You usually start by Googling “house cleaners in *insert my city here*” and then get some search results, and end up filling out a quote form that doesn’t actually deliver a quote to you, rather, generates a lead for the service and they call you and start putting the hard sell to you, and nobody has time for phone calls these days. To make the process more painful, you often get asked to make commitments for weekly or bi-weekly services in exchange for discounted rates, and in some metropolitan areas, cleaning crews can cost in excess of $100 or $150 an hour.
Housekeeping was ripe for disruption, and Homejoy is a San Francisco-based startup that is looking to do the disrupting. Homejoy bills itself as a data-oriented tech company that connects people who need stuff cleaned with housekeepers who are willing to do the cleaning. Some members of the tech press have dubbed Homejoy the “Uber of housekeeping.” With Homejoy, you fill out a short form detailing how many rooms you have and which, if any, special services you’d need (like laundry, window washing, etc…) and the Homejoy site will give you an expectation of how many hours would be needed for your job. The cost? A flat rate of $20 per hour, per cleaner.
So for me, with my 900 square foot, one-bedroom, one-bath apartment, Homejoy estimated that I’d need three hours for a basic cleaning. Tack on a $5 supplies fee, and for $65, I was able to arrange a housekeeper using a nice calendar-based scheduling interface to pick a time that would work for me and then also schedule future cleanings with the same housekeeper, if I’m pleased with their performance. Much like Uber, customers and housekeepers get to rate each other after each job using a five star system.
Last week, I had my first experience with Homejoy. Although my first housekeeper I’d scheduled failed to show up, a phone call the next day to Homejoy’s customer service immediately corrected the problem. The customer service representative on the phone apologized profusely for the housekeeper not arriving, and offered me a free cleaning in return and scheduled another housekeeper to visit my home the next day. After the housekeeper did show up the next day, I was mostly satisfied with their performance, especially given the value of Homejoy versus another cleaner I’d received a quote from that told me my apartment would be $175 an hour.
On the tech end, Homejoy contracts with individual cleaners in the communities they serve to dispatch housekeepers to clients. Homejoy performs background checks and meets each of its housekeepers in person to ensure the safety of the process, and also has insurance and bonding to further protect clients. Homejoy currently is available in 26 markets, including New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Homejoy pays its housekeepers a portion of the $20 an hour.