinse and repeat. Once we got to 3-4 cleaners (10-12 jobs per day) it became more difficult to manage customers so we hired an office administrator to help us with customer service and scheduling.
She works inside of Maidily, she has her own profile, she manages the schedule by sending reminders to customers and she also sends the job assignments to our cleaners. She also provides support to customers via email and phone. She is also support for the cleaners that we dispatch to jobs!
There are only 3 roles to fill within our business:
- Customer support
- Schedule/team management
- Answering quotes
We’re so fortunate to have found someone so reliable and dependable! That’s allowed us to work on expanding into different locations (within Canada) and also helped us get set up with adding different service offerings like snow plowing!
Scaling our business will mean hiring more office staff. We’ve already got that part figured out and couldn’t be more excited!
Mony: So, the formula is easy…more office admin help means more hands off for owners, right? I love asking this next question and hearing the answers. What’s the future looking like for AZ Clean?
Fred: Haha, right?! I WISH!
If only it was that easy! Unfortunately or fortunately, there are many more variables at play! Hiring the right people is KEY! Having a system in place is the 2nd key. For us, that system has undoubtedly been Maidily!
The future looks extremely exciting for us! With being in business just shy of 2 years, the continued month over month growth, and the growth of our team has all been very exciting and special to be a part of. I couldn’t be happier!
We’ve learned many lessons along the way and still have a lot more to learn. I mean our revenue our first month was $1-$2K. Now we are 10x that and growing.
I really loved your approach to strategically expanding into different locations that have good demographic data so that’s what our approach is and has been. So, as we research and expand into different areas, I expect all of those numbers to just continue going up!
Honestly, I also love the fact that Maidily allows us to grow. We aren’t limited by users or functions, and we’ll be more than thankful for this later on as we enter our next chapter so thank you for that!
Mony: Wow Fred! It’s been such a pleasure! Thank you for the kind words, it means a lot to me and the rest of our team – who will be reading this at some point – seriously! What you’ve done is amazing, I’m personally following your journey and excited to see what new heights you and Tori will take AZ Clean to! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Nothing but the best of luck for you in the future!