I started my business 3 years ago. After my daughter was born, I was only 18 and didn’t have the heart to leave her every single day and work some job making $7/hour. I would have to work, all day, every day, to just even afford our essentials. Luckily, I had the help of my family who provided everything for us, but I wanted to look at our things and think “I provided this.”
One day my mother brought up the subject of house cleaning, and how my aunts were also thinking about cleaning homes. In my area, cleaning a home for 2 to 3 hours, I researched that I could charge at least $100. So I began cleaning a couple of houses a week, and a couple of years later, here I am running a business and managing 4 employees.
One step that I’ve been taking recently is automating my business. After hiring my employees, I found that I wanted to stay home with my daughters more, but wasn’t able to because of always being on the phone, having to fill in on cleaning homes, and chasing down clients for estimates and billing.
Here is how I fixed all of that:
My business is still fairly new, and I am still coming to terms with managing business expenses along with personal expenses, so hiring a virtual assistant was a good, affordable, investment. I hired a receptionist by posting an ad on Odesk.com and screening and interviewing people for the week. My receptionist only charges me for the time actually spent on the phone, scheduling cleanings, so it’s a good investment for me time wise.
I experimented with an office about a year ago, but found that neither I or my employees ever used it. I was either home doing laundry and managing everything on my laptop while my daughter napped, and my employees were just in and out trying to get to work or trying to get home. I ended up just buying a storage, giving my employees the combination to the lock, and I go there occasionally to re-stock and re-load files and cleanings. This way, we are all independent.
I solved my scheduling and pricing problem by optimizing my website to
1) Give price estimates based on the number of rooms, bathrooms, etc.
2) Collecting credit card information before the cleaning is even booked. I do not charge their card until after their cleaning, but the information is there. The run around is over.