September 22, 2022

Cleaning companies in the region are experiencing growth in demand

When Jillian Fecteau started out as an entrepreneur, she got a part-time job cleaning houses to earn money. Her passion for organization, interpersonal skills, and a genuine love for cleaning didn’t feel like work at all, until the pandemic hit and she needed to pivot.

“I kept thinking about what I could do to keep working and still have my own business,” said Fecteau, who chose to close his first business, Earth Sunflower, which sold a range of eco-friendly products. to help restaurants, coffee shops and individuals to reduce the use of single-use plastics. “And he was sitting right in front of me.”

The answer was Jillian’s Housekeeping, her own residential cleaning business created to turn her side hustle into an even busier and more rewarding full-time job than she imagined.

After six months in business, Fecteau has over 25 repeat customers in the Saratoga Springs area and a growing list of people looking for deep cleaning, routine maintenance and home organization services. She grew through word of mouth, the neighborhood-focused Nextdoor app, and calls received after people saw her cruising around in her trademark Mini Cooper. Fecteau regular cleaning services range from $120 to $250.

“I definitely entered the industry at the right time,” said Fecteau, who just hired his first employee and is looking for another. “There’s so much more to cleaning toilets – we’re here to benefit people’s personal lives by giving them more time for what they want to do.”

Fecteau’s approach to cleaning is personal, and every new request starts with a visit to meet the owners, tour their space, and hear what they’re struggling to keep up with and where they might need help. . Homes are quoted based on the manpower it will take Fecteau and his team to do the job, whether it’s thorough dusting and vacuuming, or tackling to specialist areas like cleaning kitchen appliances or cleaning hard-to-reach areas like baseboards and molding.

It doesn’t take long for customers to get to know Fecteau and build the trust that comes with letting a stranger into a home to rummage through personal items in order to clean up, she says, but what she also hears often that’s how difficult it can be to make the decision to hire a housekeeper.

“People can be nervous about reaching out when they feel embarrassed to admit they need help keeping a clean house,” said Fecteau, who works for many working mothers. who juggle life with kids, careers, a marriage and keeping a tidy space. “These are talented, professional women who are also great mothers, and they shouldn’t be expected to do it on their own.”

In November 2021, Jillian’s Housekeeping began cleaning for Mary Grace Leonard’s family of five. Leonard is a professional and executive vice president, who was unhappy with other cleaning services.

“My free time is limited, precious and extremely valuable to me,” Leonard said. “Our family feels so blessed and blessed to have found Jillian, who pays close attention to detail and always makes sure her clients are happy before she leaves.”

While Fecteau is excited about the immediate gratification cleaning can provide, the biggest payoff comes from the relationships built into the business.

“It’s amazing how grateful people are to me, and it’s even more rewarding than the cleaning itself. By entering and cleaning their homes, I help these women become better mothers, better bosses, and give them a chance to reclaim their living spaces as a place of relaxation.

For Holly’s Housekeeping in Albany, the early days of the pandemic in 2020 forced the business to make changes. Initially, owner Holly Gardy and her team of five had to deal with customer cancellations when people worried about letting others into their homes. She took this time to regroup, research and strategize to improve services to ease homeowners’ concerns and allow them to receive the help they needed.

An addition to Gardy’s offerings was the investment she made in a hypochlorous acid system, a disinfectant machine that emits a mist safe for children, pets and surfaces to kill viruses on the spot. Holly’s Housekeeping still offers that option and she said families who have experienced COVID-19 in their homes are relieved.

“We persevered through the pandemic, and the phone has been ringing non-stop ever since,” said Gardy, who has 300 customers and almost as many on a waiting list. Like Fecteau, she would like to hire more employees to meet current demand.

“My team needs to grow so we can help our waitlisted clients get a cleaner home,” said Gardy, who also offers one-time cleaning services to real estate agents and those selling their homes. “We’re looking for friendly, outgoing candidates who have their own vehicle to get around and transport supplies, a reliable phone to take before and after pictures, and someone willing to train with us for up to four weeks.”

Although the businesses of Fecteau and Gardy share similarities, from the services provided to the need to strengthen staff, it is each woman’s core values ​​and approach to building relationships in the cleaning industry that helps erase the stigma of asking for hired help.

“If you create something you love and give it your all, the right people will notice,” Gardy said. “We forge close ties with our regular customers: we talk to them often, we are sometimes at their house when they have coffee together in the morning. And as in any relationship, communication and respect are the keys to success.